On March 22, three Austin ISD leaders were selected to the inaugural class of Austin’s African American Leadership Institute. Dr. Tamey Williams-Hill, Dinita Caldwell and AISD Police Sergeant Wayne Sneed were among 38 Austin professionals selected to network and gain knowledge and history related to the Black experience in trending issues.
The African American Leadership Institute is designed to prepare industry leaders in civic awareness to ultimately enhance the quality of life for Austin’s Black citizens. Through the course of the institution, participants will have the opportunity to hear from subject matter experts in issue areas such as technology, environment, healthcare, employment and education, and politics and public safety, to name a few.
Participants will use the knowledge and skills learned, and the connections formed, to proactively and positively enhance and transform the Greater Austin community.
Dr. Tamey Williams-Hill is AISD’s Project Director and Equity and Inclusion Specialist for the Office of Equity. She holds a Master’s in social work and has served as a secondary teacher, campus administrator and central office administrator for the past 18 years. Dr. Williams-Hill has always viewed teaching and educational leadership through the lens of equity.
"I am encouraged by the opportunity to collaborate and learn with and from my fellow cohort members to increase our leadership capacity that could result in eliminating professional and economic opportunity disparities for Black professionals in the Austin area," Dr. Williams-Hill said about her recognition. "AALI is offering opportunities for Black professionals in Austin to make connections to affect long-term, equity-centered action required to create a higher quality of life for Austin's citizens."
Austin ISD awarded her the Darlene Westbrook Leadership in Education Award for her work with students and families. Dr. Williams-Hill serves as a guest lecturer for two local universities on the topics of human resources, teacher rights and responsibilities, and doctoral research methodologies. She has presented at local, state, national and international education conferences and serves on several civic, education and corporate board of directors as both a member and chairperson. She volunteers with community service groups that award grants to classroom teachers and scholarships to graduating seniors in Central Texas.
"Dr. Williams-Hill has been a beacon of excellence in both Austin ISD and the community at large," said AISD Equity Officer Dr. Stephanie Hawley about Dr. Williams-Hill's designation. "Her commitment to equity, advocacy, and leadership is unparalleled and serves as the foundation for her work. She is certainly an asset to this inaugural cohort of fellows for the African American Leadership Institute."
Dr. Williams-Hill received her Ph.D. in school improvement from Texas State University. Dr. Williams-Hill has been a Clark Scholar Nominee and is a Barbara L. Jackson Scholar. She holds secondary English, English as a second-language, principal, and superintendent certifications.
Dinita Caldwell is at the forefront of developing equitable procurement practices in contracting for underrepresented diverse business enterprises, and carving a path toward equality for all. Dinita has successfully steered a career track leading to her current role as AISD’s director of the Historically Underutilized Business Program department.
Prior to joining AISD in January 2020, she served as the director of supplier diversity for Visa, where she developed global initiatives and strategies to create access and opportunity for business enterprises certified as minority-owned, women-owned, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender-owned and other diverse categories.
"The backdrop of my life embodies the foundation of the African American Leadership Institute, said Caldwell. "There is still much work to do in 2021, and beyond to eradicate systemic racism and create equity for all, which ultimately starts with our local communities. We all have a responsibility to contribute towards making our community a better place to live, work, play, and thrive. AALI is providing a platform to amplify the voices of Black leaders like me as we strive to create new innovative solutions that will ultimately drive change in our communities."
“We are honored to congratulate Dinita Caldwell on her selection as a fellow in the inaugural African American Leadership Institute. She is an impressive leader, deserving of the AALI appointment," said Acting Chief Operations Officer Matias Segura.
Caldwell earned a Bachelor of Arts in organizational communication with a specialization in public relations from Michigan State University and is pursuing a Master of Business Administration from Huston-Tillotson University.
Sergeant Wayne Sneed has been with Austin ISD for nine years. He is currently a community engagement and mental health officer for the district. He began his law enforcement career as a police officer for the San Marcos Police Department in 1982 and has over 38 years of service with both criminal justice and law enforcement agencies.
Sergeant Sneed considers this designation a duty he is proud to uphold.
"I believe that I have a moral and ethical responsibility to make our communities and nation a better place to live for our children, especially our children of color," he said.
“We are tremendously pleased, and the district congratulates Sergeant Sneed in this recent appointment,” said Austin ISD Chief of Police Ashley Gonzalez. “We are proud to have Wayne represent the district and our community in this important program and work that will occur as a result.”
Officer Sneed received his Bachelor of Criminal Justice and Business Management degrees from Texas State University. He is a certified inspector general with the National Association of Inspector Generals. He has also earned the Certified Public Manager designation from the William P. Hobby Center for Public Service at Texas State University-Round Rock. Governor Greg Abbott appointed Sneed as an Advisory Board Member to the “Texas Juvenile Justice Advisory Board.”
For more information, please visit the African American Leadership Institute website.