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Peyton Williams, Jr.

Educator, Dr. Peyton Williams, Jr. was born April 10, 1942 in the black “Happy Hill” community of Cochran, Georgia. The son of Reverend Peyton Williams and Georgia Reddick Williams, he attended Cochran Colored High School, the school that his father led the movement to build. He graduated in 1960. Williams earned his B.S. degree in education from Fort Valley State College in 1964, the M. Ed. degree from Tuskegee Institute in 1968, the Ed. S. degree from the University of Georgia in 1977 and the Ph.D. degree from Georgia State University in 1982.

Williams became assistant principal of Central High School in Sylvania, Georgia in 1964 and principal of Central Elementary School in 1968. From 1965 to 1969, he was coordinator and teacher of evening classes for adult basic education for the Screven County Schools. From 1970 to 1977, Williams served as principal of Central Middle School, the first integrated school in Screven County. The school was cited for its model disciplinary policies by the Christian Science Monitor. Williams was the first black appointed Assistant Georgia State Superintendent of Schools, Office of Special Activities in 1977. In 1978, Williams became Georgia’s Associate State Superintendent of Schools, Office of State Schools and Public Libraries. He also directed and managed two state operated schools for hearing and visually impaired students. In 1987, Williams was appointed Associate State Superintendent of Schools and directed the administration of school improvement programs and testing programs. In 1995, he became Deputy Georgia State School Superintendent for External Affairs. In 1995, Williams was appointed by Governor Zell Miller as co-facilitator of the Georgia P-16 Initiative, a statewide effort to raise expectations and ensure student success. Williams served as the highest-ranking African American in the Georgia Department of Education for twenty-five years, from 1977 until his retirement in 2002.

Williams is a recipient of the Governor’s Award for outstanding service in state government in the state of Georgia. In 2002, he was installed as president and education consultant of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development International (ASCD), the largest professional organization for educators in the world. Williams also received the Distinguished Service Award for outstanding contributions and leadership to education from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). A highly sought after public speaker, Williams published the monograph, What It Means To Be A Professional Educator in 2001. Serving on a number of professional, civic and religious boards, Williams has been a choir director, is a member of the Prince Hall Masons and the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. Williams is currently serving as the Grand Grammateus/Executive Secretary of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity of the Grand Boulé.

Accession Number

A2005.179

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/2/2005 |and| 8/23/2005

Last Name

Williams

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Cochran Colored High School

Fort Valley State College

Tuskegee University

University of Georgia

Georgia State University

First Name

Peyton

Birth City, State, Country

Cochran

HM ID

WIL28

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Bahamas

Favorite Quote

That's The Price Of The Ticket.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

4/10/1942

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Custard

Death Date

11/23/2011

Short Description

State education administrator Peyton Williams, Jr. (1942 - 2011 ) was the first African American appointed as Assistant Georgia State Superintendent of Schools, Office of Special Activities. Williams later became Georgia’s Associate State Superintendent of Schools, Office of State Schools and Public Libraries and Deputy Georgia State School Superintendent for External Affairs.

Employment

Central High School; Central Middle School

Georgia State Department of Education

Favorite Color

Black, Brown

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Peyton Williams, Jr.'s interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Peyton Williams, Jr. lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Peyton Williams, Jr. describes his mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Peyton Williams, Jr. describes his mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Peyton Williams, Jr. describes his maternal family's education and jobs

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Peyton Williams, Jr. describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Peyton Williams, Jr. describes his siblings and how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Peyton Williams, Jr. describes his parents' personalities

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Peyton Williams, Jr. describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Peyton Williams, Jr. describes the sights and sounds of growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Peyton Williams, Jr. describes the amenities that he grew up with

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Peyton Williams, Jr. describes his family's television set and favorite radio show

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Peyton Williams, Jr. recalls his involvement in church

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Peyton Williams, Jr. recalls his father's involvement in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Peyton Williams, Jr. recalls his elementary school

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Peyton Williams, Jr. recalls his experience in elementary school

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Peyton Williams, Jr. describes his extracurricular activities at Cochran Colored High School

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Peyton Williams, Jr. recalls studying black history and deciding on a college

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Peyton Williams, Jr. recalls his activism in college

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Peyton Williams, Jr. describes his experience at Fort Valley State College

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Peyton Williams, Jr. recalls his hiring at Central High School in Sylvania, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Peyton Williams, Jr. recalls the challenges of his job at Central High School

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Peyton Williams, Jr. describes the transition away from corporal punishment in schools

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Peyton Williams, Jr. describes poverty and limited resources for rural students

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Peyton Williams, Jr. describes his experience at Tuskegee Institute

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Peyton Williams, Jr. describes the desegregation of Central High School

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Peyton Williams, Jr. describes the challenges of school desegregation, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Peyton Williams, Jr. describes the challenges of school desegregation, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Peyton Williams, Jr. reflects upon curriculum challenges

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Peyton Williams, Jr. reflects upon test scores at Central Middle School

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Peyton Williams, Jr. recalls Jimmy Carter's tenure as governor of Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Peyton Williams, Jr. recalls his experience as assistant state school superintendent for Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Peyton Williams, Jr. describes his experience with deaf education

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Peyton Williams, Jr. recalls serving as Georgia's associate superintendent for curriculum and instruction

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Peyton Williams, Jr. reflects upon the Internet and an inclusive curriculum

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Slating of Peyton Williams, Jr.'s interview, session 2

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Peyton Williams, Jr. describes being the assistant superintendent in the Office of Instructional Services

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Peyton Williams, Jr. reflects upon testing and assessment

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Peyton Williams, Jr. recalls discrepancies in students' test scores since the 1980s

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Peyton Williams, Jr. describes the educational needs of the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Peyton Williams, Jr. reflects upon the African-centered education movement

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Peyton Williams, Jr. describes the changing demographics of Georgia public schools

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Peyton Williams, Jr. reflects upon the teaching of African American studies

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Peyton Williams, Jr. reflects upon preparing students to compete globally

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Peyton Williams, Jr. describes his role as Georgia's deputy superintendent of external affairs

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Peyton Williams, Jr. recalls highlights from his career in the Georgia Department of Education

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Peyton Williams, Jr. describes the core curriculum for Georgia schools

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Peyton Williams, Jr. describes the incorporation of vocational education in Georgia schools

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Peyton Williams, Jr. reflects upon the educational system in the rural South

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Peyton Williams, Jr. describes his work with the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Peyton Williams, Jr. remembers presiding over the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Peyton Williams, Jr. reflects upon motivating teachers and students

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Peyton Williams, Jr. reflects upon the relationship between home and school

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Peyton Williams, Jr. reflects upon the educational system

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Peyton Williams, Jr. talks about the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Peyton Williams, Jr. talks about the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Peyton Williams, Jr. talks about his work with educational organizations

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Peyton Williams, Jr. describes his involvement with Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Peyton Williams, Jr. describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Peyton Williams, Jr. reflects upon the changing demographics of Georgia

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Peyton Williams, Jr. reflects upon his life

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Peyton Williams, Jr. reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Peyton Williams, Jr. talks about his family

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Peyton Williams, Jr. describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Peyton Williams, Jr. narrates his photographs

DASession

1$2

DATape

4$5

DAStory

5$4

DATitle
Peyton Williams, Jr. describes his experience with deaf education
Peyton Williams, Jr. recalls discrepancies in students' test scores since the 1980s
Transcript
What are you proudest of, during this period [at the Georgia Department of Education, Office of State Schools and Public Libraries]?$$I'm proudest of during that period is--I finally found a dissertation topic. And my dissertation was on deaf education. And it was because I was in charge of two schools for the deaf. And the charge that I'd been given when those schools were placed under me was get in there and clean them up, or help us close them down. And I found out that most of the folks at the state knew very little about what was going on with those three schools. I was, as a result of that, I was placed on the advisory board of Gallaudet College [Gallaudet University, Washington, D.C.] in their Office of Demographic Studies. That's the only college for the deaf in the world.$$And it's in Washington, D.C.?$$In D.C.$$Yeah.$$And so I decided to--and we were looking at--at that time the Disabilities Act was--94-142 [Public Law No. 94-142; Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975] was very prevalent, as to whether or not it was more appropriate to educate these children in a restricted environment with other children like them, or to put them in a least restricted environment, in public schools. So I did my Ph.D. dissertation on the governance of schools for the deaf in the United States. How were they governed? Were they under the state department of education? Were they under a local board of trustees that was unrelated to the state department? Or were they privately handled? And that was to give me some sense of policy directions in terms of my own work with the state. So I'm proud of having done that study, which was later replicated by Gallaudet for a major presentation in China, I believe. We had several major construction projects going on with the Georgia Academy for the Blind in Macon [Georgia], of building a new administration classroom building, and also a new auditorium at the Atlanta Area School for the Deaf [Clarkston, Georgia]. Also, we were starting a program called Georgia PINES [Georgia Parent Infant Network for Educational Services]. It was a parent-infant training program for parents with children who were born who were hearing impaired. The concept of that, for that program, started with an idea from a teacher in the Atlanta Area School for the Deaf, who the superintendent there brought to my office to visit so we could talk about how we could find some money to--they saw a need for this. And we started that program, and that program has gotten national recognition for being the premier program for helping address the problems of young hearing impaired students. So there were a lot of, a lot of good things that came out of that.$So, in your role [as chief instructional officer, Office of Instructional Services, Georgia Department of Education] you would--would you look at tests to--I mean in relationship to what has been taught, and how?$$Well, at the state, we dealt with minimums. We dealt with what would be a minimum kind of expectation in this content area, or in that content area? We didn't--local school districts took it to the max. We dealt with the minimum. We saw lots of discrepancies in the assessment of young people back in the '80s [1980s]. But some of those deficiencies were so powerful that people did not want to actually deal with them, as they related to ethnic--. When you disaggregated the data and looked at ethnic background, and backgrounds associated with other demographic factors, nobody wanted to touch that. In today's environment, we can't avoid looking at all of those kinds of things. If we addressed some of that early on, it's possible that we may not be where we are in some areas today, with continuing this major mismatch between where we think kids ought to be nationally and in the international arena, and where they really are in their settings today.$$Can you give us an example of what you're talking about in terms of that?$$Well, we knew that, for instance, we knew that black kids were not doing well on tests long before it got to be a popular thing to talk about. We knew that black males were not doing as well as black females, or white males or females on tests long before it got to be a popular thing. But the powers that be would not permit us at that time to identify these specific groups. We, in Georgia, we could identify back in the '80s [1980s] at least seventeen or eighteen school systems that were predominantly African American with lots of problems and limitations. But nobody wanted to put special funding, or special kinds of initiatives in those particular schools. We had people right here in Georgia who were directing programs nationally, that were trying to address some of the problems of racial disparity in education. But we couldn't get people at the state level to embrace that sort of thing. On the one hand, you say, well, it may have had some advantages. Because we were trying to use the same cookbook for everybody, but it didn't work. And we're seeing the realities of that today.