Ocynthia Williams

NYC Coalition for Educational Justice
Founding Member, Parent Leader

Key Topics: Parent and community engagement, College readiness, Community schools, Education organizing, Leadership development training, Teaching and Learning, Black Male Achievement, Racism, co-locations, Charter/public schools, Community Building, Food sovereignty, Farming.

Bio: Ocynthia Williams is a wife, and mother to six children, all who attended public schools in New York City. She is a founding member and parent leader of NYC Coalition for Educational Justice and a founding member of the United Parents of Highbridge, where she now works as an education organizer. Ocynthia is also an Ambassador with the National Opportunity to Learn Education Campaign for the Schott Foundation. Most recently, she was appointed to Mayor Bill de Blasio's Inaugural Committee, as well as Public Advocate Leticia James transition team's education committee. She also just became the recipient of a Congressional Record from Congressman Jose E. Serrano, and a New York State Senate Proclamation from Senator Jose Serrano during Black History Month for her years of service to the Highbridge Community.

She is former parent leader with the Community Collaborative to improve District 9 Schools (CC9) with whom she played a vital role in developing the city’s first Lead Teacher Program designed to improve education in failing South Bronx Schools. She is a founder member of the first middle school in the Highbridge Section of the Bronx that just opened its doors for the first time in September of 2013.

Ocynthia is a long-time community activist, public speaker, and a published author. She is also founding member of Taqwa Community Farm, named the best community garden in the country by the John Deer Ertyl company in 1999. The garden is world renown and has been featured in a spread in County Living Magazine, National Geographic, and in countless news articles and film documentaries.

Involvement with public schools for Ocynthia goes back many years. She served as the parent association president of PS 73 in the South Bronx, as well as the treasurer of the district-wide parent council, from 1992 -1995. She has presented on education panels nationwide, most recently at Harvard University, and her work has been captured through the media at rallies and many press conferences. Currently, Ocynthia is one of the featured parents in the film documentary Parent Power and she is a member of the American Federation of Teachers Human Rights and Community Relations Working Group.