Begin With Their Culture

Dwayne D. Williams, PhD

Dwayne D. Williams, PhD, is a school psychologist, interventionist, and equity coach. As an equity coach, he helps organizations design and redesign educational practices. Specifically, he helps teams create culturally meaningful, inclusive, and equitable programming that integrates instruction with students’ cultural assets and lived experiences. Additionally, he provides training to school districts on how to design problem-solving models, multi-tiered supports, restorative practices, social and emotional learning, and trauma-informed groups—all from a culturally meaningful approach.

 Dr. Williams is the CEO of the consulting firm Begin with Their Culture, an organization that helps districts redesign educational practices in ways that pair issues of race, culture, and equity with instruction. He is the author of the book An RTI Guide to Improving Performance of African American Students. He has used his curriculum, Like Music to My Ears: A Hip-Hop Approach to Addressing Social and Emotional Learning and Trauma in Schools, with hundreds of students, and he coaches practitioners through designing activities that integrate SEL, cognitive-behavioral therapeutic practices, and hip-hop cultural elements as methods of employing culturally meaningful practices for students who embrace the arts.

 Dr. Williams earned his PhD from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), where he studied curriculum and instruction. His scholarship focuses on redesigning educational programming in ways that consider the cultural assets and lived experiences of culturally diverse learners. Dr. Williams lived in housing projects as a child in Springfield, Illinois, and often speaks on the need to connect with students, parents, and community leaders from underrepresented backgrounds to improve educational conditions for underrepresented groups.

 Dr. Williams is married to Toni Williams, and together they have two children: Dwayne D. Williams II and Noni D. Williams.

Dwayne D. Williams,PhD