Khadijah Williams
Office of the Ombudsman for Public Education, DC State Board of Education, Legislative Affairs Specialist

Khadijah Williams is a nationally recognized advocate for homeless youth and a survivor. After nearly 20 years of homelessness — including in Los Angeles’ infamous Skid Row— Khadijah was accepted into Harvard University, where she graduated in 2013 with a bachelor’s of arts in sociology. Her journey from homelessness to Harvard was featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2009, and she has since completed dozens of interviews and speaking engagements across the country. She’s received advocacy awards from School on Wheels, the Union Rescue Mission, and the New York City Department of Education; and her story has been featured in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Essence Magazine, and Oprah’s Where Are They Now?. Khadijah Williams is a member of the Board of Directors at the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty and is also an education policy professional.

Khadijah recently completed nearly four years at the DC Board of Education Office of the Ombudsman for Public Education, where she was promoted to Legislative Affairs Specialist. In this role she educated councilmembers and other decision makers on the policy implications of the problems DC families faced in the public-school system, and made policy recommendations based on these implications. Expanding on her work at the Ombudsman office, Khadijah will soon transition to her new role of Senior Education Organizer at Rocketship Public Schools - where she will lead the DC branch’s work in parent leadership development, organizing, and mobilizing.   

Khadijah strongly believes that the educational inequities we currently grapple with require diverse leaders with diverse perspectives to develop lasting change. In her daily life, Khadijah seeks opportunities to identify, challenge, and change prevailing narratives about educating vulnerable youth, while ensuring there is a place for marginalized voices within both the affected community and within positions of power. Ultimately, Khadijah plans to lead and turn around a struggling school district and alter the education reform industrial complex’s decision-making process and its inherent assumptions.