Katara A. Williams, Ph.D
On August 31, 2016, Governor John Bel Edwards appointed Dr. Katara A. Williams as the Executive Director for the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission. The Louisiana Highway Safety Commission is responsible for developing and administering the state's traffic safety program through collaboration with the federal government, as well as, state and local agencies. Louisiana's highway safety program is committed to saving lives by reducing traffic accidents which could potentially result in injuries, property damage, and fatalities.
Dr. Williams is a skilled professional with an impressive track record in the education, policy, and public affairs sectors. She has made her mark around the region and state as an advocate for education, having worked for more than 16 years in both K-12 and higher education. Dr. Williams has most recently served as the Associate Commissioner for Public Affairs and Advisory to the Council of Student Body Presidents. Williams has also worked at the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE), where she developed communication and stakeholder engagement strategies for Compass, the new teacher evaluation system, and worked with external constituencies and district personnel across the state on the implementation of education reform policies.
Prior to the LDOE, she was the Director of Media Relations for the Southern University System and Assistant to the Chancellor and Public Relations Specialist at the Southern University Ag Center. Dr. Williams also has extensive experience in broadcast journalism having been an on-air personality and public affairs talk show host onQ106 and Max 94.1 Cumulus Radio Stations.
She has served as a member of the Recovery School District Advisory Board where she moderated numerous community meetings with leaders, stakeholders, and parents. Dr. Williams was also selected as a panelist for the RSD Charter match process, where she interviewed the BESE approved Charter Operators.
To continue her love for student engagement, Williams continues to serve as an external advisor to the Council of Student Body Presidents, and has actively engaged them in advocacy work for traffic safety by establishing the Student Ambassadors for Highway Safety program.
Dr. Williams remains actively engaged in the community by serving on the Board of Directors for Louisiana Public Broadcasting (LPB), the Executive Committee of Jack and Jill of America, Inc.-BR Chapter, and the Steering Committee for the East Baton Rouge Academic Honors Day.
Williams is a 2012 Graduate of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber’s Leadership Baton Rouge Class, a 2014 Graduate of the Council for a Better Louisiana’s Leadership Louisiana Class, and a 2015 Graduate of the Higher Education Foundation’s Leadership Institute. She was also selected from a national pool of applicants as a 2015 American Council of Education Aspiring Leaders Program Fellow.
Williams is a proud alumna of Southern University and A&M College. She holds a B.A. in mass communications, a M.A. in public relations, and a Ph.D. in public policy from the Nelson Mandela School of Public Policy.