An accomplished policymaker and education advocate with a distinguished career in public service, law, and journalism, Donald E. Williams Jr. joined the Connecticut Education Association in 2015. In 2017, he was named the Association’s executive director.
Before joining CEA, Williams served as the President of the Connecticut State Senate, spearheading a variety of initiatives in the areas of education, gun violence prevention, child welfare, environmental protection, economic development, campaign finance reform, and open space and historic preservation.
Williams was first elected to the Connecticut General Assembly in 1993, prior to which he served two terms as the first selectman for the town of Thompson. He served as chairman of the Judiciary, Environment, and Children’s committees. In July 2004, Senator Williams was elected president pro tempore, the highest-ranking legislator in the Connecticut General Assembly. He was re-elected to this post five times, serving as president for 10½ years—the longest tenure for president of the senate in the state’s history.
A strong advocate for students, teachers, and public education, Williams understands the extraordinary challenges facing educators and their profession. He has also been a longtime advocate for higher education, including initiatives that dramatically improved the infrastructure and campuses of the University of Connecticut, the state university system, and community colleges, and increased scholarship funds to make college more affordable.
He practiced law with the firms of Tyler, Cooper and Alcorn, and Boland, St. Onge and Brouillard, and served as the Director of Professional Development for the Connecticut Bar Association.
Williams earned a J.D. from Washington and Lee University School of Law, and a B.S. in journalism from Syracuse University.