Director selected to lead Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site

National Park Service News Release

Contact: Patty Rooney, Public Affairs Specialist

National Park Service
Midwest Regional Office
601 Riverfront Drive
Omaha, Nebraska 68102
phone (402) 661-1532
fax (402) 661-1737

Sherda K. Williams selected to lead Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site

OMAHA, NEB. — The National Park Service (NPS) has selected Sherda K. Williams, currently Superintendent for James A. Garfield and First Ladies National Historic Sites in Mentor, Ohio, as the next Superintendent for Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site in Topeka, Kan. This new assignment takes effect January 11, 2015.

“Sherda’s proven accomplishments in fostering effective partnerships, together with her strong background in management of historic sites with prominent civil rights themes, makes her the ideal leader for Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site, and supervisor of Nicodemus National Historic Site,” said Patricia S. Trap, acting director for the NPS 13-state Midwest Region.

Williams began her NPS career as a temporary Historical Landscape Architect intern in the NPS Washington, D.C., Office in 1990. She received permanent status in 1996 while serving as a Historical Landscape Architect in the Midwest Regional Office, rising to leader of the Region’s Cultural Landscape Program. Williams was named Superintendent for Nicodemus National Historic Site, Nicodemus, Kan., in 2003, moving to her current position in late 2008.

At James A. Garfield and First Ladies National Historic Sites, Williams has helped guide these two small parks from minimal NPS operations to more visible, more professional, and more effective Parks operations. Creation of a strategic vision with staff and partners laid a sound foundation for the parks’ futures.

Williams says of this new leadership opportunity in Topeka, “Experience working at both Nicodemus and James A. Garfield got me involved in preserving human stories of the Civil Rights struggle. The work by everyday people advocating for the rights of all humans—at times by simply surviving, by sponsoring political action, and by involvement in civic activism—is extremely powerful and inspirational! I am honored by this opportunity to manage and help preserve the Monroe School and the history of the 1954 Supreme Court decision that was such a landmark case for our Nation.”

A Berkeley, Calif., native, Williams achieved her higher education in Indiana, earning her Bachelor of Science degree in Forestry Management from Purdue University and her Masters in Landscape Architecture from Ball State University. She is an avid gardener, traveler, and music and opera enthusiast, and has recently taken up voice lessons in the Italian Bel Canto style.

Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site was established by Congress on October 26, 1992 to commemorate the 1954 landmark Supreme Court decision that ended segregation in public schools. The site, which was dedicated on May 17, 2004, interprets the integral role of the Brown v. Board of Education case in the U.S. Civil Rights Movement of the mid-20th Century, preserves the former Monroe School for black children, and assists in the interpretation of related local, national, and international resources that further the understanding of broader civil rights struggles as well. 

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