Dr. Drew Williams

Drew Williams, Ed.D. currently serves as Executive Director and founder at Utah Arts Academy (UAA). He earned his Masters in Educational Leadership and his Doctorate of Education in Strategic Planning and Organizational Theory. Having performed for three decades as a professional touring and studio musician, as well as serving as a dedicated educator and administrator, Drew found the perfect fit in an arts-focused school. Always an advocate for arts education, Drew’s interest in creating UAA was the perfect way to blend his educational passion with an environment to advance students' abilities and excel creatively. Drew began his journey as a woodshop teacher, and when he and his wife (also a talented musician and songwriter) decided to move to Nashville, TN., they both continued to play music and work in education. Throughout their years in Nashville, they toured with groups nationally and internationally, released three studio EP’s and, most importantly, had three beautiful children: Emmy, Holland, and Beckham.

Why do you want to serve on the UAPCS Board?

One of the most important aspects of education is to create communities where students, teachers, parents and staff, gain confidence and passion to reach their potential. I believe that to be successful at any level within the educational realm, adults must be student centered. Our youth are informed and evolving. Schools should be the hub of excitement, where the approach to learning is exploratory and creative, where students are allowed to build upon an educational foundation of holistic human development supported by the use of best-practices and data-driven decision making.

I believe that building capacity for the future school and district leaders is vital, if not the most important aspect, to continual growth in our educational settings. Leaders have the opportunity to change the trajectory for those in their stewardship, propelling students to take risks and reach their aspirations.  It was through my training and networking in educational, that I learned how to accelerate my leadership to ultimately impact students. The lessons learned were relevant and focused, and have helped me become a top leader in Utah’s educational landscape.

Throughout my experience as an educator, specifically as a school and district leader, I have built successful collaborative teams, accelerating student achievement and learning. As a school principal, through a collaborative effort, CWHS went from a level 1 school (lowest) to a level 5 school (highest). Most recently at UAA, I entered with a school culture of failure and divisiveness that impacted student achievement negatively. Through a concise effort of team building, collaboration and curricular development, UAA has improved significantly. Notably from a 19.4 avg ACT score to a 21.8,  2 points higher than state and national averages. Additionally, our graduation rate has improved from 90% to 100%.

These successes require leading with courage and conviction. I build cultures that celebrate risks, and rewards effort and results, focusing on the creation of incredible teams. By modeling these important attributes, I have been successful in engaging students and faculties in individual and collective successes, equipping them with the skills needed for an evolving future. 

What specific skills and knowledge can you bring to the board?

Organizational Leadership
School Culture
Building a new school
Sports / Athletics
Arts Education
16 years of administrative experience

Please share your prior governing board experience.

Arts Schools Network board member | 2020 - current
Leadership Committee Chair

Where do you hope to see the Charter School movement in the next five years?

Normalized across the Utah educational landscape.