The Texas Education Agency's Commissioner Michael Williams will step down from his position as Commissioner of Education, effective Jan. 1, 2016.

Michael Williams was appointed as the twelfth Texas commissioner of education by Gov. Rick Perry on Sept. 1, 2012. During his three plus year tenure as commissioner, he has been a strong and tireless advocate for closing the achievement gaps among Texas students.  His engagement on this and related issues may be traced back to 1990 and his work as the assistant secretary of education for civil rights at the U.S. Department of Education. In that role, he led the charge to establish much of the DOE policy still in effect today regarding increased investigative resources to issues such as the overrepresentation of minority males in special education, the underrepresentation of females in Advanced Placement (AP) courses, racial harassment on college campuses, and the treatment of limited-English proficient students. 

As education commissioner, Williams has used his authority to direct the consolidation of the former North Forest ISD into Houston ISD and to appoint a board of managers to operate several school districts, including El Paso ISD and Beaumont ISD. His appointments to the board of managers in those two districts were positively acclaimed in both communities.

In 1998, Gov. George W. Bush appointed Williams to an unexpired term on the Railroad Commission of Texas, the oldest regulatory body in this state. He was subsequently elected to this position in 2000, 2002 and 2008, becoming the first African American in Texas history elected to a position in the Executive Branch of Texas Government. In 2005, Gov. Perry’s designed Williams to lead the state’s long-term relief efforts following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Williams also initiated the Texas response to the tragedy in Darfur.

Commissioner Williams serves as the Governor’s appointee to the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB), the OneStar National Service Commission, the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children, and the Education Commission of the States.