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Helen Stiff-Williams, Ed.D.
Professor, Teacher Education804.739.7852

Helen Stiff-Williams, Ed.D.


My professional career began as a high school social studies teacher in a rural school district in Southside, Virginia. Over the years, I spent worked in K-12 schools as an elementary principal, middle school principal and secondary school administrator. In the years that followed my K-12 school administration experience, I served as an assistant superintendent followed by four years as a division chief with the Virginia Department of Education. My next career step involved serving for four years as department chairman in education at Hampton University. After serving at Hampton University, I transitioned to begin my long tenure as an onine professor at Regent University.

My husband, Willie L. Williams, and I reside in Chesterfield County, VA. We have a blended family of five adult children, along with grandchildren who range in age from approaching college graduation to one-year old twin grandsons. St. Paul's Baptist Church in Richmond, VA, is where we worship and grow! God is blessing us in mighty ways!


University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, Doctorate of Education, Administration, Supervision, and Curriculum Longwood University, Farmville, VA, Master's of Science, Supervision Hampton University, (Hampton Institute) Hampton, VA, Bachelor of Science with High Honors, History Education.


Hatcher, III, J. W., Stiff-Williams, H. R., & Hanes, J. C., (2014), “The African-American Adolescent Male Identity Development Crisis: A Mixed-Methods Design Exploring the Relationship Between Ethnic Identity Development Status and Academic Achievement”, Journal of African-American Males in Education.

Stiff-Williams, H. R. (2012-2015) Cornerstone Regent University Faculty Blog, “21st Century Skills at the Core of America’s Employment Conundrum,” Access at directory&utm_medium=website&utm_source=website&utm_content=faculty-blog

Stiff-Williams, H. R. (2011). How Should Educators Then Live and Practice. In Arroyo, A. & Jordan, H. (Eds.). Secret kingdom principles for educators. Boston: Pearson Education, Inc.

Stiff-Williams, H. R. & Sturtz, J.P. (Spring, 2012). Interviewing the "Lost Generation" from the Closed School Era of Prince Edward County, Virginia, Social Education, the Journal of the National Council of Social Studies.

Stiff-Williams, H. R. 2010. Widening the Lens: Teaching Character Education Alongside Standards Curriculum. The Clearing House, 83: 115-120.

Stiff-Williams, H. R. 2009. The Robert Russa Moton Museum and the Civil Rights In Education Historical Trail, Virginia Review Journal. Spring 2009. Online version available at:

Stiff-Williams, H. R. & Higgins-D’Alessandro, A. 2008. Commissioned Website. The Character Education Teacher Resource: An Online Guide, U. S. Department of Education, Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools, URL:

Rovai, A., Gallien, L.B & Stiff-Williams, H.R. (Eds.) 2008. Closing the African American achievement gap in higher education. Columbia, NY: Teachers College Press.


Presenter, “In the Online Learning Environment: Tackling the Pernicious Effects for First-Generation College Students", NASPA First-Generation College Student Conference for Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education,
June 16-19, 2019, Orlando, FL

Invited Panelist, Forum on Charter Schools and Other K-12 Educational Alternatives, Sponsored by Virginia Educational Association and the Richmond Chapter of the NAACP, Richmond Metro Area Education Forum, St. Bethel AME
Church, Third & Jackson Street, Richmond, Virginia, October 26, 2017.

Co-Presenter, “Developing the Character of K-16 Learners in Academic Settings. Presentation delivered at the Conference for Creative Education & Psychology and Social Harmony in Suzhou, China, July 28, 2016.

Lead Presenter, “Bullying Prevention and Discipline: Teaching Empathy and Transforming School Culture,” Character Education Partnership (CEP) Forum, Washington, D.C., October 25, 2013

Lead Presenter, “Serving African American Male Students: Essential School and Classroom Changes,” ASCD 2013 Annual Conference, Chicago, IL, March 18, 2013

Lead Presenter, “Bullying Prevention and Discipline: Teaching Empathy and Transforming School Culture,” ASCD 2013 Annual Conference, Chicago, IL, March 15, 2013

Presenter, “Teacher Readiness for Implementing Character Education,” Character Education Partnership (CEP) Forum, San Francisco, October 20-21, 2011

Presenter, “SMART Teaching: Taking the Guesswork out of Teaching the Common Core Standards,” High Schools That Work Summer Conference, Nashville, TN, July 22, 2011.

Presenter, “SMART Teaching: Take the Guesswork out of Teaching the New National Standards” ASCD Conference, San Francisco, CA, March 26-28, 2011

Presenter, 5-Day Seminar, “Systemic Character Education: Teaching Character Education to Improve Student Achievement,” Panama City, Panama, January 24-28, 2011

Speaker, “Systemic Character Education: The Importance of Character Education in K-12 Schools,” video-taped Interview/Commentary, can be accessed at


NASPA Student Affairs in Higher Education
Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) (formerly known as Character Education Partnership or CEP Forum)


  • Boy Scouts of America, Learning for Life Program, Member of Executive Board, Dallas/Fort Worth, TX, 2019- present
  • National Center for Youth Issues, Member of Executive Board of Directors, Chattanooga, TN, – present
  • Regent University Career Switcher Teachers Program, mentor for teachers in Virginia School Districts, 2013 to Present


  • Retention and Degree Completion of First-Generation College Students
  • Teaching for Character Development and Social-Emotional Learning
  • Improving K-16+ Teaching and Learning


Over more than 15 years, I have devoted my research and teaching interests to the field of character education. As a result of this work, I have served on several prominent national committees, including CEP's Blue Ribbon Panel for Selection of the National Schools of Character; the Center Resource Group of the Partnerships in Character Education Program as sponsored by the U. S. Department of Education, and the Advisory Board of the National Learning for Life Program of the Boy Scouts of America.

During the past several years, and almost on an annual basis, I delivered presentations on character education at national conferences, including ASCD and the Character Education Partnership Forum (CEP). The next phase of my work will involve the publication of journal articles and books that are underway.

I feel called to address educational improvement for K-16 learners. The outcome is to increase the quality of teaching and learning for ALL students, particularly our most at-risk and academically challenged learners. As part of this effort, I am currently working on a new delivery system to get Systemic Character Education into K-16 settings -- particularly low performing schools and institutions of higher education that need help with supporting underserved populations. The ultimate goal is to mitigate conditions that result in school dropouts and failure to complete college degrees. In other words, I feel that it is my calling to serve our Lord by working to improve the quality of K-16+ education. To God be the Glory!


  • Regent University, Academic Distinctive Service Award, Twenty Years of Service, Professor, School of Education, August 2018.
  • Regent University, Academic Distinctive Service Award, Fifteen Years of Service, Professor, School of Education, August 2013.
  • Regent University, Academic Distinctive Service Award, Ten Years of Service, Professor, School of Education, August 2008.
  • Regent University, Certificate of Achievement, Recognition of Valuable Contributions to Regent University School of Education, July 12, 2006.
  • Russell C. Hill Award, provided by the National Learning for Life Program, Boy Scouts of America the highest recognition for individual and organizations making an outstanding contribution to Character Education, awarded on March 3, 2006.
  • National Learning for Life Program, Service Award for contributions to the Implementation of Character Education, 2004.
  • Regent University, Virginia Beach, Virginia, awarded tenure as a professor in the School of Education, 2004.
  • Regent University, Academic Distinctive Service Award, Five Years of Service, Professor, School of Education, August 2003.
  • Regent University Nominee for Virginia State Outstanding Faculty Award, Virginia State Council of Higher Education, Winter 2001-02.
  • Outstanding Faculty Award, School of Education, Regent University, 2001.
  • Award for Excellence in Teaching in Distance Education, Regent University, January 1999.
  • Recognition, Excellence in Educational Service in VA, Awarded by Governor George Allen, 1997.