Vince Williams, Alumni Leading Our Community

Vince Williams

Fargo Public Schools Educator & Administrator
Social Studies & M.S. Curriculum and Instruction

"If you don’t develop good relationships with the people you are leading then your leadership will collapse."

Tell me about your time at MSUM

When I went back to get my master’s degree, the courses I took, the professors I had, my advisor Boyd Bradbury, all instilled in me a passion for building relationships with students. There is the old adage that kids don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. That’s my professional philosophy and that comes from MSUM’s graduate program.

What has been the biggest obstacle for you in achieving success?

Self-doubt. In the neighborhood where I’m from (Chicago) a lot of people fail, and in the back of my mind I am always wondering why am I at this point in life when there are so many others who didn’t get a chance to get out. The best way for me to overcome that self doubt is through prayer and a strong family support system.

What do you do to instill greater confidence in yourself?

I read a ton. I have many books on education in my personal library. My favorite book right now is “The Principal” by Michael Fullan. He talks about building culture and a climate within your school that’s conducive to enhancing student learning.

What is the most important skill a leader brings to an organization?

Communication. Having a clear and concise message that the people you are leading can understand, and building relationships. If you don’t develop good relationships with the people you are leading then your leadership will collapse.

What advice do you give young people about developing themselves for leadership roles?

I have a quote above my desk that reads, “Dreams don’t work unless you do.” I think that whatever someone sets their minds to do, if they it with all their might and never give up, they will accomplish their goals. I would also say you should be willing to make mistakes you can learn from them.

Describe your leadership style?

I believe in empowering others to make decisions, but also believe in being a supporter to help them achieve their goals. I strive to build positive relationships, and when people see you are sincere, they are more willing to support you and help you achieve your vision.

Why is MSUM a vital part of Fargo-Moorhead?

I love Minnesota State University Moorhead. It’s a great college for educators. I honestly believe that the teachers who come from MSUM are top-notch. The teachers I’ve had the opportunity to work with from MSUM know their stuff. We probably have over 30 percent of our teachers from MSUM.