Staff at SWCS

Director of SWCS:
   Shanna M. Williams, LCSW, MEd

In July 2014, Shanna was honored to join the Center of Social Work Education Faculty. Prior to becoming a member of the faculty, she was an undergraduate and graduate student in Social work and Master’s of Human sexuality programs.

Before coming to Widener, Shanna had the opportunity to gain wealth of experience in development & facilitation of diversity and sexual health programming. After graduating with her BSW, she began her career in social work in the fields of child welfare and with families of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  When she returned as a graduate student, Shanna served as an intern for Social Work Counseling Services. In SWCS' nurturing atmosphere allowed her clinical skills to flourish, which prepared her for postgraduate clinical work with youth, couples and families affected by sexual or other forms of trauma.

When she was invited to return to Widener as a SWCS site supervisor at the Widener Partnership Charter School in January 2014, she fell in love with the opportunity to use a combination of clinical experience with her passion for social work and education with the social work interns.  In her current role as the Director of Social Work Counseling Services and an assistant professor, she strives to recreate the same enlightening, engaging and supportive experiences that shaped her career. Shanna is a member of the National Association of Christian Social Workers and the Pennsylvania Society of Clinical Social Workers.

Graduate Student Counselor:    Leighann Simmons, MSW


Leighann Simmons        In 2013, Leighann joined the Center for Social Work Education, in partnership with the Institutue for Graduate Clinical Psychology.  Leighann has a wealth of clinical experience that will help tremendously in her work with the students.  She spent four years as a psychiatric technician at Belmont Center for Comprehensive Treatment working with patients with a variety of diagnoses, including co-occurring disorders, psychotic disorders, affective disorders, and eating disorders.  Her first-year field placement was at the Attic Youth Center providing group and individual counseling to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth between the ages of 14 and 24.  She completed her second-year field placement at Community Mental Health Services conducting group and individual counseling with adult and adolescent sex offenders and remained there for several years after graduating. 


        In addition, Leighann has served as a case manager at Human Services, Inc. for adults with severe and chronic mental illness, as well as been an outpatient individual and family therapist and DBT skills group leader at the Dr. Warren E. Smith Health Centers for the general mental health population in North Philadelphia.  Currently, Leighann's full-time job is as a Mobile Crisis Worker with Elwyn, Inc.


        Leighann received her B.A. in Psychology from Cheney University and her Masters of Social Work from Widener University.  Given her family's lack of financial resources, Leighann had only herself to rely on as she completed her schooling.  She can remember the intense pressure she felt to succeed and how difficult it was, at times, managing the demands of the part-time MSW program with a full-time job.  It is this experience, however, that gives Leighann a unique advantage as she takes on her new position as counselor to Widener's Psy.D and part-time social work students.  She has been there, so she can relate to the part-time students' particular struggles and demands.