BPC alumna named Georgia Teacher of the Year
|State Schools Superintendent Kathy Cox, left, presents Pam Williams as the 2011 Georgia Teacher of the Year. Williams is a 1991 BPC graduate.
By Kelley M. Arnold
Director of News & Public Information
MOUNT VERNON— Brewton-Parker College alumna Pam Williams, an Appling County High School teacher, is Georgia’s Teacher of the Year.
Williams, who teaches economics and American government at the high school in Baxley, was named the winner earlier this month during the annual state teacher of the year banquet at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta. She was among 10 finalists selected from 148 nominees from throughout Georgia.
In her essay for the competition, Williams said her teaching philosophy focuses on “respect and responsibility.” She emphasized the importance of two-way communication between her and her students. Teaching is second only to parenting, she wrote.
“Many children spend more time daily with their teachers than they do with their parents. As a result, I believe teaching encompasses far more than classroom instruction,” said Williams, who is the mother of three children.
Williams, an Appling County native, entered Brewton-Parker College in the fall of 1988 as part of the Honor’s Program. She was on a “fast track” to finish, as she puts it, and graduated magna cum laude with her bachelor of science degree in education in June of 1991. She went on to earn both her master’s and specialist degrees from Georgia Southern University.
She remembers fondly the mentorship of former Education Division chairman, Bowman Barr. Barr retired in 2006.
“At that time, (Barr) was a professor in the division. He really really pushed all of us to achieve our best; he was a stickler for English. He believed that no one was perfect and that everyone has room for improvement. I took that with me into my first few years of teaching,” said Williams, who adds that her first year was “out of field”, meaning she served students without a permanent classroom, going room to room with a rolling cart and only $50 budget for the year’s supplies.
“If I hadn’t been pushed (by Barr) I don’t think I would have been able to go so far.”
Williams chose Brewton-Parker College because it was close to home, but what she found was a college experience that was a “perfect” fit for her.
“I was really impressed with the Education program and very pleased with the education I received at Brewton-Parker,” said Williams. “It was a comfort to be close to home, able to drive back and forth while able to lead my life as a young wife at the time. The small size and the quiet college in a small, quiet community lend itself to success. It was perfect, not overwhelming. Because of its size, I had a lot of individual assistance in my Education classes, and that really helped. I had more one-on-one time with my professors, and I was able to meet and grow relationships that were really key to me.”
Brewton-Parker College’s current chair of the Division of Education is proud to hear of Williams’ success and achievement in her field.
“It is indeed an honor to have a graduate of Brewton-Parker College’s Division of Education be this year’s recipient of the Georgia Teacher of the Year Award,” said Dr. Moffett. “Brewton-Parker has a long history of producing professional educators who make a difference in the lives of young Georgia residents every day. Our Education Division was recently recognized nationally with full accreditation from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and this state teacher award further confirms the strength and integrity of our programs.”
Williams, who just completed her 19th year of teaching, said that one of her biggest blessings as a teacher has been seeing the successes of her former students.
“A lot of them from my earlier years of teaching are now in their early thirties,” said Williams. “I live in a small town, and it is amazing to see them out in the community and to hear how they are doing in their lives and to hear the thank yous.”
Williams will spend the 2010-11 school year as an advocate for public education and the teaching profession in Georgia. She will also conduct workshops and programs for educators, as well as compete for the 2011 National Teacher of the Year.
“I know Pam is going to be a great spokesperson for teachers in Georgia,” state schools Superintendent Kathy Cox said during the award banquet.
Brewton-Parker College is the only accredited four-year Christian college in south Georgia.
(Portions of this article were taken from a May 15 article in The Florida Times-Union by Teresa Stepzinski.)