Moving on up

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 29, 2006

Local teacher Sherita Williams has a lot to be proud of.

In less than a month, she went from elementary school teacher to junior high principal and Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, or SACS, commissioner.

“They had been looking for someone from West Alabama to serve on the board,” Williams said, “and to my understanding no one from this area has ever served.”

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As a commissioner, Williams is required to attend state meetings and is also responsible for setting the standards and guidelines area schools have to meet in order to get and maintain accreditation.

“I’m excited about it. I am curious to learn about everything it will entail,” she said. “This is an opportunity for me to meet and work with the big decision makers of the public school system.”

But Williams’ position as SACS commissioner isn’t the only new role she will assume in Alabama public education.

At Tuesday’s Demopolis City Schools Board of Education meeting, the board reluctantly accepted her request of resignation from U.S. Jones School where she teaches fourth and fifth grade.

Williams recently accepted a position as principal at Kinterbish Junior High in the Sumter County school system. She begins her new job Monday.

“It’s a good reflection on us and on the school system to have a teacher moving up like that,” Demopolis Superintendent Wesley Hill said at Tuesday’s meeting.

“I’ve been here at U.S. Jones for almost 11 years,” Williams said. “I am ready for a change, but it’s a bittersweet kind of change.”

Williams, who was born and raised in Demopolis, began her teaching career as a first-grade teacher in Perry County in 1994. Shortly after, Williams moved back to Demopolis in the summer of 1996.

Although Williams plans to reside in Demopolis and commute to Kinterbish on daily basis, she said she will still miss her students and the faculty at U.S. Jones.

“It’s just difficult to leave,” Williams said. “But I have a child in Demopolis City Schools, so I still plan on being involved. I just have to change roles.”

As hard as it may be, Williams said the change is something she’s been looking forward to since receiving an Administrative Certificate from the University of Alabama in Birmingham.

“I’ve had my administration degree for several years; now I have a chance to put it to use. My family knows how much I want it,” she said about her husband and two children.

Even though her family is taking it well, Williams can’t say the same for her students.

“I told them the other day. We shared a few tears together, but they handled it better than I thought they would,” she said. “It was the adults who did the most boohooing.”

“I’m happy for her, but I’m sad she’s leaving,” 10-year-old Cadarius DuBose said. “I don’t have a favorite thing to do in her class because I like everything.”

“I don’t want her to leave. She’s a good teacher,” Alabama history lover Christian Corbitt, 10, said. “The new teacher might be as good as her, but I doubt it.”

KaTyerria Eaton, 9, said she will miss Williams, but thinks a new teacher might be a good thing.

“I feel great because the new teacher might be nice and she might pass out candy and she might give more than three goody points,” she said. “But when I leave today, I’m gonna go home and cry.”

One adult who finds it hard to let go of Williams is Selena Banks, Williams’ former homeroom parent.

“I’ve worked with her for the past year just helping her with whatever she needs to make her life better and easier,” Banks said. “I will cry for a month to get over it, but I’m glad she’s getting something bigger and better. She deserves it.”

“I’ve been waiting for this for a long time, but I’ve come to realize that what’s for you, is for you and the powers that be will make that decision,” Williams said. “My only prayer was that when I left Demopolis, I could do so gracefully. And I think this is a very graceful transition.”