The opportunity to be the person who can help children when they’re struggling led Sara Williams to become a teacher and that has proven to be the perfect career path, as she was named the Vernon ISD AFP/Opportunity Center Teacher of the Year for the second year in a row.
“I think it was God’s plan,” Sara said when asked why she became a teacher. “There were some people who influenced me, but mostly, I wanted to change the world. I knew becoming a teacher put me in the perfect place to help others who struggle – and not just with academics. I wanted to be for others the person I needed and didn’t have.”
Sara teachers sixth through twelfth grade ELAR and Social Studies, and is also certified to each fourth through twelfth grade ELAR, eighth through twelfth grade History, and early childhood through twelfth grade theater arts. She has been a teacher for 13 years, having taught in the Olney and Petrolia school districts before joining VISD at the North Texas State Hospital-AFP campus three years ago, a place she is happy to be.
“I’ve learned more about being a good teacher in the past three years than in any of the other 10,” she said. “I work with an amazing crew who love working with struggling students.”
A graduate of Anton High School, Sara received her bachelor of arts degree in English from Midwestern State University and earned her master’s of education in educational leadership and policy studies from the University of Texas at Arlington this year.
While Sara loves working at VISD and believes in the education the district is providing for its students, she would like to see a stronger program for advanced students.
“This is strictly from a personal standpoint because I have a daughter in the sixth grade who is extremely advanced. She is reading on eleventh and twelfth grade levels and capable of doing eighth grade through tenth grade work in every other subject, but she is being held back this year because there’s nothing – other than her one Gifted and Talented class – that supports her academic ability,” Sara explained. “She wants to be a National Merit Scholar, valedictorian, start her college classes as a freshman, go to MIT and major in engineering with a specialization in aeronautics. She’s not an honors student who just needs an extra push. She’s truly GT and the current program is not helping her reach her goals.”
Sara is married to David Williams Sr. and has two daughters, Aislyn, 12, and Ava, 7; and a step-son David Williams Jr. The family also includes pets, Tabby, a cat; Toto, Roxie and Scruffy, dogs; and nine fish.
Her hobbies include gardening, coloring, everything artsy and crafty, antique cars – she’s currently in the process of buying a 1971 AMC Gremlin; antique stores; farmer’s markets; and mom-and-pop shops “you never show what you’ll find,” she said.