As Hess Academy grows and expands, fresh needs and opportunities continue to arise.
We are excited to announce that one of those opportunities is the chance to expand our school leadership team, as we welcome our own Bobbie Williams to the newly created Assistant Principal position!
Bobbie, a teacher of 48 years and Hess community veteran, was delighted to accept the appointment.
We sat down to discuss her thoughts on leadership, her impressive career, her favorite weekend pursuits, and the classroom item that generally haunts her pockets.
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Q: The staff and school team overall are incredibly excited for you to transition into this position. What are you most excited about?
A: I would say mentoring teachers. Listening to their needs and trying to support them in adjusting to a new environment or helping their visions come to pass is so important. The support I can give will in turn help them to be the best educators for each child in their classrooms.
Q: What inspired you to become an educator and facilitator of learning?
A: Oh dear lord, let’s see. Growing up with a mother who was a teacher and going to school with her on a daily basis-- learning directly from her at an early age-- made me want to be an educator. She was a top-notch first grade teacher for sure. Following in her footsteps was a natural progression for me. But I ironically didn’t want to teach first grade like her. I wanted to be different in some way (similar to her, but not exactly like her, you know?). I taught one year of sixth grade and realized I was more like her than I thought.
Q: What was your first teaching position? What stands out from that experience?
A: My first year of teaching, I was immediately put in a leadership role, right out of college at West Georgia. The principal assigned me to be Sixth Grade Chair above several teachers-- all of whom had experience under their belts! And I of all people was to oversee them! We had an oversized classroom with around 55 students. So, needless to say, there were a lot of challenges.
Q: In what other capacities have you served teachers and students over the course of your career?
A: I joined a team of educators from the Center for Innovation and Education, traveling across the country and training teachers in math. I’ve also worked as a teacher leader in both the Writing and Math Institutes in Gwinnett County. I simultaneously ran student writing and math camps; this way, other teachers could come and observe and learn along the way. Then, I came to Hess!
Q: What do you count as some of your major accomplishments as an educator over the last 48 (!) years?
A: I would say any kind of success or “feel good” memory that a child has had from being in my classroom would be one of my greatest accomplishments. Katie Gravante, one of Hess Academy’s new teachers, is another “great accomplishment” because I can see inspiration from my classroom coming back around. She was in my first and second grade classes, and now I get to mentor her as she begins her first year of teaching. Last but not least, I published a book for educators, 15 Fun-to-Sing Math Learning Songs & Activities, which was a very rewarding experience.
Q: What can people expect to regularly find in your hands or pockets?
A: A unifix cube or hand sanitizer. I mean, I’m always pulling math manipulatives out of my pockets. They end up scattered around my laundry room. Last year, there were also lots of sticks and rocks. And iced tea. I always have iced tea.
Q: Name one book you absolutely love.
A: The first one that comes to mind is Saturday and Teacakes by Lester Laminack. It brings up all these good memories of going to my grandmother’s house as a child in Snellville.
Q: Describe a perfect Saturday.
A: Sleep late (late for me is past 5 AM). Take a walk. Spend time with my two grandkids.
Q: What is your biggest hope for this coming year?
A: I hope our students and families are happy and healthy as we embark on an incredible year of learning.
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Congratulations, Bobbie! We look forward to benefiting from your wisdom, experience, and guidance. Cheers to an exciting new chapter ahead!