Strategically setting up classrooms, teaching intentionally and assessing where each child is on an ongoing basis can be overwhelming without the right coach. Yet without this support, teachers can inadvertently become babysitters instead of the educators our earliest learners deserve.
Which brings me to this month’s Face of The D. Alicia Williams has dedicated her life to become her teacher’s keeper. She not only coaches teachers but creates a culture that encourages them to coach their peers. If you really want your teachers to be the best they can be, make sure you have coaches like Ms. Williams. That’s half the battle.
Among the many titles she’s earned in 26 years on the job are: Lead Consultant, Williams’ Early Childhood Services; LACC Early Childhood adjunct faculty at Wayne County Community College and Henry Ford College; Lady Alicia Williams, Top Lady of Distinction, Detroit Chapter; MiAEYC Governing Board, Communication Committee Chair.
At 46, she is the mother of “twinagers” A’miya and A’meya Glover.
I observed Alicia setting up classrooms at LACC Early Learning Program on the west side of Detroit. Her excitement made me want a coach or to be a coach. I couldn’t resist the urge to know what drives her.
Here is our Q & A session:
I love my city. I have been working in the field for over 25 years in various capacities, locally and at the state-level. I find it most rewarding going into centers and classrooms of those who live in my community and seeing first-hand the impact that comprehensive programming and intentional teaching on children’s trajectory.
Name an experience that prompted you to work in your field.
Oh, there were so many things that destined me to be an early childhood practitioner! But I will merit it to the old classroom chalkboard my father brought home when I was around 7, and the long tireless hours I invested in teaching my friends, dolls and stuffed animals.
Though now what keeps me committed and excited about the early childhood field is what children show and teach me every day, as well as the ability to help adult learners–administrators, teachers, and parents–see their potential and become passionate, competent influencers in the lives of young children.
How would you like to see the city grow?
I would like to see the quality of life enhanced for Detroit’s youngest citizens. I want children to reside in safe neighborhoods, attend schools and programs that are equipped to provide diverse learning opportunities that meet their current and future needs to succeed.
What would you like to share with others?
By all means necessary, we must be diligent and veracious in the services provided to children and their families. There must be strong financial accountability and tangible outcome measures to prove programs are making a difference for Detroit’s youngest citizens. Business can no longer be the same, barriers and cycles must be broken at all levels of the early childhood system analyzing children’s success–and those who teach them.