Newman alumna and secondary education teacher Emily Williams was nominated and chosen as the 2018 Kansas Secondary School History Teacher of the Year.
Williams was nominated because of her passion for educating and the mass amounts of work she does for the school and her students. She is highly involved at Derby High School, where she teaches U.S. History, government and AP U.S. History — an advanced standing course for Newman University. She also works as the co-webmaster and social media manager for her building.
She graduated from Newman University in 2001 with a Bachelor of Science in social studies secondary education and was recently asked to teach History of Kansas and Great Plains on campus at Newman during the spring 2019 semester.
Nominations for the award open at the beginning of November and end in September the following year. As president of the Kansas Council for History Education (KCHE), Williams compiled the nominations to send to the board members for final selections of both the elementary and secondary categories.
While Williams was compiling the nominations, she was surprised to spot her name not only once, but twice.
She sent electronic ballots to the board members for them to make their final selection; she chose to abstain from the voting this year.
Williams was nominated by colleague Kari Schott and former student Erica McClure for the award. “I was truly both honored and humbled,” she said.
Schott’s nomination stated, “I nominate Emily Williams for so many reasons, but first for her sacrificing, unconditional approach to guiding students.” Adding, “There is no other person that takes more pride in her students and school than her. Her constant dedication to students and her colleagues is unmeasured.”
McClure wrote in her nomination, “Ms. Williams has a way with making each student be involved and learn history. History was not my favorite subject but she always found a way to make it interesting. She is involved with furthering her own education in history, which is very inspiring that teaching history isn’t just her job, it is her passion. Ms. Williams is more than deserving of this award.”
Williams took to social media to express her gratitude for the nominations and the award. Her post read:
“First of all, thank you so much to Erica McClure and to Kari Roswurm Schott for nominating me for this award. I was more surprised than you will ever know to read your nominations. To be thought of with such kind sentiments was incredibly heartwarming.
“Secondly, thank you to KCHE for selecting me for this award out of all of the AMAZING teachers who were nominated. I am most undeserving but grateful.
“Lastly, I am truly humbled and honored to receive this. It is a privilege to get to do what I love to do every single day, and I count myself blessed. All glory to God!”
Williams plans to continue teaching at Derby High School and looks forward to teaching the Newman course in the spring. She also stays busy as a part of many organizations, such as the Strategic Plan Communications Committee for Derby Public Schools, the History-Government-Social Studies State Assessment Revision Committee for the Kansas State Department of Education and she is also working to help launch a Christian music festival for the Wichita area called Air Capital Praisefest.
Williams wanted to be a teacher for as long as she could remember. Now, her time and effort in the classroom has been recognized and rewarded.
“The best part of my job is that no two days are alike. I enjoy the constant challenge and change of what I do. I also enjoy learning and inspiring that love of learning in my students,” she said.