Connections: Linking Talented Educators
Connections: Linking Talented Educators

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Dr. Julie Williams (TN '95) has passed away at age 69 after a long illness. She won the Milken Educator Award as the principal of Hunters Lane Comprehensive High School in Nashville, Tennessee. She was inducted into the Nashville YWCA's Academy of Women of Achievement in 2011.

In "Failure Is Not An Option," an article in the Connections section of this website, Julie talked about her decision to come out of retirement in order to tackle a turnaround challenge at Nashville's Maplewood High School. She raised expectations across the board, used student data to convince teachers that success was possible, and revised the school's approach to discipline to keep students on campus instead of suspending them. Students' pass rate increased, but more important, they became invested in their own achievement. At the end of the year, Williams organized a schoolwide assembly in which she equated her students' academic successes with the football team's victories the previous fall. "What I told the kids was that this was as big as that win, if not larger," said Williams. "And we want to celebrate it just as we had celebrated our football victories."


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  • My goodness. This makes me reflect on life again. This extraordinary woman was my principal at a Hunters Lane. She was no nonsense! We needed that authority cause it guided us to remain focused academically. My heart saddens hearing this news, but I know she left a great legacy of helping children! She was very passionate about her career. “Thank you Dr. Williams for being one of the great ones! Thanks for keeping us scared

    Posted by Hall, 15/10/2018 2:35pm (4 years ago)

  • Dr. Williams scared the %&^$ out of me. I knew, if I messed up...I would have to answer to her. I could dodge the dad’s and make them laugh, to look past my flaws. But Dr. Williams could not be charmed. Nor could you escape. When you least expect it, “I need to see you in my office”. I was like wow. Freshman year.

    I felt even more bad for Tommy, and was thankful that I didn’t have my mother as a principal. Foolish of me, because she was my mother too.

    My mother said how she cared and helped so so many people, more than I know. I know she helped me because I know she cared about me.

    Now a part of her lesson plan is forever embedded in me. Dr. Williams....lives on...within me!

    Posted by Darius J. hamby, 10/10/2018 8:16pm (4 years ago)

  • Dr. Julie Williams profound impact on the thousands of children she taught, guided, inspired and encouraged to develop their potential into reality is immeasurable. Nashville was blessed.

    Posted by Valerie Goodman , 10/10/2018 7:41pm (4 years ago)

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