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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."