For two decades Sharon Williams has been the first teacher for hundreds of students at Knox Elementary in Selma. She takes special care to make sure their first exposure to education is pleasant. "I try to make them feel like they're being loved here and give them a lot of positive experiences for them to enjoy while they're here at school with me," she says.
Williams' teaching extends beyond kindergarten. Often she is placed in a mentor role to help first year teachers learn the ropes of leading a classroom. Principal Joe Peterson says, "when a veteran teacher's able to take them under their wings, so to speak and actually show them step-by-step what's expected and kind of like coach them along the way, you can't find enough money to repay that person for the experience they've been able to give them in teaching."
Peterson says teaching kindergarten is a calling, one that Williams still enjoys answering every day. "I love bringing them from one point at the beginning of the year when they come in like raw materials, they don't know as much as you would like them to know, and as the year progresses at the end during May they have done such a wonderful job learning all of their skills."