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New superintendent’s first day on the job

Selma City Schools’ new superintendent Avis Williams completed her first day on the job Thursday.

Although she would have liked to make a few appearances at various schools in the city, she spent the majority of her day with staff from the Alabama State Department of Education.

“It was great. I did get to meet with central office staff. We did have a review where we had some visitors from the state department here meeting to discuss district improvement, which was a very powerful conversation,” Williams said of her first day.

Williams hopes to begin touring the schools Friday and getting to know the staff and students that she leads.

“I’m excited about getting out and getting to the schools. That’s what I would have certainly loved to have been doing today,” Williams said. “I’m excited about being here, and I look forward to getting into more classrooms and talking to more teachers.”

After the school day, Williams presented a plan Thursday to the Selma City School Board to talk about the different phases for success.

“My first phase within the first 30 to 60 days, it’s about relationship building,” she said.

“A lot of it is really just getting to know what’s great about Selma, getting to know the challenges that we have and understanding what relationships and partnerships are already in place and working to develop some additional relationships and partnerships.”

One of the things she said she wanted people to take away from it was her values –– students first, teamwork, excellence, and joy.

“I hold myself to a very, very, very high standard, and I have high expectations of others, but as a leader I will model that,” Williams said.

Williams said still it’s all about the students and everything comes back to them.

“As an educator, I just feel that we have the best job in the world because we get to interact with and shape and mold the minds of young people, and we need joy to be able to do that,” she said.

Williams had school employees fill out a survey to get a better understanding of what the system needs, and she found that a reoccurring theme was employee morale and the need to boost it.

“One thing I know for sure is that we got to learn more about the cause of morale issues or problems, and we have to address it,” Williams said. “We have to let our teachers, administrators and staff know that they are valued and that they are appreciated and that we are here to support them.”

Williams said she is currently working on financing for a house in Selma, and she is ready to move to the area and get involved in the community.

Overall, she’s ready to tackle what’s ahead and get started.

“Everybody has been so nice and I love it. I definitely feel welcomed. and it’s a great feeling to know that there are people who are as excited as I am about me being here,” Williams said.

“I’m ready for it, and one reason I can say that is because I got some strong mentors that have helped me and that I know I can count on.”