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Williams meets and greets teachers, principals and staff

Dr. Avis Williams, the new superintendent of the Selma City Schools, greeted teachers and staff at a welcome reception in the Selma High School cafeteria Tuesday.

Williams chatted and shook hands with everyone in the cafeteria who came to meet her.

“I briefly addressed everyone just to let them know how excited I am to get started,” Williams said. “Getting started is all about me learning what the challenges and the celebrations are for Selma, so that I can work to support all the great students here.”

Williams’ first meet and greet was a spur of the moment decision to reach out and introduce herself to the administrators and teachers she’ll be leading.

“Right now, I’m just ready to get to work,” she said. “I want to get to know all of our principals and teachers and learn what they’re currently doing and some things that they might want to do that they’ve not done in the past.”

Williams also expressed her excitement to get involved within the Selma community.

“One thing that I’m really passionate about is teamwork and engagement,” Williams said. “I’m looking forward to getting to know the other elected officials in the city. Churches, businesses and organizations that support the schools and learning how we can all work together to make Selma a better place to learn, live and grow.”

According to Williams, being a visible superintendent is about establishing trust and building relationships. Teachers who came to the meet and greet felt the same way and were glad to have the face-to-face interaction with Williams.

“For [Williams] to have the opportunity to network with community members, teachers, principals… I think those kinds of opportunities are great and they are needed, as opposed to regular meetings where people might not feel as comfortable to really express how they feel,” Selma City School board member Danielle Wooten said.

Jacqueline Peoples, a seventh and eighth grade science teacher at R.B. Hudson Middle School, felt that it was important to come and meet Williams in person.

“I think it was a real nice gesture for her to come and greet us in the manner that she did,” Peoples said. “It made me feel that she’s approachable. It helps me in knowing that if there’s something that I need or if there’s a problem, then I can come to her and feel comfortable about speaking with her.”

The meet and greet was the school board’s way of showing Williams a bit of appreciation before they started their board meeting, according to school board chairman Johnny Moss.

“We just want the community to come out to meet her, talk with her and she’s going to be very aggressive with her plan,” Moss said.

“She wants to be community involved, so we want the community to come and embrace our new leadership.”