Watch Susan Williams in action in class, and you can feel the enthusiasm for learning among her First Graders. Williams likes to try new ideas, like hands-on activities and math games, to help children understand tough lessons.
Susan Williams said "When you're teaching a concept that maybe someone has been struggling with, and the light comes on, and they get it, there's nothing like it in the world".
Williams may seem like a veteran teacher at Bayou View Elementary, but she didn't discover her passion for teaching until six years ago. Williams said "I was working on a church-related Kindergarten program and I just fell in love with it. The opportunity was there to go back to school and get certified in elementary teaching. I haven't regretted it, not one day".
Principal Martha Mullins said "She has that gift. She's a natural born teacher. I think it's her enthusiasm, her energy and her rapport with the students that really stand out".
Williams even refers to her students as friends. First Grader Alex Bergin said "She's nice, and I like her because I like her class".
First Grader Martrice Carradine said "When we do math, she makes it fun. When we do the calendar, it's fun 'cause she's a great teacher and I love her".
That's why her students and fellow teachers agree Williams deserves to be Gulfport's Teacher of the Year. Williams said "I was very surprised, and very humbled because there are so many good teachers in Gulfport. I'm just thrilled to death. That's all I know to say. I really am".
Williams says her goal is to give each child an opportunity to succeed, and allow them to learn in their own way and at their own pace.