Excellence in Teaching: Springfield teacher wants students to see someone they can trust

Brandon Williams teaches 8th grade history at the Global Impact STEM Academy. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

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Brandon Williams teaches 8th grade history at the Global Impact STEM Academy. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Brandon Williams became a teacher because he wanted students to see someone who could be trusted in their classroom.

Williams, who has been teaching for eight years, started as a social studies teacher at Kenton Right High School, and has spent the last five years teaching eighth-grade history at the Global Impact STEM Academy.

Williams and three other teachers will receive the Excellence in Teaching award on March 21. The 33rd awards program is sponsored by the Springfield Rotary Club, Ohio Edison, The Springfield Foundation and the Greater Springfield Partnership.

Each recipient will be introduced and will give a short presentation on what teaching has meant to them and the importance of being a teacher. Recipients will also receive a $1,000 check, a recognition plaque, an etched paperweight, and proclamations from the Ohio House of Representatives and the Ohio Senate.

Williams knew he was meant to work with people and he always loved school.

“Teaching is a higher standard of living and judgment by the community than most other professions. When teachers fall short of that standard and trust, it hurts people,” he said. “The relationship between a teacher and student is sacred. Being a teacher is an act of service. We are given the opportunity to build up and encourage beings with inherent value. We get to add value to our community in a way no other relationship can match.”

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He said teaching is a glimpse of eternity and what he was called to do.

“When you’re a naturally driven person with goals and dreams, the brevity of life serves as a motivator. Knowing I will spend my career convincing students to care about things worth caring for is a comfort. It means I can instill in others a love for the same commission I am called to,” he said.

The students are Williams’ favorite part of teaching. He said he feels students learn more from personalities, worldviews and the love you show them than the content you teach.

“I have had the pleasure of working with some of the most incredible students a teacher could have. There are few things that bring me more joy than seeing my students thrive,” he said.

Although history came naturally to Williams, he said it was more about working with the students than a passion for history. He knew he wanted to work with older students at the high school level, which is why he started at Kenton Ridge, but later decided to teach at the middle school level.

When Williams was given the opportunity to teach middle school at GISA, he couldn’t pass up the opportunity because the “vision for what school could be with a blank canvas was a real chance to grow as a professional.”

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Williams has also taught American History, World History, Government, a Civil War Elective, and also had the opportunity to teach drama, basic woodshop skills and a bluegrass breakout at STEM.

Teaching during COVID-19 is like building the plane while trying to fly it, Williams said, and that he hopes it builds resilience for students.

“The kids were in survival mode, but it made me really have to step up intentionally with the kids.... It made me appreciate the classroom time more,” he said.

“We, as a team, have been focused on what life things the kids missed in those two years and how we can address it. There is always content to be learned and holes in understanding to fill. That is literally why I have a job. There is no doubt some of the maturation we typically see has been delayed. We are trying to prioritize student growth, mental health and how to function as a member of a community rather than perfection in content,” Williams added.

In winning this award, Williams said knowing others thought enough of what he does to call it excellent encourages him to continue.

Williams received his undergraduate degree and master’s degree in ministry from Cedarville University.

2022 Excellence in Teaching Award

This is the third story in a four-part series by the Springfield News-Sun on the teachers in Clark County receiving the 2022 Excellence in Teaching Award.

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