Longtime Whitesboro Art Teacher Recognized During Teacher Appreciation Week
With more than two decades of teaching experience under her belt, longtime art teacher Sue Ellen Williams says it’s the students she gets to work with, along with the supportive staff and administration, that truly make her love her job. Now, she’s being recognized for the hard work she’s put into shaping young minds.
During Williams’ first year of teaching, which was spent in her hometown at Niskayuna High School, she had a student named Brian Chesky, who went on to become one of the co-founders of Airbnb. Several years ago, Williams was contacted by Chesky, who invited Williams to attend his induction into the Niskayuna High School Hall of Fame, and he credited her with his decision to attend art school in Rhode Island. This year, Williams was surprised once again when she was contacted by New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) and Airbnb about doing a story and video for Teacher Appreciation Week.
“To be remembered twenty-one years later is amazing,” Williams said.
Following her first year of teaching at Niskayuna, Williams was hired by the Whitesboro Central School District, where she’s been teaching for 21 years. She currently teaches seventh and eighth grade art, adaptive art, and she serves at the head of the District’s Art Department.
Williams says her favorite part of her job is when a student doesn’t think that they can create something, and they end up coming up with something wonderful that they never thought they could do. She says she wanted to become a teacher because when she was in school, she had teachers who were able to show her things in herself that she couldn’t see on her own, and she wanted to do that for others.
Within the District’s Art Department, Williams says she’s most proud of the District Art Show that’s held each year in May because she loves to see the artwork that students have created. Although the show highlights artwork from middle school and high school students, she enjoys seeing artwork created by elementary students as well.
While many people believe that teachers are the ones who influence their students, Williams says that for her, it’s the opposite – she believes it’s the students who oftentimes inspire the teachers. She also believes that all of her colleagues are equally deserving of the type of recognition she has received.
“I feel all of my colleagues should be receiving the recognition I was given,” Williams said. “I am fortunate to work in an amazing department, campus and district. I appreciate all of the support from our administration and Board of Education. I have been very fortunate throughout my life to have incredible influences who have helped me along my journey in teaching. Both of my parents were phenomenal teachers who have been incredible role models. I am thrilled to see my students go on to do wonderful things.”
Congratulations to Sue Ellen Williams on being recognized for the decades of hard work you’ve put into teaching and enriching the lives of Whitesboro students.
Click here to view the story by NYSUT.