School: North Lauderdale PreK-8th School
School District: Broward County Public Schools
City, State: North Lauderdale, FL
Music that Describes Nichele
Nichele Williams was nominated by her colleague, Marta Moise.
"The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of how Ms. Nichele Williams relates to students is H.U.G.S," said Moise. "She has the genuine ability to relate to HUMANS with an UNDERSTANDING & GIVING STRENGTH beyond the capacity of most school principals. Ms. Williams never loses the zeal in making connections and touching the lives of students."
Ms. Williams is passionate about helping others and has been able to move an entire school community to provide aid to families in need. A few months ago around her birthday, when her school's resource officer learned that one of the students lacked basic home necessities, Ms. Williams asked that instead of receiving birthday gifts, she would prefer everyone to participate in a donation project for this family. She mobilized the school and was able to collect a plethora of donation items. Her office was filled with home furniture items.
In addition to serving as a community support agent, she is her school’s mascot and cheerleader! Her interactions with students during school functions such as Green Parties (student celebration events), Thanksgiving Community Feast, Pajama Literacy Night, community parades and other holiday celebrations place her at the center of attention. Students can see that their school principal really cares because she is present in the community outside the regularly scheduled school day to participate in community functions.
During this year’s first Thanksgiving Feast, she was able to feed 300 people in the community in her school’s cafeteria. At the December 13th Pajama Literacy Night, she brought in five brand new bikes to offer as prize giveaways to students. In essence, she truly knows how to encourage and motivate everyone she encounters on a regular basis. She has the hands and the heart of a leader who is always ready to serve others.
This year’s school theme is "on the road to success on the energy bus." Every member of the staff has a copy of The Energy Bus written by Jon Gordon. Ms. Williams serves as instructional leader of her school and leads school professional development sessions with positive energy. She exemplifies this and reminds her staff that 'they are the driver of their own bus.' This is one of the 10 life changing rules that Jon Gordon includes in his book."
"Research has shown that the number one indicator of a school’s success is its administrator. A school’s culture and climate are mostly impacted by that leader," said Moise. "I really don’t know how, but she seems to always have the energy to muster up her strength to re-energize and re-invigorate her staff! As she would state, 'there are soaring eagles and there are chickens, which do you prefer being part of?'"
"In my 20 years of experience working with as many as seven principals, I have never worked with one who is able to transform a school in a matter of minutes, one person at a time. All it takes is a few minutes…really! Ms. Williams knows how to communicate with school stakeholders," said Moise. "Just two years ago, when I first had the opportunity to work with her, she was sent to our school in the middle of the year as an interim principal. It was during our first leadership meeting when I had first hand experience of what transformative leadership looked like. Just days after she started, she reminded us of why we entered the profession, what it really takes to move a school, and the life-changing impact we have in our work with children."
"I remember looking around the room full of teary-eyed individuals who seemed like they had just been resurrected. 'This shouldn’t be as hard as the energy that I’m feeling in this room, do you all realize the power that you have within you,' she reaffirmed us," said Moise. "She talked about how we have to take control of our mind-set. Our school went from an 'F' to two points from a 'B' letter grade. Everyone was on board! Students, teachers, parents and all other school stakeholders felt and experienced the love that Ms. Williams was able to exemplify at our school. We no longer felt that the task was impossible, and we didn’t even realize how hard we were working because we had someone who believed and trusted in our abilities to bring about change. Again, I’m able to witness firsthand at the school she currently runs!"
Ms. Williams is operating in her gifts and talents. This is why her work as a school principal seems so natural. She is committed to everyone she serves. She gives her whole entire being to serving others. Never running out of breath and energy, she rides bikes, energizes entire staff, runs marathons, dances with students, and celebrates with entire communities during parades. All in the name of love, Ms. Williams is able to run her school.