Over the next month, The Chronicle of Mt. Juliet will be running profiles on each teacher in Mt. Juliet nominated for Wilson County’s Teacher of the Year. This week’s feature is Nicole Williams.
Nicole Williams teaches first grade at Rutland Elementary School. She has been at the school for five years but is currently in her 17th year teaching. She was previously at Tuckers Crossroads in Lebanon, where she was also named the school’s Teacher of the Year. Before coming to Wilson County Schools, she also taught at Hickman Elementary in Nashville.
“I went from the smallest school in the county to the largest [elementary] school in the county, so it was quite a bit of a change,” she said.
Williams received her bachelor’s degree in early elementary education from Tennessee State University and her masters in curriculum from Cumberland University.
After working at a daycare in college, Williams knew she wanted to be a teacher and be able to care for and inspire children. Now she says there’s not another job she would rather do.
“It makes me joyful, I love coming to work every day,” she said. “I love putting in the hard work it takes to be a teacher.”
She said teaching first grade is rewarding because she sees her students who can barely read and write progress throughout the year.
“Teaching is something that is one of my gifts,” she said. “To be able to teach, I have patience to be able to understand what a lot of kids are going through, that empathy and understanding.”
Williams is also a teacher leader, working with K-2 teachers and mentoring new teachers to help build their classrooms. She said by helping other teachers, she is able to reach more students. Williams said that even though she is the mentor, she also learns a lot from the teachers she works with.
Williams said it was an honor to be named Rutland’s Teacher of the Year because she works with such phenomenal teachers at her school.
She said Rutland has a great climate where everyone has a strong work ethic, taking pride in providing the education the students need.
Williams said it is an amazing feeling to be known as the teacher that received that much recognition from other teachers who are fabulous.
“Just to be nominated is a huge recognition, but then to be voted on, it blew my mind,” she said.