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WCSD Recognizes Women's History Month with Principal Christine Williams

WCSD Recognizes Women's History Month with Principal Christine Williams

March is Women’s History Month. This month is dedicated to recognizing and celebrating all of the incredible women in American history who have made contributions to our society in a variety of fields. This month, the Washingtonville Central School District is recognizing three principals within the WCSD community whose contributions to our community are valued and appreciated. 

Christine Williams, principal of Taft Elementary School, started her journey in education because of her love of children and is focused on continuing to be a leader in her community. 

“I want to encourage young ladies to have goals and pursue them. I think it’s important to highlight other women that have broken barriers because things have changed in history,” said Mrs. Williams. 

“I feel like it’s important to make sure that we empower our children to know that they can do anything if they want to do it.”

Before becoming principal, Mrs. Williams was a special education teacher. She said working with children was something she had wanted to do since she was younger. 

“I always gravitated towards children. Becoming a teacher was not first on my list, it was psychology,” she said. “So, I’ve always had an interest in humans and their development and all of that, like young humans that grow up to be adult humans.”

In college, she studied psychology and special education. At first, she did not see herself as an administrator but as a teacher because of her love of working with children.

She started her teaching career in Hawaii and proceeded to work in special education for 13 years. She grew up in Ulster County and went to Marist College where she earned her bachelor's degree. 

“Their whole state is one school district,” Mrs. Williams said when she spoke about her time teaching in Hawaii. “So, that school district sent somebody out to talk to the new college and soon-to-be graduates about teaching in Hawaii because they need special education teachers in math and science.”

Since Mrs. Williams was certified in special education, in January 2000, she decided to move to Hawaii where she taught for a year and a half. 

When she moved back to Ulster County, she taught special ed in another school district for another five years before considering another position within education. She began to study administration and came to Washingtonville as an assistant principal of Little Britain and Round Hill in 2013. She then moved up to principal in August 2018.

Mrs. Williams feels that education has been an environment where women are welcomed and accepted.

“In my first teaching job, my principal was a female. In Hawaii, and then when I moved back to New York, the principal was female and then I had a male. So, I’ve always had female leaders and role models that I learned from.”

Throughout Mrs. Williams’ journey, she has always had people to learn from and good role models.

Her aunt was a teacher and someone she looked up to when she also decided to start working in education. 

“I always looked up to my mom because she encouraged me to do whatever my passion was and she trusted me to do what was right. My father’s parents were immigrants and my mother’s parents were not immigrants but they were always hard workers.”

For young ladies growing up and trying to figure out where they fit in life, Mrs. Williams offers them some advice. Sometimes, Mrs. Williams explained, your passion is not always the most lucrative field, which is why she encourages people to have balance. 

“Make sure you balance it (your passion) with something that you can make a living. Pursue your passions and if you can’t make a career out of it make it your hobby.”

For example, outside of school, Mrs. Williams is a volunteer for the Department of Environmental Conservation as a hunter educator. She also loves the outdoors and thought about being a ranger or a naturalist. 

“That’s my hobby,” she said. “And I make sure to balance that with my career, which is also my passion.” 

“My advice would be to find something that you are passionate about and that you enjoy doing and do that. Find something that you love to do and that you do have some skill in and then do that. And don’t be afraid to step outside of the box.”