Minden Press-Herald

Sep 22nd

School’s out for Williams

DSC03960After 38 years of contributing to education in Webster Parish, W.W. "Butch" Williams is retiring.

Looking back at nearly four decades, Williams wonders where the time went.

"It doesn't seem like that long ago," Williams said. "It goes by so fast."

Williams said much of the reason behind his career in education has to do with his parents. "It (education) is all I ever wanted to do; maybe because my dad was a principal," he said. "I was always interested in football and other sports and always had an interest in science growing up."

Williams originally enrolled with a major in business at Louisiana Tech, but took his interest of sports and science with him to college.

"My momma told me, 'I'll support you in anything you do, unless you become a teacher,'" Williams said. At the time his mother worked as a school secretary. "Her thought was they didn't make very much (money) and she wanted me to do better than them."

However, Williams decided at the urging of his college science professor to use his love of science and sports in the field of education. Williams went on to graduate from Louisiana Tech. In 1970, he took a teaching and coaching position at Minden High and went back to the university for his master's degree in education.

"We would get through coaching at six at night; then I would drive over there (Ruston) to take a night class," Williams said. "It was tough but getting a plus 30 was very important."

Williams stayed at Minden High for five years and got out of education to run a sporting goods store – Minden Athletic Supply.

"I needed to put effort into the store," Williams said of his temporary leave from education. "There were some things at the time that disillusioned me about education."

Like many educators Williams reached a "burn out" period.

"I kind of got fed up," Williams said.

He worked for two years at the store before he ventured back into education.

"Jerry Lott, who was principal of Sibley High School at the time, came by the store and asked if I knew of any science teachers," Williams said. "I said 'yeah, me.'"

Williams stayed at Sibley High for two years as a science teacher then moved back to Minden High as assistant principal for six weeks.

Williams replaced Lott as principal of Sibley High and stayed in the position for 25 years. This position took him to Lakeside Jr/Sr High as principal and ultimately to the position of superintendent in 2003.

Some of Williams' most memorable moments include winning state championships, becoming a principal and seeing students succeed.

"When I first started coaching at Minden High, we won the state championship in baseball," Williams said. "That was a big moment for me.

"Just becoming a principal was a big moment," he continued. "I originally had no aspirations of becoming a principal. I watched my dad be a principal and saw what all it took to fill that role, but somehow I was led in that direction."

Williams said he was very proud to be involved in the many athletic and academic achievements at Sibley High.

"There were several state championships while I was at Sibley in baseball and basketball," Williams said. "I was really proud to be a part of that, but the highlight is definitely seeing the success of the students."

Williams said he is extremely proud to be able to contribute to education in Webster Parish.

"From doctors to nurses and teachers and vets and so many other achievements by the students, their success makes me so proud," he said.

Since Williams became superintendent, all parish schools have been remodeled or renovated.

"I think we have had eight bond or tax issues and all of them passed," Williams said. "We have either rebuilt or renovated every school in this parish. Some of the work will be finished up this summer."

The only exception is Cotton Valley, in which renovations were completed the year Williams became superintendent eight years ago.

Although Williams was diagnosed with cancer last year, he said his health has nothing to do with his retirement.

"I was leaving here every day at three o'clock for radiation ... still coming to work," Williams said. "If I was going to retire for health reasons, it would have been then."

Williams said he wasn't ready to retire then and in some ways is not ready now but feels it is time to leave the position. He still intends to work part-time and has been offered a job with a consulting firm.

Williams plans to spend time fishing, gardening, traveling and spending time with family, especially his four grandchildren.

"All the things you can't do when you have responsibilities," Williams said. "I haven't been able to do those things as much as I would like, and I am going to be able to do that now. Besides, I think I'll have more fun fishing and playing with the grandkids," he said.

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