Christina School District secretary named Delaware Support Professional

Delaware News Desk
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Alice Williams, a senior administrative secretary from Christina School District’s Jennie E. Smith Elementary School, was named the state’s first Delaware Educational Support Professional of the Year.

Secretary of Education Susan Bunting surprised Williams with the award at her school. Williams, who has 24 years of experience including eight with the state, originally planned to become a teacher. Instead, she found herself working as a secretary.

“It was here that I learned to look past the first impressions of each family and to attempt to remove the obstacles that prevent student success,” Williams said.

“I have witnessed hidden and overt criticism of parents when students are unprepared for school or when the adults appear unsupportive,” Williams said. “I quickly learned that hygiene issues can be the result of transient living situations, unavailable washers or dryers or nonworking utilities. Parents or guardians may not be able to produce the necessary documents to register their child for school because they’re behind in paying the utility bills that are required to verify the address or have utilities in the name of another person due to past balance. A parent who uses public transportation will take hours to come pick up a sick child or may have to walk if they don’t have bus fare. My experience has helped me recognize the balancing act that parents have between their job and family responsibilities. Sending a parent away and asking them to come back to school with the required documents can force a choice between keeping their job or not registering their child for school.”

Williams is one of 20 educational support professionals honored this year. Each was chosen to represent their districts or the Delaware Charter School Network in the state's first Delaware Educational Support Professional of the Year Program.

Launching this year, the Delaware State Educational Support Professional of the Year program recognizes outstanding service by school employees who provide direct or indirect services to students and their families. The Delaware Charter School Network also is invited to participate. Employees considered for the award include: paraprofessionals, custodial staff, secretaries, nutritional staff, school- and district-employed bus drivers and aides.

From those nominated at a building level, one educational support professional of the year moves forward to represent each district or the charter school community in the state program. Each district/charter network winner receives a $1,000 personal award from the winner’s district or charter school. The state program then chooses one person annually to serve as Delaware's Educational Support Professional of the Year. State winners receive an additional $1,500 personal award from DDOE as well as $2,500 to be used for the educational benefit of his or her students.

A selection committee reviewed the local winners' state applications to select the 2021 Delaware Educational Support Professional of the Year. 

For program information, visit doe.k12.de.us/Page/4330.