By: Kristina Mertz
Mrs. Williams is a prominent educator, leader, and role model here at PHS who changes lives daily. Simon Karsky, a junior, states “As a teacher, she continues to remind me of the work that needs to be done and the fact that I need to study more. She continues to post notes in Classroom that I can use as resources later.” She has been teaching here for 21 years, and has always been a Social Studies teacher. Her first year here she taught Geography and then World History along with Honors courses. She then eventually moved into teaching US History, and this is currently her fourth year here teaching AP.
She attended and graduated from UTSA and did her basics at Palo Alto, where she received her masters degree in history. “I started college right after I graduated but, then life got in the way… We moved out of state and then stuff happened, so I didn’t really go back to college until after I was married and had two children… That was a big challenge, you know having to juggle family and work and going back to school, so I started teaching a little later than most people.”
Mrs. Williams has always known from a young age that she wanted to be a teacher, “When I was in the 8th grade I had an American History teacher who was fabulous. That was also the year we did a trip to Washington DC for the first time… I fell in love with it, it is actually one of my most favorite places to visit… I don’t even know how many times I’ve been, but I love it… that experience just kind of cemented it.. That’s all I’ve ever wanted to do was teach history.”
“I love PHS, in fact I’m a graduate from PHS… I left a 6A school in San Antonio my senior year to come to school here.. it was even smaller here, there wasn’t AC, you had to have the window units and it was like old school Pleasanton… the cafeteria was the auditorium and the art rooms, that was the cafeteria. You know so crazy it was so different… no science wing the science wing was in the 400 hallway…I met Mr. Brown, he was the principle at the time… he personally took myself and my younger brother around and showed us the school, we got to sit in classes and I loved it, I loved the atmosphere, I loved the personal feeling you got with the teachers and administration.”
While teaching here she has been involved in many activities “I am the UIL coordinator which means I oversee all of the UIL academic events. I schedule us going to different events, meets and competitions. I help Ms. Rodriguez with getting One Act Play organized. In light of COVID, we don’t have much going on right now. For about 8 years I was the pacesetter director… before me, it was Ms. Olivarri and she was stepping down, so the assistant principal talked to me and then I accepted and took over. I had them for about 8 years so my daughter grew up with the pacesetters as well.”
One of her biggest pieces of advice is “When you’re in high school and there’s so much else going on, what your doing here maybe doesn’t seem that important, but truly the lessons and the skills that you learn here in high school: the time management, your relationship building skills, all of those things are so, so important whenever you move out of the high school arena… For those people who are going off to college, being able to be independent, being able to manage your time, being able to know that you have something to study and how to study for it, are skills that are gonna be so important. Even those people that aren’t gonna go to college or do other things, go straight into the business world, go to a tech school, having those skills that you learn here in high school, they’re gonna serve you well outside of high school.”
Mrs. Williams will always be remembered for the endless amount of dedication and effort she has put into students and PHS as a whole. Thank you Mrs. Williams for all that you do!