|Stephanie Tevis, left, and Anita Williams|
Stephanie Tevis did indeed accomplish something more. She will be marching at UC’s Commencement this December, after earning her bachelor’s degree in dietetics from the College of Allied Health Sciences. The 26-year-old graduate from Forest Park will also be paying special tribute at the ceremony to her former middle school and high school English teacher, Anita Williams.
Williams, a retired, 33-year veteran of teaching, is one of four educators from around the Tristate who will be honored with the Cincinnati USA Outstanding Educator Award. The awards will be presented at UC’s Commencement Ceremony, which begins at 9 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 10, in Fifth Third Arena at Shoemaker Center.
Williams was selected from 23 nominations by soon-to-graduate UC students who wanted to honor a K-12 educator who inspired them on their pathway to a college degree. The nominations were reviewed by a UC committee that included representation from the Office of the President, UC faculty, staff and students.
“She was one of my very first teachers to show a balance of strength and compassion,” Tevis says. “Basically, she was the person who made me feel like I was able to accomplish an education beyond high school.
|Stephanie Tevis is graduating from UC in December.|
“At the time that I was blessed to come in contact with Mrs. Williams, I had good grades and I was a pretty good student. But for the most part, I was a shy, introverted girl. The thought of furthering my education and striving to become something better had never crossed my mind,” Tevis says.
Tevis says she was inspired to continue her education after hearing Mrs. Williams’ stories of perseverance as she broke racial barriers through her career in teaching. Tevis says that by achieving her college degree in dietetics, she is also hoping to serve others, “return the favor, and make her proud.”
“Everyone knows that when you’re a teacher, you’re not going to get rich, but you’re going to get joy for reaching somebody, and that’s as good as gold,” says Williams, who adds that she went on to become 9th grade principal of Winton Woods High School after teaching Tevis through middle school. She later became Tevis’ high school principal and retired as the district’s curriculum director.
Williams says a talented teacher holds qualities beyond instinct and skill – that it’s “something you do because it’s in your heart.”
She adds that “there are no words” to describe the joy of receiving the Cincinnati USA Outstanding Educator Award.
Although she is now retired from the Winton Woods City School District, Williams has not ended her ties with education. She is currently pursuing her PhD in urban educational leadership in UC’s College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services (CECH). She entered the program in 2010.
Williams previously earned two master’s degrees as well as her superintendent’s licensure from UC.
This December marks the seventh year that UC has presented the Cincinnati USA Outstanding Educator Awards to recognize the lifelong inspiration of K-12 educators.