Teacher of the Year 2023-2024

We are proud to announce Mrs. Leanne Williams as the 2023-24 ACHS Teacher of the Year. She is a phenomenal role model for her students, a great mentor to younger teachers, a great friend to her coworkers, a wonderful mother and husband, and a genuinely great person. She embodies  what it means to be an excellent teacher. We are so grateful that she is impacting lives here at Alcorn Central High School.

Mrs. Willams is a 31 year veteran teacher having been at ACHS for  past 20 years. She is a New York native who moved to Florida to complete her schooling. She graduated from Stetson University with a Bachelors degree in Spanish and a Masters of Education. She began her teaching career in 1992 after moving back to New York. After her first year in the classroom, she headed south again and spent the next seven years in Florida. Her journey towards North Mississippi was assisted with the meeting of her husband Frank. Before she landed at Alcorn Central, she taught in Humboldt and Gibson County, TN for three years. She joined our team in 2003 and has been loving every minute. 

Leanne has always had a passion for learning. As a child, she spent countless hours in the library. She often wrote puppet shows or dressed up in costume and put on skits featuring her favorite characters. She entered school reading contests just so she could win more books. The gifted program offered opportunities to take special classes, and thus began her Spanish career in the fourth grade. In middle and high school, Leanne participated with Odyssey of the Mind, took special seminars at Colgate University, and attended county and high school choral and band festivals. She took advantage of any extra learning activities that her school promoted. She loved learning not for the external rewards it would bring her, but simply because there were new things to be discovered and experienced.

It was no surprise to her family that Leanne would choose a career in education, and her fields of study were particularly influenced by the examples of her elementary music teacher, who introduced her to the world of music theatre, and her high school Spanish teacher who introduced her to a world beyond her hometown. Both teachers had a passion for what they were teaching and a zest for life in general. In their classrooms, she was encouraged to take risks and challenged to ask questions and dig deeper. Her favorite days in Spanish class were those when her teacher shared slides of her trips to other countries, or when she prepared food or art projects. In music class students would sing, clap, and dance, not for a performance, but for pure enjoyment.

Leanne’s love for learning and the examples of her teachers influenced her personal philosophy of education today- process over product. She tells her students all the time, “We don’t come to school to get work done. We come to school to learn.” For Leanne, learning is not about filling out a worksheet, or answering all the questions right on a test. Learning is asking questions, creating something new out of acquired skills, learning something about ourselves, discovering why something doesn’t turn out as expected, and letting our learning lead us down a further path of discovery.

Leanne says her greatest accomplishment in her career is in the development of theatre programs at several schools. At Alcorn Central, she created the first drama club in 2003. It began as an after-school activity with no budget and a few shelves of costumes and props that she provided from her own collection. The Central Stage is now a part of the daily curriculum, has an audio and lighting system, multiple costume closets and even a small scene shop. All the work is provided by the students, their family members, and volunteers from the community. They produce a couple of shows each year, and Leanne has students who are now working in the theatre as a career field.

Leanne’s work in the community demonstrates her passion for theatre, as well as her skills in foreign language. She has participated in over fifteen productions in community theaters in three states, as an actress, director, or music director. She has led the choir and children’s programs at the churches where her husband has served as pastor, and she has served as a speaker or worship leader for Christian women’s conferences in multiple states. In Humboldt, Leanne has taught adult classes in Spanish for the Wilson golf ball company and she currently serves the Alcorn Central schools as an interpreter for their Spanish speaking families.