Betty Williams became an employee of Lufkin ISD because she wanted to be a good mom, and now she helps thousands of children each year as the administrative assistant at Lufkin Middle School. She was a supervisor at the Lufkin State Supported Living Center working 2 to 10 p.m. Her son, Marcus, needed help with his homework, and she felt her job at the state school was getting in the way of seeing her son and being there for him.
She said, “I was a supervisor in the boy’s dorm, and I loved it, but I always wanted to be in the school district. I went to Mr. Deason, and he said all he had available was a cafeteria monitor position for two days a week. I told him I would take it even though I didn’t know how I would make it.”
When asked how she did make it with a son at home to take care of and bills to pay, she points to the sky and said she had help from above.
She worked as a cafeteria monitor at Dunbar, which was the seventh grade school at the time, and then got a full-time position as an assistant in the content mastery lab and then attendance clerk. She was at Dunbar during the time of transition for all sixth, seventh, and eighth graders to attend Lufkin Middle School where she has been for the past 18 years.
She’s worked for four principals: Mr. Deason, Mrs. Evans, Mr. Gomez and now Mr. Whisenant. Her day begins at the middle school at 6:15 a.m. where the first thing she does is kneels down by her desk and prays. She clocks in and plays some gospel music down low to soothe her and get ready for the day. She’s in charge of getting substitutes arranged and making sure all classes are filled for the day. She usually brings leftovers to eat for lunch like collard greens, mac & cheese and chicken. Mrs. Williams loves to cook. Cooking reminds her of time being spent with her family.
She said, “Family are valuable people. You’ve got to spend time with them.”
Lufkin is home for her, and she enjoyed spending time with her family over the holidays at the family homestead at Kelty’s. She is the middle child of two sisters. She has fond memories of the homestead.
She said, “Growing up during that time, we made up games. We never were inside. We played marbles, jacks, and always played track racing around the yard. We never bought anything.”
Mrs. Williams is a 1977 graduate of Lufkin High School. She enjoyed playing basketball and ran track in high school. She ran relay and the 100-yard dash. Although she doesn’t run the dash anymore, she enjoys playing volleyball with her family and especially her grandchildren. She has six grandchildren who lovingly call her “Granny Betty” except the baby calls her “BB”.
Mrs. Williams attributes her success to a couple of her favorite teachers. First grade teacher, Mrs. Engram and second grade teacher Mrs. Truell Smith.
“They made a great difference in my life,” she said.
“Mrs. Engram would keep me in from recess to help me learn. I was the teacher’s pet and got to erase the boards. They cared, and it meant a whole lot,” she said.
With all of the new changes coming at the middle school, Mrs. Williams is ready for the transition to a new building.
She said, “I think it will make a very important difference with the kids. They learn more in a better environment.”
Her favorite thing to do at work is help students and teachers by being there for them. She’s excited to see children smile.
“You have to develop relationships with them,” she said.
Some of her favorite pastimes outside of work include reading action books, listening to soft, pleasant music and traveling. Her husband works in landscaping, and Mrs. Williams loves being outside to help.
Although Mrs. Williams’ original intent for working in the district involved having more time for her son, now she gets to watch her grandchildren come through the middle school. Altogether, Mrs. Williams has been with the district for 27 years helping her family, and especially her Lufkin Middle School family.
Thank you, Mrs. Williams, for mentoring, nurturing, and loving our middle school students.