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Teacher of the Week: Marsha Williams

By Megan Mazurek Photojournalist: Rick Rysso - 2:08 PM January 9, 2017

Marsha Williams has always been a music person. She says there’s something about it that brings people together.

“Anything we can do together to build community through music is my passion,” said Williams.

She began teaching music at Williwaw Elementary after spending most of her career in special education. When a position opened up at the east Anchorage elementary school, Williams immediately applied.

“This was really the only place I wanted to be,” Williams said. “I have a passion for multi-cultural education and diversity”

One of the benefits of working with students from different backgrounds and ethnicities, according to her, is that rhythm and pitch come naturally to them.

“All the elements we teach in music, these students bring with them from all their different many cultures,” she added.

Over the years, Mrs. Williams has learned to play around 15 instruments and has taught over 1,000 students; each one feeling like family, she says.

“They know I love them, they know I care,” Williams said. “Sometimes I share stories about my life some tough beginnings but always making a connection with those teachers. When I was growing up, school was my safe place, and this is their safe place.”

The benefits of music can reach far beyond the walls of the classroom and Williams strives to include those within her lessons, helping students find their voice through the sounds of song.

“Music is a safe and caring place to learn,” Williams said. “They will carry that with them. I’m hoping these seeds that we plant here, that we nurture, that we water, they will carry into their adult lives.”

Know a teacher making a difference in students’ lives? Nominate them for Teacher of the Week.

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