5 Questions with Tresa (Deanna) Hart-Williams: Finding ways to reach all children

chwilliams@ledger-enquirer.comJanuary 19, 2014 

ROBIN TRIMARCHI/rtrimarchi@ledger-enquirer.comTresa Hart-Williams, director of the CCSC Inc. Tutorial Program, sits with third-grade students at the Lonnie Jackson Academy. Hart-Williams, now retired, taught for nearly 30 years in Stewart and Muscogee counties. From left are Javier Ferguson, Mason Robinson, Hart-Williams, Colby Allen, Armani Mays and Jalasiah Jones.

ROBIN TRIMARCHI — rtrimarchi@ledger-enquirer.com Buy Photo

What has being an educator for 30 years taught you?

Being an educator for 30 years has taught me that there are many ways to reach students of all ages. Just as individuals who are being taught have specific needs based on their abilities, interests and goals, teachers are individuals who have their own unique approaches to meeting those needs.

Teachers have to be prepared every day, all day long. They have to be observant, assessing where each student is; whether they are grasping the material being taught; whether something has happened inside or outside of the school environment that might be affecting the student's performance that day; whether the material that is being presented is at the correct level for each individual student or if further explanation or other materials are required; or even if there are students who are bored because they have already mastered the information being presented. Teachers have to be empathetic. They have to be flexible and willing to go the extra mile because it is in the best interest of each child. They have to be committed to helping every student to be the best that they can be.

You are in charge of the CCSC tutorial program. What is it and what does the organization do?

CCSC Inc. -- formerly the Combined Communities of Southeast Columbus -- was founded by the late Sgt. Lonnie Jackson in 1981. We are a community-based nonprofit organization. The goal of the CCSC Inc. tutorial programs is to assist students in the Muscogee County School District to improve their basic academic skills, with an emphasis on reading and math. We have been tutoring at-risk and other youths for 32 years. We are all volunteers, both our staff and the tutors. Volunteers include active and retired principals and teachers, paraprofessionals and other school staff, fraternities and sororities, college graduates, college students (from Columbus State University, Troy State, Chattahoochee Valley Community College, Columbus Technical College and community colleges), high school and middle school students (Columbus High is always awesome), members of the business community, military personnel and wives, parents and other members of the community.

We operate on Saturdays for most of the school year from 10 a.m. to noon. During the summer we tutor between 125 and 250 students for a four-week program that operates Monday through Friday for two hours daily. There is no fee for participants. Parental involvement is encouraged.

You deal with volunteers. How can someone volunteer with the organization?

Individuals who wish to volunteer can contact me, Tresa Hart-Williams, at 706-315-8847 or Lonya Jackson-Sarden (CCSC Inc. executive director) at 706-315-9844. Our email is CCSC270@aol.com and we also have a link on the United Way website. They can also come to Lonnie Jackson Academy/Rothschild Leadership Academy on Buena Vista Road and Hunt Avenue on Saturdays between 10 a.m. and noon during the school year. We meet in the cafeterias.

How have the educational needs of children changed over the years?

More is required of students than ever before. With advancements in technology and the increased need for higher level thinkers, our children have to keep pace so that they will be successful in the business world and survivors in their daily lives. There are many distractions that cause many children to lose focus. They have the energy. We need to help them to channel that energy in more productive ways. Many have either not developed short-term and long-term career or job goals or have dreams that they may or may not have realized. There are so many alternatives that children can pursue, but we need to make them aware of the possibilities, prepare them and be there to support them. And once they are ready to enter the workforce, we need to open the door and give them a chance to show what they can do.

What is the best-kept secret in the Chattahoochee Valley?

In addition to tutoring, CCSC Inc. also conducts cleanup drives in the community during the months of January and February (MLK Pride Months Cleanup Drives), co-sponsors Veterans Day Celebrations and Memorial Day Observances at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park on Lawyers Lane and Buena Vista Road (with the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park Committee and Unity with Pam), and encourages multi-cultural diversity through interaction within the tri-community area.

VITAL STATS

Name: Tresa (Deanna) Hart-Williams

Age: 57

Job: Retired teacher and CCSC Inc. Tutorial "Principal" (volunteer), CCSC Inc. chairwoman

Hometown: Born in Denver

Current home: Moved to Columbus in 1964

Family: Daughter of Rexell Hart Sr. and Virginia (Doctor) Hart (both deceased); granddaughter of Robert (Foster) Doctor Sr. and Blanche (Williams) Doctor (both deceased); married to Charles Williams for 22 years; two sisters, Tangelyn (Hart) Voss and Shereen Renee (Hart) Greene; one brother, Rexell Hart Jr.; one stepdaughter; and three grandchildren.

Education: Bachelor's of arts and bachelor's of science in education; master's in education, all from Columbus State University.

Favorite book: I have read hundreds of books. No particular favorite.

Favorite movie: I have watched countless movies. No particular favorite.

Favorite restaurant: Varies. I eat a lot at Ryan's, but I have recently eaten a roast beef sandwich with au jus at Jason's Deli and loved it, along with the chicken noodle soup.

Favorite quote: "I can be anything I want to be if I put my mind to it!" -- Lonnie Jackson

Best concert attended: New Edition

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