It is an honor to receive the Presidential Award. The award has connected me to a network of high-achieving educators in Wyoming while also opening doors to influence curriculum and best practices for students. I hope to connect with teachers nationally to network about best practices in the teaching of mathematics and bring those home. The award has increased my confidence in my ability to prepare my students in STEM fields and help mentor teachers in their own growth in mathematics.

Willis Williams Cheyenne, WY | K-6, Mathematics, 2020

The official biography below was current at the time of the award.

Willis “Craig” Williams has taught for 28 years, most recently with seven years in fourth grade at Buffalo Ridge Elementary School in Cheyenne, WY. Craig previously taught for 18 years at Carpenter Elementary School in Carpenter, WY, and for three years at Overland Elementary School in Rock Springs, WY. He is now the principal at Afflerbach Elementary School in Cheyenne. Craig has taught third through sixth grades, served as an instructional coach, reading interventionist, and Title One teacher. He has also served as a District Mentor Teacher and Head Teacher. After struggling to understand mathematics as a student, Craig has a passion to help all students become successful mathematicians. Craig uses a conceptual and hands-on approach in his teaching to ensure all students understand the concept behind the mathematics, not just the algorithm to complete the problem. Craig is proud to be a founding member and chairman of the advisory board of the Wyoming Afterschool Alliance. This organization provides professional development and advocacy for high-quality afterschool programming for all students. The alliance has provided many STEM activities and NASA programming for students. The alliance is currently leading the Million Girl Moonshot Initiative in Wyoming. Craig has also been a District Teacher of the Year and a National Education Foundation Teacher of Excellence Awardee. Craig holds a B.A in elementary education from the University of Wyoming; an M.S. in curriculum, instruction, and assessment from Walden University; and an M.Ed. in administration from Chadron State College. He is certified in elementary education, elementary administration, and middle level education. Craig is also a National Board Certified Teacher in early and middle childhood literacy.

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