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Williams Receives 2018 Great Teacher Award

HUDSON, NC (May 4, 2018)…Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute has named English Instructor Matthew Williams its 2018 Great Teacher Award winner.

The Great Teacher Award, an honor given annually to an instructor at CCC&TI, was named for the National Great Teachers Seminar.  The award recognizes excellent service among the college’s faculty. Each year, faculty members, current students or former students make nominations and a committee, chaired by the previous year’s Great Teacher, selects a winner.

Williams is originally from High Point, N.C. and earned his Bachelors and Masters degrees in English at Appalachian State University. Williams worked as a graduate assistant at ASU teaching freshman English classes and it was then that he discovered a love for teaching on the college level.  “I loved working with college students and knew pretty quickly that I wanted to spend the rest of my career doing so,” said Williams.

It was also during his time as a graduate assistant that Williams first heard about Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute from a friend.  “I had a friend in grad school, Joni Hoke, who finished her degree a year before I did, and she found work as an adjunct instructor at Caldwell. She knew I wanted to teach at the community college level, “ said Williams. “She told me about everything she did in her classes and what it was like to work at CCC&TI. She was so positive about it and encouraged me to apply for an adjunct position.” A year later, Williams was hired to teach developmental reading on the college’s Watauga Campus and was soon made a full-time English Instructor.

Williams says that, for him, the interaction and involvement with students are the most rewarding aspects of being an educator. “It’s a humbling thing to be a stop on folks’ road to success. Coming to college is a big, scary thing. I believe seeing a friendly face the first time one sets foot on a college campus can change lives,” said Williams. “I teach classes students take near the beginning of their journey. I hope what they learn in my classes gives them a leg up later, and I think part of what we do in those early classes is that we make clear college is doable. It’s hard, and it’s going to be a lot of work, but it can be done.”

Williams also says that hearing about his students’ successes once they’ve moved on can also be an inspiration and motivation for him as a teacher. “I feel so proud every time that I hear one of my students has gone on to success in their career or at the university level,” said Williams. “Occasionally, I’ll run into former students and they’ll talk about the struggles they went through to keep their lives afloat while in school, and then they’ll say how glad they were that they kept on and didn’t give up. If I can be some small encouragement to folks on that journey, I just feel so blessed.”

Williams, who resides in Hudson with his wife, Jenny, and their children Abraham (17) and Abbie (15), is known to his students not only as a great teacher, but also as the local authority on animation and film. He can often be seen wearing ties that feature popular cartoon characters and has an office full of memorabilia from popular cartoon and movie classics.

Williams is also a good sport. In addition to the recognition he’s received over the years from students and colleagues, he’s also received several pies to the face, been pelted with a barrage of fruit drink-filled balloons and has been duct taped to a chair along with the college president while reading a children’s story about a llama to a crowd of students and fellow employees. Williams’ students know him to be both a great teacher and an enthusiastic supporter of just about every cause taken up by the students throughout his tenure. He’s always willing to participate in student and club activities that benefit charities and local nonprofits, and always does it with a smile.

In his spare time, Williams is involved with his church and enjoys spending time with his family.  He hopes to have a long, rewarding career at CCC&TI. He has a few other plans, as well. “I’m hoping that by the time I die that I will have enough clout at CCC&TI that they wall my remains within my office by the music room amongst my mementoes and cartoon memorabilia,” said Williams with a grin. “I really do feel like I have a second family at the college. We’ve shared joys and hardships with each other. This is a good place with good people. I am so grateful to be here. “

CCC&TI congratulates Matthew Williams, the 2018 Great Teacher Award winner.