Avis Williams cropped 4

Avis Williams. 

As we look toward the end of this unprecedented year, I want to share something with you all. This year has been personally hard for me in ways that are hard to express. As the leader of our school district, the professional challenges have been clear and not really unique as school districts across the nation grappled with educating our scholars during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Like you, I have been personally impacted and the last nine months have not been easy. Today, I want to encourage you to not be a hero. I have made that mistake all too many times. Yes, Wonder Woman is my Super Friend of choice and I invoke her regularly. Yet during this pandemic, I have come to recognize the fact that I am only human.

The decisions that needed to be made since mid-March were certainly part of the challenge. Knowing that I will never please everyone, my team and I sought expert advice and attempted to be inclusive and transparent. Needless to say, criticism did not take a break during the pandemic.

I am human and I felt every bit of the pushback and negative rhetoric. It’s all good because everyone has a right to express their opinions and as previously stated, we will never please everyone. Yet, be assured, it takes its toll.

During my personal journey, I have been intentional about supporting my team and sometimes that has caused me to not take care of myself. Although I consistently encourage self-care, taking my own advice has not been easy for me. Putting others before yourself is an expectation of leaders and I certainly believe in doing so. Which is why I now find myself stressed, anxious and exhausted.

Many of you know that I am a runner. That has been my refuge through much of the last few months. What you may not know is that I had an accident earlier this year, broke my elbow and required two surgeries between May and July. Those months of physical therapy were tough and isolating. Now, fully recovered, I can once again cherish my runs. They help me cope. They give me energy. They improve my journey.

My message here is simple. We are all experiencing this pandemic. It has impacted us differently as some have had to battle the virus themselves and many have had family members to do the same and not always with a full recovery. I want to encourage each of you to explore and own your personal journey. In previous writings, I have stated that it is OK not to be OK and that there is no right way to feel during this time. These statements hold true.

During this holiday season, please embrace and share your personal journey. Writing this and owning my challenges during this time are therapeutic for me. I am human. Own and share your personal journey and please check out Team Selma’s social media sites. We are Doing Our Part Everyday. Yes, being DOPE to slow the spread of COVID-19. We are doing our part. Are you?

This is my last entry for 2020. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Take good care and stay safe!

Avis Williams is superintendent for Selma City Schools. For more information, reach her at avis.williams@selmacityschools.org.

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