Although she has lived elsewhere for much of her life, DeKalb County is the place Carol Williams and her husband Don have called home now for about fifteen years.
For the past seventeen years, Williams has been a special education Algebra teacher at DeKalb County High School, a position she will be giving up at the close of the school year when she retires.
Williams, who has family ties in DeKalb County, lived here for a while herself as a child. "I am related to the Trapp family. All of my mother's family graduated from high school here," said Williams. " I went to first grade here at College Street Elementary. We lived here when I was sixteen months old until the end of my first grade year. My father was Chief of Flight Service at the airport when the Civil Aeronautics Administration, which is now the Federal Aviation Agency, was in the airport here over on Smith Road. They later closed this CAA down and moved it to Crossville, so we moved to Crossville and from second grade to high school I finished at Cumberland County High School," said Williams.
Williams said she knew early in life that she wanted to become a teacher, having been inspired by family members who were educators. "My goal in life was to be a teacher because my great aunt, Lillie Trapp Spencer, taught here for many years. An aunt and an uncle also taught here for a period of time until their job moved them elsewhere," she said.
When she took the job at DCHS in 1995, Williams taught both special education English and Math. "We split English and Math but as standards changed, it was hard to prepare lessons for two subjects. I've been teaching Algebra alone for four or five years," said Williams.
As a special education teacher, Williams has helped students master a subject that often poses challenges. " I love seeing the students start believing in themselves. They come in here thinking that they can't do the Algebra because its such a scary word. But over time that I have them in class, they begin to develop more self confidence and a majority of the time, they pass the tests and they feel better about themselves. I think its more than just educating math. Its also trying to build self esteem and knowing that, even though they do have some disabilities, how minor they may be, they have learned that they can be better than what they think they can," she said.
Williams and her husband Don, who is from Livingston, had lived in Cookeville for some twenty years before moving to DeKalb County, looking for a good place to retire. "Our plan was to retire. We had lived in Cookeville and our plan was to retire to DeKalb County. My husband worked for the state and got to know the people at the courthouse and he really liked the community too. That's why we moved here. It's a good place to retire and has great memories for me," said Williams.
Williams plans to stay busy, even in retirement. Her immediate plans are to help Judy Fuson and Ria Baker do some research for another DeKalb County history book. "I plan on spending more time with my husband who has been retired for twelve years. I plan to work with Judy Fuson and Ria Baker and another lady on trying to find the displaced people from Center Hill Lake. It's a new book that we will be working on, trying to find all the properties and families of the people who lived on Center Hill Lake, where they moved, where the cemeteries moved. We'll be looking for any pictures we can find and any type of memorabilia that has been handed down through the years as to what happened on the river and how their families adjusted to moving off the river. So that will take quite a bit of time. Plus, I enjoy bird watching. I have been doing the DeKalb County Christmas bird count for quite a number of years. I am going to be busy I'm sure," said Williams.