Clark Middle School Principal Cessilye Williams Named the Alaska Secondary School Principal of the Year
CBPP congratulates Cessilye Williams, principal of Clark Middle School in Anchorage, for being named the Alaska Secondary School Principal of the Year by the Alaska Association of Secondary School Principals. Principal Williams has served as a principal for fifteen years, thirteen of which have been at Clark Middle School.
The CBPP Leadership Fellows Juniors Program is an example of how Principal Williams goes the extra mile to encourage and support the growth and development of her students. She worked closely with CBPP Professor Terry Nelson to develop and support the Leadership Fellows Juniors Program, which involved seventeen Clark Middle School eighth graders. The students were mentored by CBPP faculty, UAA staff and the CBPP Leadership Fellows. The Leadership Fellows Juniors attended six 2-hour leadership building skill classes and completed a community engagement project during the spring 2015 semester.
According to Principal Williams, Clark Middle School is in one of Anchorage's most culturally diverse neighborhoods. Clark Middle School has the highest number of minority students, special education students, and the highest number of student achievers. As Alaska's Principal of the year Principal Williams is also a nominee for the National Association of Secondary School Principals National Principal of the Year which will be announced in the fall.
Dr. Terry Nelson Invited to Speak at Clark Middle School
Dr. Terry Nelson of the UAA College of Business and Public Policy participated in Clark Middle School’s University Week Celebration on November 19th. Speakers were asked to tell students in the 6th through 8th grades about their background and how they felt in middle school about college. Dr. Nelson also emphasized the importance of completing high school and making good academic and personal choices throughout middle school, high school and college.
Since Dr. Nelson’s teaching focus is leadership, she asked the students the following question that was posed by one of the students in her recent undergraduate organizational behavior class - How many of you are completely confident in calling yourself a leader? This question opened the dialogue for students to discuss leadership traits and recognize these characteristics and actions in themselves. “The students exhibited a good depth of knowledge about leadership. I could tell that Clark Middle School’s staff is doing a great job of cultivating leadership qualities in their students.” This parallels Dr. Nelson’s belief that cultivating leadership qualities must begin at a young age and continue throughout a student’s academic career.
CBPP’s Leadership Fellows Program Grows Younger
One would think that academic programs would not be able to grow younger. But not in this case. The well-recognized and successful College of Business and Public Policy (CBPP) Leadership Fellows Program has partnered with Clark Middle School to grow fledgling leaders in Anchorage and Alaska.
On Saturday, January 24th at Clark Middle School, Dean Prasad and Chancellor Case kicked off the Leadership Fellows Junior Program. Over 50 people attended the event co-hosted by Clark Middle School’s Principal Cessilye Williams and CBPP’s Assistant Professor of Leadership, Dr. Terry A. Nelson. In addition to the excited and smiling Junior Fellows, parents, supporters from the Mountain View community, University of Alaska Anchorage, Clark Middle School, and Anchorage School District were in attendance.
Similar to its college-level Leadership Fellows program, the Leadership Fellows Junior program focuses on helping adolescent students improve their leadership skills. The 16 eighth-grade students were selected by Clark Middle School staff via a rigorous process, involving a comprehensive application with both academic and extracurricular components. Over the next few months, the chosen Fellows will attend six leadership development classes that emphasize negotiations, ethics, public speaking, leadership qualities, etiquette, and tips for a successful college experience. Additionally, the students will complete a community engagement project. The students will be mentored by CBPP faculty, UAA staff, and the Leadership Fellows (UAA undergraduate and graduate students). The Leadership Fellows Juniors will graduate from the program on April 3rd alongside their UAA counterparts.
Dr. Terry Nelson was awarded a faculty minigrant from the Center for Community Engagement & Learning to help establish the program. Principal Williams provided additional funding to support the program.
CBPP Leadership Fellows Juniors Build Their Public Speaking Skill with a Little Help
CBPP’s Leadership Fellows Juniors competitively and eloquently demonstrated their public speaking skills to a panel of six judges on March 7th. The idea for the event stemmed from a conversation Clark Middle School’s Principal Williams had with CBPP’s Faculty Director of the Leadership Fellows Program, Dr. Terry Nelson, during the development of the junior program. The program consists of sixteen Clark Middle School 8th graders and is the junior counterpart to CBPP’s Leadership Fellows program which consists of 10 MBA and 5 undergraduate students.
In addition to the CBPP Fellows, the Junior Fellows were mentored on public speaking by UAA students and alumni and community members. After a 20-minute tutorial on public speaking conducted by Dr. Kori Callison, the juniors randomly selected a topic to present. Topics covered a broad range of leadership themes such as obstacles, integrity, community, challenges, etc. The juniors along with guidance from their mentors had approximately 15 minutes to prepare a 2 – 3 minute speech which was delivered on stage at Clark Middle School’s auditorium.
The juniors displayed their amazing ability to articulate a subject on short notice. After much deliberations, the judges announced the winners: 1st place – Julian Rivera-Brown/mentor: Robert “Beau” Bassett, 2nd – Nuulau Alaela /mentor: Nick Morrill, and 3rd - Chai Chai Xiong/mentor: Sarah Henry. All students were awarded a small prize for their participation.
Many thanks to our judges: Jay Blury – VP, Marketing and Communications Director at Northrim Bank, Marva Watson – Director, UAA Office of Campus Diversity and Compliance, Margo Bellamy - Executive Director, Compliance/EEO at Anchorage School District, Jeri Rubin – Professor of Marketing, UAA College of Business and Public Policy, Brian J. Franklin – CEO, Frontier Tutoring, and Judith Owens-Manley – Director, UAA Center for Community Engagement & Learning.
Special thanks to Jazmine Williams – UAA MSHEd, Admin. Asst. UAA Office of Campus Diversity and Compliance, Robert C. Beau Basset – Director, Friends of Alaska PYLI, Jacob Shercliffe – UAA Student & Member of the Seawolf Debate Team, Leo Medal – UAA Multicultural Center Student Success Coordinator, Stephanie White Thorne, Esq., CBPP Associate Dean Lynn Koshiyama, and CBPP Leadership Fellows.