Meet Mr. Maurice Williams | Early Childhood Resident | LEAP Academy
We would like to recognize Mr. Maurice Williams as KIPP DC June’s Staff Spotlight! He is an early childhood resident at KIPP DC LEAP Academy. Mr. Williams is a DMV native and obtained his bachelor’s degree in theater arts from Morgan State University. One of the reasons he joined KIPP DC is to introduce and stimulate the young minds through theater arts. We had the opportunity to sit down with him to gain more insight about his work in the education industry.
What led you to choose a path in education?
“I initially wanted to go into education after receiving my bachelor’s degree. Despite having a bachelors in theater arts, I wanted to get my master’s degree in teaching through the Teach For America program. Everything happens for a reason, with that being said – I didn’t get accepted into that program. However, with my determination – I did not give up. I continued to try to push myself more by taking more tests and building my resume and recommendation references. During this time, I had the opportunity to work outside of school, which included participatory theater, going into the communities and building a connection with theater arts, and creating stories. It was a lot of intergenerational work, which led me to get into the classrooms. I eventually did a residency at Kaiser Permanente with three schools in Prince George’s County and one in Baltimore. It was powerful, and that is what led me to education.”
What led you to want to work at KIPP DC?
“My godbrother is very seasoned at KIPP DC. He started as a history teacher, and now he is the vice principal at KCP. That trajectory in itself was aspiring to see. I told my godbrother how I wanted to teach, and he was familiar with my art and freelance work. He instructed me to complete the application and he will be my reference, that’s how I landed at KIPP DC.
It’s been a wonderful journey! I’ve always heard that luck is when opportunity meets preparation, and I know that it took a lot of preparation. In addition to the people I’ve met and positioning myself at the right time and place to be presented with this opportunity “
How have you grown during your residency at KIPP DC?
“I’ve grown exponentially in many different ways. One of the biggest ways is my emotional resilience and compassion for others. It’s a very hands-on job. Teachers are also caretakers, this philosophy is being recognized across the world. Therefore the things you say to students matter from the moment they come down the hallway to the moment they leave. I learned that I have the power to be the teacher I didn’t have.”
How do you establish a sense of belonging in your classroom?
“This is very important. Coming off my residency at Kaiser Permanente, one of my biggest takeaways was creating a sense of community. Here at KIPP DC, it is easier because the students look like me – which creates respect and empowerment. When I use visual content, I typically use people of color for my lesson. I do this so they can see themselves in the world because representation matters.”
What are some of your students’ favorite activities?
“They love play planning, but I think it’s because they love the alliteration of the word! It’s when they draw themselves in the place they would like to play. It helps them with their pre-reading skills and pre-writing skills. They also love recess and story labs, which allows me to wear my theater hat. I usually dive in and make it a production type of thing, not just reading the stories.”
What’s the funniest thing you’ve heard or seen from a student during your residency?
“There is a lot! Every day we are on our toes! Some students will think I don’t have a mother, a birthday, or I don’t hang out with our KIPP DC teachers! At this age, they don’t realize we’re human as well, it’s the funniest theory ever – literally cracks me up!
If you could take your students on a field trip anywhere, where would you take them?
“I know the zoo is typical. It’s the first thing that came to my mind because I love it! The circus is another fun one, it’s a great way to learn about animals and science. One, in particular, is UniverSoul Circus, which is a black-owned circus. The culture is mind blowing, and it’s more than just watching a show for me. It’s something that is not only engaging for the kids but also interactive. At their age, they have to participate to make what they’re learning sticks.”
KIPP DC is proud to recognize Mr. Maurice Williams as June’s Staff Spotlight. His dedication is extraordinary, and we look forward to his many positive contributions to the education of our students.