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Anchorage Community Celebrates the Career of Clark Middle School Principal Cessilye Williams

Cessilye Williams retirement

Celeste Hodge Growden, President/CEO Alaska Black Caucus, Forrest Dunbar, Anchorage Assembly Member District 5 – East Anchorage, Cessilye Williams, Clark Middle School Principal, and Margo Bellamy, Anchorage School Board President pose for a photo during Principal Clark's retirement celebration
on June 18 at Clark Middle School.

This month the community celebrated the retirement of Clark Middle School Principal Cessilye R. Williams, M Ed.,

Williams dedicated nearly 40 years to education, specifically to middle-school-aged children. 

The celebration took place on June 18 at Clark Middle School.

Anchorage School Board President Margo Bellamy said Williams is an innovator in secondary education.

“Cessilye lives and breathes for her students,” said Bellamy.  “Before she became a middle school principal, she was an amazing middle school counselor!  In both capacities, she was a unapologetic champion for students and provided the environment for excellence in personal development and learning.”

Williams started her career as a teacher in Abilene, Texas in 1983 before bringing her teaching skills to Alaska in 1985, as a middle school teacher at North Pole Middle School. She joined the Anchorage School District in 1991 as a counselor at Aurora Elementary School, then a counselor at Wendler Middle School. She became an assistant principal at Hanshew Middle School in 2001 before joining Clark Middle School as principal in 2003, where she would spend the final 19 years of her career.

Bellamy said she had the privilege of hiring Cessilye as a counselor at Wendler Middle School. “We worked together for about eight years, then I convinced her she needed to become a principal, Bellamy said. “It was one of the best recommendations I ever made.”

Throughout her profession, Williams maintained a commitment to professional development and built upon her leadership skills.

“Cessilye has demonstrated strength of character and expertise as an educator and as a leader, “ said ASD Middle School Director Joe Zawodny.  “These qualities have ensured that her students were provided a strong academic program with individual needs and interests in mind.  Her staff have benefited from clear, relevant guidance and a superior support program in order to evolve with the changing educational landscape.  Her community has been welcomed into the school to celebrate student success and grow in their connection to one another.

Zawodny went on to say that to highlight any one achievement over the last thirty years is to minimize the countless ways that the Clark community and the ASD as a whole have benefited from Cessilye’s steadfast leadership. 

“Cessilye will be missed by her students, staff, and families.  Thankfully, a solid academic and social foundation has been laid so that her school will continue to thrive for years to come.” 

A summary of William’s training, awards, and community service projects are as follows:



National Association of Secondary Principals 2004-2022

NASSP Conference 2004 – 2017

NASBE Conference 2010-2017

Council of Great City Schools Conference – North Carolina 2015

Council of Great City Schools Conference – Denver Colorado 2014

CORE Conference – San Francisco, California 2012

RTI Conference – Anchorage Alaska 2015, 2014, 2013

CALLA Training

WIDA Trained and provided Training for Staff

Academic Conversations for ELL Students

CORE – Academic Text Dependent Questions

Language! Live /  SIOP   /  CHAMPS

SIPPS – Systematic Instruction In Phonological Awareness Phonics and Site Words

Explicit Instruction

Effective Walk Through

Rigor and Relevance

Thematic Instructional Practices and Delivery

Reading Apprentice

Vocabulary Explicit Instructional Practices

RTI – Response to Instruction

Effective Reading Strategies – Choral Reading, Tracking, RCRC, etc..

Technology – Integration Through Curriculum

SEL- Social Emotional Learning/Integration Through Curriculum

Data Analysis Annual Training



Junior Achievement Educator of the Year Award 2016

Alaska State Principal of the Year 2015-2016

Alaska Region IV Principal of the Year Award    2015-2016

School Business Partnership Award from Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. 2014

Freedom Sister Award – Ford Motor Company        2012-2013

Military Recognition Award – 2014-2015

NCAAP Educator of the Year Award

Legislative Principal Service Award – Senator Betty Davis

Military Recognition Award – 2011-2012

School Business Partnership Award USAF Military 2006



APA – Alaska Principals Association ~  President – Contract Negotiation Year

APA – Alaska Principals Association -Vice President

UAA/Clark Junior Fellows, Pre-Medical, Teacher Academy & Programmers .CODERS 2015-2020

UAA/Clark Junior Fellows ACADEMY – 2014-2020

NASSP – National Association for Secondary School Principals

NASBE -  National  Association of School Black Educators

NAACP – National Association for the Advancement of Colored People

NACW - National Association for Colored Women Org.

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. ~ Vice President  3 Terms

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. ~ Corresponding Secretary 2 Terms

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. ~ Committee Chairs – Various Committees

Board Member of the Mt. View Land Trust

YWCA - Committee

GEAR UP Coordinator for the State of Alaska  7 years

RCCP Certified Trainer


Congratulations on your retirement, Principal Williams!




Lisa Kopec Miller