The Dewey Awards are all about honoring the teachers who make a difference. Every year, charter leaders, students, and parents across the country enter their written and video submissions celebrating exceptional teachers. Named for an excellent teacher, Mr. Richard Dewey, three entries are awarded a grant of $1000 to a charter school of their choice. Although only three winners are selected, each of the entries is inspiring and worth sharing. This week, we’re sharing an entry submitted by Ashley Means celebrating all she’s learned from Mr. Anthony Williams.
Charter School Capital
Dewey Awards 2022
Mr. Anthony Williams
School: Maryland International school for sustainability and technology
Nominated by Ashley Means
I would like to nominate Mr. Anthony Williams for the Dewey Awards 2022 For the Teachers Who Change Our Lives. He is the CEO, Founder, and a great teacher of BEACON House Inc which encompasses Lil’ STEAMERS and Maryland International School of Sustainability and Technology.
I have known Anthony since 2017 when I showed up at his doorstep at BEACON House Inc, physically, mentally, and emotionally depleted from an abusive relationship. I walked in to become a volunteer to nurse myself back to health from that event, so that I could gain enough strength to re-enter the workforce. I walked out hired. I was terrified.
I walked out hired and terrified as an eventual part time AmeriCorps Member to work for his nonprofit, a STEAM educational organization. This organization brought education and experiences to children in the community who didn’t and don’t have typical access to such education. Even though I was hired, and an adult, I was still his student.
We used my credits I had gotten from what little college I could afford through life; I was 33 years old at the time, mixed with classes Mr. Williams paid for, I quickly became a classroom teacher studying under him as an AmeriCorps Member. With Mr. Williams I learned everything from teaching school age children, fundraising, how to work new age technology, curriculum, to tactics with children who needed that extra love. He was the person I needed when I was younger. He was and is the person young people need.
I say he was the person I needed when I was younger because as a child, I grew up very poverty stricken. I was born in Western New York, to two Taxicab Drivers. I lived in an actual “hood”, yes that’s the actual name of the area I was born into and spent half my life in. My single mother moved my brother, her, and myself to a suburb when I was 9. At 14 I was granted emancipation as I took my mother to court and proved her unfit. I slipped between foster care and the town police “left me alone” as long as I held a job and stayed in school. So, I was homeless and bounced from house to house. I stayed in school, kept a job as a server but I really needed a teacher like Mr. Williams back then, to learn from and look up to. Maybe even as a guide to a way out.
Fortunately, he did that for me at 33! Hey! Better late than never, right? Anthony has an amazing education mixed with experience with teaching in different regions and even other countries. I knew he was a man to watch and listen to. And I was right! Because of his leadership in how to be a teacher, I became a Certified Classroom Age Teacher, CPR and Med Certified, a two term AmeriCorps Member, a director of a program of his named STEAMWORKS, a Fundraising Committee Chair, on a Board of Directors, and eventually the CEO of my own business. Even to this day, I still work full time with Mr. Williams as a Resource Developer and Administrative Manager at his private school named Maryland International School of Sustainability and Technology. That is just one aspect of the nonprofit he has built based upon his knowledge and vision.
Everyday we work with children like me. Children coming from broken or poverty-stricken homes, especially given the city of Hagerstown’s demographics. Everyday because of this man, Mr. Anthony Williams, a child Is fed properly, a child is given the tools for self-worth and self-esteem, a child is getting an education beyond what the public school system offers. Not just a child… children… plural. He does this by applying for Grants and Scholarships for parents who are working or going to school, to keep tuition affordable. Every single day he is giving a child like I, myself was, and many children alike, hope. Not only is he doing this at the child level, but he is still doing it even for children with less opportunities who grow into 33-year-old adults with less opportunities.
Mr. Williams not only taught me and teaches many others daily with his knowledge and his example, but he makes other great teachers in this world from the help and inspiration of representing “Teachers Who Change Our Lives”. He changes lives and helps create others who are and will do the same, by leading by example and spreading his hard-earned education to the less fortunate.