Elizabeth Williams, the retired principal and teacher with 40 years of experience who has served just over one year on the Bulloch County Board of Education from District 2, is chairing the board this year.
Bulloch residents in eight separate voting districts elect members to four-year terms on the board, which sets policies and the annual budget – now topping $140 million in the general fund alone – and employs the superintendent and otherwise governs the 11,000-student, 15-campus Bulloch County Schools. But the board members elect a chair and vice chair from among themselves each year.
Williams, who stood for election unopposed in District 2 in 2022, was unanimously chosen vice chair by the board members in January 2023. One year later, she was named the 2024 chair by unanimous vote of the board during the Jan. 11 annual organizational meeting.
While attending the 2024 Bulloch County Career Workforce Summit on Jan. 31, she was interviewed briefly about becoming the board chair.
“I take that responsibility very seriously, and I’m excited about being able to just share what I can and do what I can to support the initiatives that we have going on in our school system,” Williams said.
“When I see the focus on our children in a meeting like this, it is very exciting, because obviously that is, and should be, our continued focus,” she said, “and to develop a program such as the career readiness program that will allow our children to be put in a position where they can get jobs when they graduate high school or they can go on to (continue their education) in that particular track and get a job that will sustain them in a lifestyle of their choice, that’s exciting.”
By another unanimous vote during their first meeting of the year, BOE members returned District 7 member Heather Mims to the position of vice chair, which she held previously in 2018-2022. District 1’s Glenn Womack had chaired the board during 2023, taking over from long-time District 2 member Mike Sparks, who retired from the board at the end of 2022 after not seeking re-election.
In fact, Womack nominated Williams to be chair this year, and she had nominated him for chair last year.
A teacher, first
Williams began her career as a middle school teacher before she and her husband moved to Bulloch County in 1994. Then she taught biology and anatomy & physiology at Southeast Bulloch High School.
After serving one year as assistant principal at Southeast Bulloch Middle School, she was promoted to principal of Stilson Elementary School, leading that school for six years before another six years as principal of Langston Chapel Middle School.
After retiring from the county school system in 2010, she became an instructor at Armstrong State University before it merged with Georgia Southern, and continued to work at Georgia Southern, at the Statesboro campus, in the College of Education.
“Someone asked me the other day, ‘Of all the things you’ve done now … what did you enjoy the most?’” Williams said in the Workforce Summit interview. “I thought that was a very interesting question, and I went back to teaching. Teaching was the job I enjoyed the most because even sitting here, when I heard them talk about an anatomy and physiology class, I thought, ‘Oh! I’d like to teach that class!’”
A 1977 graduate of Montogomery County High School and 1981 Graduate of Armstrong State University, she attained her master’s and education specialist degrees from Georgia Southern.
Her husband, Milton Williams, also retired from a career as an educator that included serving as principal and assistant principal at Southeast Bulloch Middle School, as well as teaching and coaching.
Elizabeth Williams is now chairing the Board of Education as the school district moves forward with plans to build a new Southeast Bulloch High School replacement as a larger and additional school. Superintendent Charles Wilson has suggested that construction could begin later this year for completion of the school by 2027.
With $95 million in anticipated funding to build a 2,500-student school expandable for up to 3,000, it will be the county district’s largest and most expensive school yet.
The five-year facilities strategy also calls for converting the existing SEB High complex to serve as Southeast Bulloch Middle and repurposing the current middle school facility as a new entity, Southeast Bulloch Upper Elementary.
Williams wasn’t a speaker at the Workforce Summit, but attended to hear what was said. Wilson noted her presence, introducing her as the new board chair when he addressed the group. Some of the presentations concerned the Bulloch County Schools’ plans to further develop a Career Academy Program imbedded in the three high schools. The concept calls for bus transportation, not yet in place, for students to take courses not available at their own schools but offered at one of the other two.
“There are a lot of options for our children to choose, and I’m hoping and praying that they take advantage of what is available to them even before they get out of high school,” Williams said.