Fourteen staff members to leave Wilson

Pawel Gaul

Anna Dueholm

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Fourteen Wilson teachers and staff members have decided not to return next year. Among those leaving are English teacher and football coach Jacob Williams, choir director Lori Williams, and Assistant Principal Tiffany Mercer.

Jacob Williams began teaching English at Wilson in 2014, and his decision to leave was not an easy one. “My fiancé and I have been in DC since we graduated undergrad and have really fallen in love with the city and Wilson,” he said. His fiancé is a nurse and has decided to go back to medical school, which is too expensive for a teacher’s salary in DC.

Next school year, Williams plans to teach English at an all-boys public middle school in Louisville, Kentucky, and continue coaching high school football. Still, he will miss being at Wilson. “I’m … going to miss the football players and coaches that I’ve developed a bond with the last five years. I’ll definitely check scores every week and keep in touch with the players and coaches so I can cheer on the Tigers from Kentucky.”

Choir director Lori Williams came to Wilson in 2004 after having started her teaching career in Japan in 1991. Williams decided not to return to Wilson next year to pursue her jazz career full-time. Her most recent album, “Out of the Box,” topped UK Soul Charts in September 2018 and was considered for a Grammy.

Next year, Williams plans to both focus on her music and spend more time with her family, though she will miss the family she has created at Wilson. “I’ll miss working with my students in choir and observing their growth. Seeing my students excel beyond high school in any musical capacity is the best reward,” she said.

Having spent two years as an Assistant Principal at Wilson, Tiffany Mercer has decided to move elsewhere. Mercer came to Wilson in the fall of 2017 and began supervising the math department. Next year, she will be moving to Martin County, North Carolina, and is a candidate for an Assistant Principal position at a high school there. “If I happen to not get that one, I will go back into the classroom for a year, teaching math,” Mercer explained.

The other teachers resigning are social studies teacher William Reynolds, math teacher Nicholas Chused, science teacher Laura Chase, math teacher Patrice Gibbs, Dr. Hari Prasad, ISS Coordinator Seneca Surles, math and special education teacher Leslie Payne-Walker, JROTC teacher Major Charlene Lockett, and custodian Larry Jackson.

According to Principal Kimberly Martin, the number of teachers leaving this year is lower than normal. “Every person that is leaving is leaving for a deeply personal, irrefutable reason,” she said. “There may be one or two who are like ‘I hate this place,’ but I think for the most part, people’s lives are just taking them in other places, and they feel generally pretty happy about being here.”