"Being a member has allowed me to deeply and broadly develop in ways that have helped me positively affect others. If it was not for my NAEYC membership, I would not have been able to gain a vast knowledge of accredited early childhood community college and baccalaureate training programs."
- Reginald Harrison Williams, Early Childhood Teacher and Program Educator in Orangeburg, SC. NAEYC member since 2004.
Tell us about your work with young children:
Currently, I serve as an early childhood teacher and program educator at a historically black college and university where I train teachers of young children. I am also the father to two very young a children, a 3 year old girl and a 1 year old boy. I’m a member/leader of state and county early childhood panels, and am also South Carolina AEYC State Affiliate President. Earlier in my career, I taught kindergarten in a public school and taught at a community college.
Why did you become a member?
I was introduced to NAEYC by two of my university professors, Dr. Bessie Cooke and Dr. Linda McIntyre. I joined because they both advised that it is important to be part of a professional organization that focuses on my career as an early childhood teacher. Over the years, I have grown to see that NAEYC is the most important organization that I am a member of as a professional.
How has NAEYC impacted your career and influenced your work with young children?
If I had to describe my NAEYC membership in one word, I would use the word IMPACTING. Being a member has allowed me to deeply and broadly develop in ways that have helped me positively affect others. If it was not for my NAEYC membership, I would not have been able to gain a vast knowledge of accredited early childhood community college and baccalaureate training programs. As a result, I have been able to affect change so that programs that I am involved with bear the mark of high-quality, producing high-quality teachers for public schools and child care centers of all types. If I were to return to the classroom as a teacher of young children, I would use knowledge I gained as an NAEYC member to make a greater difference in children's lives.
What is your favorite NAEYC member benefit?
The books that I receive each year as a comprehensive member.
Young children are so inspiring. That's why many of us are early childhood educators. Share one way a child has inspired you.
At the end of the year when school was on the cusp of letting out, I walked into a first grade classroom, and sat down behind a boy doing his math work. Sometime during that visit, he turned around and looked at me. I smiled back at him, and he said "I'm better at math now then I was yesterday. I'm gonna always be better." Such a simple sentence from a child for no apparent reason shows me that you should always do your best no matter what. I get little pieces of wisdom on a regular basis, which motivates me to continue to work on their behalf everyday.
What is your dream for the future of early-childhood education?
My dream is that all families will have access to a high-quality, accessible, and free early care and education program that will nurture their newborn child from infancy to age 8 in a developmentally appropriate way. I dream that programs will be available regardless of where that family lives, what culture they represent, or if their child has a special need or not.
What is your favorite part of your job?
Knowing that every decision I make has the potential to ensure that at least one child has a better chance of growing up to be an outstanding human being.
What’s your favorite book?
My favorite book is the Bible because it is chock full of lessons on love, joy, self control, forgiveness, hope, perseverance, generosity, and selflessness that have helped me overcome tremendous professional and personal obstacles. I’ve learned lessons that I can share with others (children and adults of all kinds) who may need a helping hand in making a good life for themselves.