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Making Jessamine County proud

JCTC business and marketing teacher receives Excellence in Education award

Jessamine County Schools recently honored three teachers with the Excellence in Education award making them eligible to receive nomination for the Kentucky Teacher of the Year award – one of which was Nicholasville native Kayla Williams.
Williams teaches at Jessamine Career and Technology Center. In her seventh year of teaching business and marketing, Williams is also a DECA advisor. DECA, she said, is a marketing club for high school students allowing them to compete in realistic scenarios based on business and marketing content.
“I have always wanted to be a teacher,” Williams said. “I was unsure of what I wanted to teach, but after taking business courses in high school I knew that I wanted to teach students practical skills that they would be able to use outside of the classroom.”
Williams is a graduate from Jessamine County who received a degree from Eastern Kentucky University in business and marketing education. Since, she has also received a master’s in career and technical administration. In 2017, she was awarded the Kentucky Marketing Education Association Teacher of the Year award.
“My teaching style requires students to be extremely hands on,” Williams said. “I love to allow my students to gain real world experiences throughout my classes. For example, students work at our school-based enterprise and are in charge of purchasing, inventory control, sales and advertising etc. This allows them to gain knowledge and skills that will help them in their future while gaining real experience in a workplace setting.”
Building relationships, Williams said, is one of the things she loves most about teaching.
Being able to teach at JCTC allows her to build those relationships over multiple years with a student rather than just the one year most teachers receive with a student in the traditional instruction setting.
“I am able to build relationships with them and see them grow into amazing young adults,” Williams said. “I also have the opportunity to build even deeper connections with the students that choose to join DECA. This gives me the ability to get to know them outside of the classroom and help to mentor them as a coach would. It is extremely rewarding to watch my students become successful post high school.”
Williams is expecting her first child in September.
When she is not teaching, she said she enjoys traveling – especially international travel.
“I teach yoga and enjoy spending time with family and friends in my free time,” Williams said.
In the future, she looks forward to giving her students opportunities to gain real world experience through classes, internships and DECA. As for her award, it came as a shock, but Williams said it is nice to know that all the hard work she has put in over the years has not gone unrecognized.
“I have increased my responsibilities as a teacher inside and outside of the classroom over the last few years through being a part of leading committees, becoming a teacher leader for JCTC, mentoring new teachers, and working at the state level on curriculum development,” Williams said.
“I truly care about the well-being of my students and want to give them as many opportunities to succeed as possible. I feel very fortunate to be considered for such a prestigious award. I would love to make Jessamine County proud.”