Education professor and basketball coach: John M. Williams IV
By Crisilee DeBacker
To a Spring Arbor University (SAU) student, the name “John Williams” could mean two things: “Associate Professor of Education” John Williams Jr (also known as Biggs), or “that guy who composed the Star Wars soundtrack” John Williams. Now, there is a third.
John M. Williams IV fills three roles at SAU. He is the Coordinator of Elementary Education, an Assistant Professor of Education and the Assistant Womens Basketball Coach. Despite not wanting to come to SAU at first, he says he is a proud SAU alumnus.
“It was just a good, safe, familiar place,” he said, concerning why he finally committed to SAU.
During his time at SAU, he studied music, pre-med and elementary education and played on the soccer team for two seasons. After he completed his undergraduate program, he continued studying at SAU, and went on to get his master’s in education and then a post-graduate certification in K-12 administration. After he was certified, he worked seven years as an elementary school principal.
“Being an elementary school principal, there’s always something crazy going on,” he said.
He also coached basketball, and worked with the same girls from fifth grade on. Seeing them grow and improve as high schoolers was something he said he loved, especially since one of his players is now a freshman here at SAU and is serving alongside him as the manager of the womens basketball team.
Williams briefly taught math and science classes before he was a principal. When he was a principal, he evaluated teachers regularly, so to him, evaluating students in class is not much different.
Williams’ faith is something he strives to model to his students. He begins every class with a time for prayer requests and a short devotional, and concentrates on being a good example for his students and living “unapologetically Christian.”
“Before talking about prayer, you have to live and model faith first,” he said.
He also focuses on faith outside of the classroom by taking it to the basketball court. Currently, the whole basketball team is reading the book “Love Does” by Bob Goff. He says it is a great example of putting both faith and love into action and illustrates the message, “don’t be afraid to love extravagantly.”
Through both the teaching and the modeling of faith, Williams hopes to influence his students for their future.
“I’m making them prepared before they’re on their own,” he said.
Stats and Facts:
Hogwarts House: Gryffindor
Favorite TV shows: Stranger Things, Longwire and Madame Secretary
Favorite classes to teach: “Math and Science Methods for Upper Elementary and Middle School Teachers” and “Effective Classroom Management Assessment and Instruction”
Fun Fact: When he was a principal, he let students duct tape him to a wall to raise money for a local child with cancer.
He’s Not Done Yet: He’s currently in a doctorate program with Trevecca Nazarene University.
If you didn’t already know: He’s married to Carrie Williams, the director of student success and first year programming at SAU.