Photo by Dr. Eugene Cain
By TNCP Staff
LANSING, MI - When new interim chief school administrator at El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz Academy (Shabazz Academy), Jeannine Williams, was chosen, she said one of her goals is to develop a new sense of excitement about teaching and being taught at the academy. Even though she only started 4 months ago, Williams' goals are very possible.
Mrs. Williams said, “Every morning after the daily affirmation the children recite 'What you do the most is what you the best, because Shabazz Academy is the best.'”
Mrs. Williams firmly believes in that declaration. Her fresh new attitude about leading the city's only African - centered school, is evident by her passion. She has what it takes to make a huge difference in the school and has kept the school energized after Dr. Eugene Cain's departure as the former chief school administrator.
Dr. Cain started at Shabazz Academy in August of 2000 and left in August of 2014. As to the start of his professional career, it was August of 1965 in Detroit as a middle school social studies teacher. He has spent 50 years in education and has now started a company, Cain Education Consulting.
Mrs. Williams has taken over the reigns and bringing new students into the school is going to be one of the major components of success for the current chief school administrator. She is working diligently on creating a environment of accountability for students, parents and teachers.
While we were conducting our interview on a Sunday afternoon, Mrs. Williams was looking over paperwork and answering phone calls. When she finished with the phone call, not missing a beat, she picked up right where she left off in the interview. No question was too broad or complicated as she multitasked with ease. She is focused on instilling a high level of education to both the students and the teachers. She believes that the idea of students believing, seeing and working with other career oriented or academically inclined individuals “will help young people determine their future goals.”
When asked about the daunting task of running a school, she smiled and said, “It is important to me that I connect with the Shabazz family. If that means answering the phone on the weekend, that is what needs to be done. I do it willingly.”
Mrs. Williams said the school has a new Curriculum Consultant, Ms. Angela Rodriguez, who will help develop a data driven culture that will improve their teacher's instructional practices.
Some of her goals are to improve Shabazz Academy's reputation with parents, community members and leaders. Another is to attract and retain teachers by developing a competitive compensation package.
“I want to develop high expectations for students, staff and myself. I will help to empower others to take control of their own learning and development by establishing an school environment built on accountability responsibility, collaboration and teamwork,” said Mrs. Williams.
Along with elevating the overall culture at Shabazz Academy. She would like to create a sharing and collaborative school culture that places high standards on the academic and social success of all students. Creating a college and career readiness culture by developing collaborative partnerships with high school and college students are important to instill the importance of having mentors that can affect lives in a meaningful way will be a building block for the school.
Mrs. Williams is no stranger to working hard to pursue an education. She is a proud graduate from Central Michigan University, where she earned a BA in Interpersonal and Public Communication with a concentration in organizational development and minored in Business Administration. Further, she received her Masters in Science in Educational Administration and Supervision from the State University of New Paltz, NY. Also, she completed a Masters in Guidance Counseling from Spring Arbor University. In addition, she earned a Post-Baccalaureate Certification in Human Resource Development from Virginia Commonwealth University. Lastly, she graduated from divinity certification from Faith Harvest Church.
She has had many people influence her life and has had many mentors who taught her that helping others to reach their goals is paramount to create successful and achieving students.
The vision is to create really solid partnerships with people who want to roll up their sleeves and make an impact on the students. Mrs. Williams has found one partnership with Jeff Jones, the owner o Frosty Corner ice cream shop, on Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.
The best part of working at Shabazz Academy is watching children grow and truly one of her missions. Mrs. Williams is creating an environment in which she takes time out with the students and does everything to make sure the students and parents receive the resources that they need to continue to be successful.
Shabazz Academy is celebrating it's 20th year anniversary. The school was cited in a 2011 special Michigan State Board of Education report as a school that is “beating the odds” because his students are achieving at high levels, despite the fact that 97% of them are considered poor. This was the second time in three years that the school has received this recognition. The school has made AYP seven years in a row. Also, this year, the school received its third consecutive “A” rating from the Michigan Department of Education.
On Thursday, December 3, 2015 from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm, they invite you to celebrate their anniversary with a “Remembering The Past, Embracing the Future” program. It will be held at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center in the Lincoln Room. It is located at 219 South Harrison Road, East Lansing, MI. The tickets are $35.00. They wish to invite former students, as well as, those in the community who want to learn a lot about what Shabazz Academy has accomplished over the past two decades.
Mrs. Williams ended by enthusiastically saying, “ My mission is to create a vibrant, growing and ever evolving school that includes, community, students, parents where we are all making a conscious effort to promote positive thinking and energy. Having everyone involved and working collectively can only serve to expand the outreach of the fantastic things that are going on at the academy.”
Shabazz Academy is located at1028 Barnes Avenue Lansing, MI, 48910. To reach them call 517- 267-8474 or log on to www.shabazzlearning.com.
This was printed in the November 29, 2015 - December 12, 2015 edition.