W. W. WILLIAMS
Submitted by Billy Hathorn, Class of 1966
Wayne Wynn Williams, Sr. (September 10, 1917 - September 16, 2000), usually known as W.W. Williams, was a north Louisiana educator who served as the superintendent of Webster Parish public schools from 1973-1978 and the principal of Minden High School (MHS) from 1953-1961. Under his leadership as principal, a then new high school campus was launched in 1954 on College Street in Minden, the seat of Webster Parish. During his tenure, MHS ranked in the top 1 percent in nationwide achievement examinations in English, the top 2 percent in science, the top 3 percent in mathematics, and the top 5 percent in social studies, a record not yet again matched. In August 2007, new Minden High School facilities opened once again at the same location to supplant the 53-year-old structure. By that time, the superintendent was Wayne Williams, Jr. (born 1947), the older son of W.W. Williams.
1 Early years, education, military
2 Williams as principal
3 Superintendent Williams
4 Williams' legacy
Early years, education, military
Williams, Sr., was born in Leesville, the seat of Vernon Parish in western Louisiana, to Samuel Smart Williams, M.D. (1896-1985), and the former Louise Emma "Ludie" Wynn. The family moved to the community of Ida in northern Caddo Parish near the Arkansas boundary, where in 1934 Williams graduated from high school. Dr. Williams later took a position as the first physician at the Louisiana State Penitentiary near Angola in East Feliciana Parish north of Baton Rouge. He was killed thereafter in an automobile accident in Angola.
In 1938, Williams procured his bachelor of arts degree from Northwestern State University (then Louisiana Normal College) in Natchitoches. He subsequently completed his master of arts at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. After Northwestern, Williams became a teacher of history and English and a coach of basketball and baseball at Shongaloo High School in rural Shongaloo, also in Webster Parish.
During World War II, Williams vacated his teaching duties to serve in the United States Air Force (then the U.S. Army Air Corps). He procured a field commission as a captain in the Tenth Air Force and served principally in the Burma-China theater as well as in India, where he became ill with trench mouth. While at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (then known as Wright Field) in Dayton, Ohio, Williams met the former Irene Botkins (born June 18, 1921), a native of Calloway County in southwestern Kentucky (principal city: Murray). She was a civilian secretary at the time at the base. The couple married on July 21, 1945.
Williams as principal
Williams returned with his wife to the Webster Parish school system, where he remained for his entire educational career. A hands-on administrator, he served as the principal of (1) Shongaloo High School (1946-1949), (2) E.S. Richardson Elementary School in Minden (1950-1952), and (3) Minden High School (1953-1961). Mrs. Williams was the Minden High School secretary from 1953 until her retirement in 1987.
During Williams' administration, a new MHS building opened, as did a new football stadium. In addition, a track, a covered walkway from the main building to the gymnasium, and parking lots were constructed. At the time, the gym contained one of the few indoor heated swimming pools in the state. Minden swim teams were state champions every single year of Williams' tenure. (The pool was abandoned in 1981 because of maintenance problems.) The Minden High School "Crimson Tide" was the state football champion from 1955-1957, the basketball champion from 1955-1959 and the runner-up in 1954, the baseball champion in 1957 and the runner-up in 1954-1955, and the Gulf Open golf champion in 1956. Shreveport sports writers at the time began to refer to Minden teams as the "Home of the Champions." In 1956, Jackie Moreland became Minden's first ever "All American" in basketball. Even when the teams did not win statewide, they were invariably district champions in the respective sports. In 1960, the football team secured the district title but lost to Neville High School in Monroe. The team won statewide again in 1963, when Williams, Jr., was a junior player, and most recently in 2006.
Williams was thereafter named secondary education supervisor and assistant superintendent of federal programs (1961-1967). After having been housed in cramped quarters on the second floor of the Webster Parish Courthouse, the school board office moved to a new facility on Sheppard Street in 1968, when Williams was elevated to assistant superintendent. He served thereafter as parish superintendent for five years starting in 1973. His experience was so extensive that he had held nearly every position in the school system prior to becoming superintendent. The Webster schools underwent further court-ordered desegregation at the time beyond what had already occurred with the first departure from segregation during the latter 1960s.
Williams was named Minden's "Man of the Year" in 1961 and "Educator of the Year" in 1965. He was a former president of the Lions Club and was active in the American Legion and the Chamber of Commerce. On retirement from the educational system, Williams worked for a time in the trophy section of Minden Athletic Supply, operated by his younger son, Jimmy Williams (born 1955) of Minden.
When he moved to Minden in 1950, Williams joined the First Baptist Church of Minden, where he was also a deacon and a Sunday school teacher for some four decades.
Williams died of cardiovascular disease. He also had diabetes, which had required the amputation of a leg several years prior to his death. He is interred in Gardens of Memory Cemetery in Minden.
Williams, Jr., summed up his father's educational philosophy: "He felt that a child receiving an education was the most important gift that one could give him. He believed that just receiving a diploma was not enough. He wanted every graduate to get the very best education that he could receive. He believed that the only way to insure this was to hire the very best teachers available. . . . He also felt that school was more than what a student learned from textbooks. He felt that extracurricular activities such as athletics and school organizations played an important part in a childs education. This led to Minden High School being known as 'The Home of Champions'."
"W.W. Williams obituary", Shreveport Times, September 17, 2000
"WWW at MHS: 1953-1961", Release from Webster Parish Superintendent's office, 2007
R.H. Manning Superintendent of Webster Parish Schools (Minden, Louisiana) Wayne Wynn Williams, Sr.
Harry M. Campbell
Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W.W._Williams"
Categories: American educators | People from Minden, Louisiana | People from Louisiana | School principals and headteachers | Northwestern State University alumni | Louisiana State University alumni | American military personnel of World War II | 1917 births | 2000 deaths | United States Air Force officers | Baptists | Webster Parish, Louisiana | Deaths from cardiovascular disease