Meet Ms. Williams, Pali’s Newest Science Teacher


New Pali science teacher, Ms. Williams

Arielle Hatton, Staff Writer

Chemistry teacher Adkenbi “Addy” Williams joined the Pali staff in January at the start of the spring semester. Williams is a long-term substitute, according to Director of Guidance and Planning Dr. Chris Lee.

From a young age, Williams said that she had a great love for science, especially chemistry. In her youth, Williams said that she “always went for the science kits at Toys ‘Я’ Us” and “loved looking at insects under a microscope.” Throughout her high school career, she hoped to study science in college. At just 18, Williams graduated from Cal State Los Angeles via the early entrance program with a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry.

Williams has been teaching for approximately 16 years, but she has not always wanted to be a teacher. When Williams was 22, she went back to get a master’s degree at UCLA. As Williams explained, she originally planned to pursue a career in cancer research, but she soon realized that she would likely “end up working for a huge company that doesn’t care about the people you’re trying to save,” and decided not to finish her master’s degree.

Instead, she decided that teaching science was a great alternative — a career where she could “do chemistry every day.”

In the past, Williams has both tutored and worked at many different schools, the most recent being a Knowledge is Power Program charter school. There she taught general science, but she said the school “did not go as in-depth“ as she hoped it to, “which is why [she] decided to switch over” to Pali, where she could teach a more specialized curriculum.

During her short time at Pali, Williams has already grown to love the environment. She said, “I like the community vibe here at Pali. Pretty much every teacher has stopped me and said ‘Hi, I know you’re new so if you need anything, let me know.’” She also acknowledges and applauds Pali’s recognition of “the non-academic needs/interests of students. There are so many clubs and teams and ways for students to … develop a new interest.” Most of all however, Williams said she loves the PA announcements, as “Dr. Lee has [her] exact same sense of humor.”

Williams is currently teaching five periods of regular chemistry with a free fifth period. She has office hours during seventh period every day and wants Pali students to know that her “door is always open” for those who might need some extra one-on-one support. As she put it, “I struggled in my first two chem courses at Cal State LA, and I found ways to parse the material and make it make sense. As a teacher, I can share those methods with students who may have similar struggles with chemistry.”

According to Williams, learning is “not about the destination, but instead about the journey.” She recognizes that not all of her students aspire to be “cancer researchers or doctors” but hopes that, no matter what the future holds for them, they can “apply the tools of chemistry… like critical thinking and decision making” to their day-to-day lives.