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Principal ready for new programs at school
Meet your government: Charlene Williams, Centennial Arts Academy principal
Charlene Williams is the new principal at Centennial Arts Academy, but she's no stranger to the school. She formerly served as assistant principal for seven years before replacing the retiring Susan Gilliam. - photo by Tom Reed

Meet your government

Every Monday, The Times takes a look at someone who keeps local government running smoothly.

Charlene Williams' face is familiar to students at Centennial Arts Academy. After working as the assistant principal for seven years, she's serving as the school's new principal this fall.

Williams replaced longtime Gainesville educator Susan Gilliam, who retired this summer. Williams came to Centennial after teaching fourth grade at Roswell North Elementary and math at Gainesville Middle School.

The Gainesville High School graduate has been an educator for 17 years, and said she is excited to get some new programs off the ground at Centennial.

In addition to getting students more active to combat childhood obesity, she's running with an idea Gainesville school board member Sammy Smith pitched.

Williams said Centennial's Parent-Teacher Association is starting a WATCH D.O.G.S. program, which aims to get more "Dads of Good Students" involved in their child's education. But it's not a program just for dads. Grandfathers and uncles also can participate.

"Our mothers are really involved in this school and we just want more fathers involved in the daily routine of the school," she said. "Some of our students come from families with single mothers and this is a chance for them to have some male role models."

The men can volunteer to help load kids on and off of buses, greet students in the hallways, work in classrooms, tutor struggling students or greet parents at PTA meetings. Williams said she's hoping male family members could volunteer at least one day each year.

Outside of school, Williams said she enjoys promoting peace in the community, reading and especially enjoys traveling to Jamaica. Williams doesn't have children, but she funnels her energy into caring for Centennial's students.

"These are my kids," she said.

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