A new Early Childhood Education (ECE) center in Green Valley Ranch will be named the Sandra Todd-Williams Academy in honor of a veteran educator in Far Northeast Denver.
The Denver Public Schools (DPS) Board of Education members unanimously approved the new school name at their June 16 board meeting, which was attended by Todd-Williams and several family members.
“I always knew I wanted to be an early childhood teacher and I always knew I wanted to teach in my community. What an awesome privilege it has been and what an honor this is. For 35 years, I have held an unwavering belief that all children can learn and every child can succeed.”
Todd-Williams is a DPS graduate who retired earlier this month after serving more than 30 years in FNE Denver schools. The majority of her career was spent in early childhood education and her last teaching position for DPS was with the Escalante Biggs Academy, which serves preschool and kindergarten students.
“My name being placed on this building represents what I hope will be the reality for every child – to be prepared for high school, college and then graduate from college to live their dream. ‘What do you want to be when you grow up? You know you have to work hard.’ That’s what I always told my children.”
Todd-Williams was a DPS student during a time when the district was under federal court order to bus students to integrate its schools. She grew up in Montbello but was transported to schools far from her home neighborhood and graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School in Southeast Denver. After graduation, she earned a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from the University of Northern Colorado and a master’s degree in education from Leslie University.
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock honored Ms. Todd-Williams for her years of service to Denver and its youngest learners by declaring June 3, 2016, as Sandra Williams Day.
The new Sandra Todd-Williams Academy, located at 4909 N. Cathay St., is expected to open this fall and serve three and four year olds. In April, district leaders created a naming committee and solicited suggestions from the community for a school name that best represents its location and educational vision. The committee unanimously recommended Todd-Williams for the honor.