Published: May 3, 2024

Marcus WilliamsAfter working for the CU Boulder Office of Information Technology for six years, Marcus Williams decided to switch careers and enroll in the one-year intensive MA+ Secondary Humanities Teacher Licensure program to become a teacher. 

“As a teacher, Marcus is guided by unwavering commitments to justice and to organizing culturally responsive classrooms that honor youth voice,” said Assistant Professor Sara Staley, one of his award nominators. Staley nominated him for the Outstanding Secondary Humanities Master’s Plus Teacher Licensure Program Graduate award.

For his inquiry capstone project, he explored his and his students’ metacognition skills, asking his students to create literacy goals for themselves and guiding them through executive functioning strategies in order to create a safe and equitable learning environment. As a teacher, Williams believes in critical self-reflection and examining his own biases. 

“Learning is vulnerability; teaching is vulnerability,” said Williams. “If I want my students to be open and honest then I must also be open and honest.”

Williams is also an advocate and believes in paying it forward for future student teachers like him. Earlier this spring, Williams testified at the Colorado State Capitol for a hearing for House Bill 24-1290, which discussed state appropriations for the Student Educator Stipend Program established in 2022 to reduce financial barriers for students completing their clinical practices. At the hearing, he testified on the impact of student stipends on his teaching career. 

“Without this stipend, I would not be here in front of you today, but perhaps more importantly, without this stipend I would not be in the classroom,” said Williams. 

“I am proud to be in a profession where I can serve the young people of my community, happy to wake up every morning knowing I have the opportunity to do this for the rest of my working life, and I am thankful to a state that has given me this chance.”

In the fall, Williams will teach personal finance, intro to business/marketing and creative writing at Niwot High School. 

In his own words


Please tell us a bit about yourself

I received my English and economics degrees from Virginia Tech and an MFA in creative writing and now, an MA in Curriculum and Instruction from CU Boulder. I have also worked for CU Boulder in the Office of Information Technology for the past six years. I've loved penguins ever since I saw them at the Boston Aquarium in second grade, and I hate onions. Most importantly, I own many, many hats.”

What is one of the most significant lessons from your time at CU Boulder that you’ll carry with you into the next chapter?

Learning is vulnerability; teaching is vulnerability. If I want my students to be open and honest then I must also be open and honest.”

What is your best piece of advice for incoming students?

The only life path is the one behind us.”

What are your next steps after graduation?

I will be teaching Personal Finance, Intro to Business/Marketing, and Creative Writing at Niwot High School.”