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Expanding Horizons: Williams prepares to take on new role as commissioner
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It's been three weeks since Doreen Williams won her historic election race for the Post 2 Rockdale county board of commissioners' seat.

Although, if you ask the former middle school social studies teacher, she doesn't consider her win as historic as some others may make it out to be. Her placement on the county board, which will see three democrats hold the seats for the first time in Rockdale's history, while unprecedented, is not historic in her eyes.

"It doesn't matter when you're talking about local politics," said Williams. "Everyone wants the same thing at the local level. I personally don't see how this is historic."

The political aspects of the victory don't mean much to Williams, but she values the personal importance that comes with it.

Williams, the second oldest child of five, says that when she graduated from high school in 1968, there weren't many options given to young woman when she was coming up.

"You had two options," she said. "You either became a teacher or you became a nurse."

Williams chose the teacher profession because, on top of societal standards at the time, her father was an educator, her stay-at-home mother thought being a teacher was "the best profession ever" and she had a high school teacher who made teaching students seem like a worthwhile career.

Born in Pasadena, Ca., Williams went to a two-year community college in-state to begin her secondary education, but she received a bachelor's degree in French from Brigham Young University. Then, she went on to get a master's in education from Walden University and then a doctoral degree in curriculum studies from Georgia Southern University.

She would go on to have a 30 year teaching career for elementary and middle schools, with the majority of her teaching years being in Gwinnett County.

And while she doesn't regret a moment of teaching, she wishes someone would've opened her eyes to other opportunities that may have been available to her. Specifically, she would've liked a job that had more to do with numbers.

"I was pretty good in math and science in high school," said Williams. "No one ever said to me pursue this. In some ways girls were directed (to a specific career path)."

With Williams, who's been married for the past 40 years, taking on elected office for the first time, she hopes to show her five adult children, nine young grandchildren and other young girls that they can do anything they put their minds to, she says.

However, the 64-year-old Williams, who says she knows a little bit about a lot of different things, does plan to use her life experiences to help her through difficult times while performing her new role as commissioner.

During her days as a teacher, she would often tell her class personal stories from her life to help drive home a lesson and plans to do the same when making decisions for the county's future.

"By the time you're my age you have a lot of world experience, and I have a wide breadth of experience," said Williams.

But Williams is already drawing on what she knows to help her as a commission. In the days since she was elected, Williams has been trying to absorb as much information as she can to help her prepare for the role of county commissioner.

She says that she's been reading books about good practices of ethics boards, presumably innovative things other governmental agencies are doing and economic development.

She even met with members of the Rockdale County Special Local Option Sales Tax Citizens Oversight Committee to learn more about the SPLOST and how it functions.

"Yeah that's my background," said Williams. "When you're doing doctoral work, you do a lot of research."

Williams is hoping to have a nice foundation of information on how to be a county commissioner by the time she takes office January 1, 2015.

"I don't think when you start something new you can be fully prepared," she said. "That's why I'm trying to have a base of information."