Leading the Way

Ericka Bennett-Bell


Sharon Williams

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Ericka Bennett-Bell and Sharon Williams present:

Leading the Way: Challenging Students of Poverty to Be Their Best Selves

During this session, attendees will learn how to provide enrichment opportunities during non-school hours for children, particularly students who attend high-poverty and low-performing schools. The information provided will be adaptable to all afterschool or before school programs, including 21st Century Community Learning Centers.

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Ericka Bennett-Bell

Ericka Bennett Bell, a native of Sumter, SC, graduated from Francis Marion University in 2009. Ericka then began her educational career in Florence School District Four.

While serving in many leadership roles within the school, Ericka obtained her Masters in Divergent Learning from Columbia College. After becoming Brockington Elementary School’s 2012-2013 Teacher of the Year and Florence School District Four’s 2012-2013 District Teacher of the Year, Ericka migrated to Florence School District Three.

While in Florence School District 3, she served in several capacities, including a reading interventionist, science and social studies instructional coach, professional development presenter, and enrich program coordinator.

Ericka briefly stepped away from education for 3 years to become the founding Executive Director of the Greater Lake City Community Resource Center, a non-profit under the umbrella of the Darla Moore Foundation.

After successfully building and leading the organization, Ericka’s purpose later overtook her passion for non-profit, which prompted her to return to education—specifically to the school that she left—Main Street Elementary School of Arts and Leadership (MSE). Currently, Ericka serves as the Literacy Coach for MSE.

She is happily married to Christopher Bell, her husband of 2 years. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She enjoys thrifting, traveling, and maximizing moments with family and friends.

Sharon Williams

Dr. Sharon N. Williams is a native of Florence, South Carolina. She attended Florence School District One public schools and Francis Marion University where she earned a B.S. in Elementary Education and a Master’s Degree is Learning Disabilities. In 2013, she earned her Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership. She began her career as a teacher at Delmae Heights Elementary in Florence, SC where she taught both third and fifth grade. After leaving the public school system, she worked for Sylvan Learning Center for fifteen years before returning to public education. Dr. Williams joined Florence School District in 2014 and taught fourth grade at Main Street Elementary during the 2014-2015 school year. She served as Director of Academic Support on the district instructional team from 2015 – 2017. She was named principal at Main Street Elementary School of Arts & Leadership in January 2018.

Over the past twenty-six years, Dr. Williams has worked in several capacities in education, but considers her most important job to be that of a student advocate. “I believe that each child is a unique individual who needs a safe, consistent, and engaging environment where they can grow and mature emotionally, intellectually, physically, and socially. I view my role as an educator as one who helps students meet their greatest potential.”

Dr. Williams is married to Leon Williams, her husband of 27 years. They have one daughter and three beautiful grandchildren. Dr. Williams is an active member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and the National Council of Negro Women. She enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with her family and close friends.