The Dart: Woman finds happiness out of retirement

Published 12:50 am Monday, November 24, 2008

VIDALIA — When Laura Ann Williams-Jackson retired after 25 years of government work, she thought she was going to kick back and relax.

But when The Dart found her on Reynolds Street Friday afternoon, she was a decade into her second calling.

After she moved to Natchez to take care of her mother, Cerita Brown, she thought she was going to get some much needed rest from work.

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“After seven months of retirement, I couldn’t take it anymore,” she said.

So she began looking for work, and when someone told her she should apply with the Natchez-Adams School District, her first reaction was to laugh.

“I said, ‘You work for 25 years and retire — do you think you’re going to work in the school system?’” Williams-Jackson said.

But she relented and applied, and things just seemed to fall into place.

“I was interviewed the same day I applied, and then they told me there was an opening at the high school. In fact, they asked me if I could start the next day,” she said.

Since taking the job as a computer technician and paraprofessional with the school district, Williams-Jackson has spent those years trying to direct students in the way they should go.

“I love my job, and I have become mom to almost all the children,” she said.

“When they do wrong, I discipline them, and when they do right, I compliment them.”

Williams-Jackson has had a number of students come back to see her after their graduation, some from as far away as Australia.

“I had one former student come by who had moved to Atlanta, and when they told her she couldn’t see me, she said, ‘You might as well call the police, because I am going to see Ms. Williams,’” Williams-Jackson said.

That student later told Williams-Jackson that it was the positive assertiveness that she taught her that helped the student make it when she moved to Atlanta.

“I raised a survivor, and I am proud of that,” Williams-Jackson said.

Though her work isn’t always painless, Williams-Jackson said she still feels it is of great consequence.

“It’s not an easy job, but I feel I have something to offer, and they listen — and that’s what’s important.”

Williams-Jackson is married to Donald Jackson.