Upper School

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Patrick Williams

Faculty Information
Location(s) Upper School
Title(s) Upper School Math/Science
Contact Information
School Email
School Phone
(828) 274-0758   x362
Other Information
Dr. Patrick Williams is currently in his second year teaching at CDS as a member of the Upper School faculty in both the math and science departments. Before CDS, Dr. Williams was an aerospace engineering graduate student at the Pennsylvania State University, earning both a M.S and Ph.D. During his tenure at Penn State, he was also a teaching assistant for the department of aerospace engineering, a tutor for student-athletes, and taught a semester spacecraft design class. While he originally went into graduate school to pursue a career in research, he found that teaching was his real calling, and couldn’t be happier than to end up at a school like CDS. Dr. Williams has also been a researcher for the Air Force Research Laboratory, software engineer for Analytical Graphics Inc., a design engineer for Boeing, and a fly fishing guide (He still spends his summers in Asheville guiding). He has also been published in technical journals (such as the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics), and presented at numerous aerospace engineering conferences. Aside from technical papers, Dr. Williams has also been published in a literary fly fishing quarterly, The Flyfish Journal.
Get to know Dr. Patrick Williams:
In what ways can you teach/engage children at CDS that you couldn't at other schools? The support to take risks. You can’t be a consistent home run hitter without striking out every now and then. CDS creates a great environment for teachers to feel free to swing for the fences.”  
What do you like most about your job at CDS? The people I work with, both students and co-workers.”
In your opinion, how does the CDS community inspire students to be courageous and curious, wonder about things that they don’t understand, try new things, and develop individual passions? CDS does a fantastic job at hiring teachers and administrators who love the process of learning, and I think it really rubs off on the students. Each member of the CDS staff has an interesting and inspiring background, and I don’t know any staff member who has taken a linear path through life. We have all failed, adapted, worked hard, and eventually succeeded in multiple life conquests. Our students are curious and passionate in part because we are all curious and passionate. The more the students display these traits, the more it fuels us to continue them further. It’s a really great energy between the students and staff here, in that we all constantly learning from, and teaching each other.” 
How would you describe your classroom? “A place where students learn valuable life lessons, disguised as an exploration into the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus.”
What books and authors inspire you, your curriculum, and your classroom? Why? Josh Waitzkin’s The Art of Learning because it illustrates that learning is a skill which can be practiced and refined through literally any process, be it traditional academics, sports, chess, or even poker. He conjectures that the ability to obtain mastery in any discipline is not so much a matter of raw talent, but instead relies one’s ability to practice, adapt, and learn through failure. This ability is the essence of learning, and one of the best ways to practice it is in school.”
What is your favorite quote about education, mentorship, children, and/or learning? Give someone a fish, and you feed them for a day; show them how to catch fish, and you feed them for a lifetime.”
How would you describe yourself and/or your approach to your job in 10 words or less? “Embracing the moment.”  
What personal passion brings balance to your life? Fly fishing.”
How is CDS different from what you experienced as a child in school? Why/how is what you see now valuable? It was actually very similar, but did not have nearly the positive teacher/student interaction that we have at CDS.” 
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