An educator and Idaho Education Association staff member for three decades, Larry Caldwell advocated for public education and public school educators with unparalleled passion and devotion. Larry’s mission was to help IEA members and local education associations stand up and speak out for fairness and justice for Idaho’s students and the teaching profession with courage. The Larry Caldwell Member Advocacy Award was created to honor an IEA member who confronts extraordinary challenges to ensure their students, their school, their colleagues or their profession are treated fairly and justly.

Joel Williams

Fruitland Education Association

Nominated by: Chris Lutzow

Joel Williams is the 2023 recipient of IEA’s Larry Caldwell Member Advocacy Award.

Joel Williams made a career out of advocating for his colleagues and public education.

A storied and beloved band director, and an educator since the 1995-96 school year, Williams is no stranger to the work of the Idaho Education Association. And even with retirement on the horizon at the end of this year, “Joel has been continuing his selfless service,” according to his nominator for IEA’s Larry Caldwell Member Advocacy Award.

“While he looks towards his well-deserved retirement, Joel’s many contributions cannot be forgotten as he treks into his next journey,” wrote his colleague Chris Lutzow in his nomination of Williams.

In his final year in the band room and as Fruitland Education Association’s past previous president, Williams “has been an invaluable aid and mentor to the local’s leadership team, and their members. He also continues to mentor newer teachers by preparing them for leadership roles in the band he has been formative in leading for over twenty years.”

A 28-year veteran educator, Williams is a familiar fixture in IEA circles. He served several years as his local education association’s president and on IEA’s Board of Directors, as well as being involved in IEA’s Political Action Committee for Education (PACE) and government relations committees. He’s also testified on behalf of students, public schools and educators in front of the Idaho Legislature.

In addition to his many years as Fruitland’s award winning band director, Williams also has served as region president of the Idaho Music Educators Association and has over 20 years of experience volunteering his time with the nationally touring Troopers Drum and Bugle Corps. In these capacities, he has taught, mentored, and helped formulate the growth of countless students as he fostered their music education.

“Joel Williams has spent 28 years teaching, mentoring, and leading within Idaho’s educational community,” Lutzow wrote. “While he looks towards his well deserved retirement, Joel’s many contributions cannot be forgotten as he treks into his next journey.”

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