About Richard Williams (1933-2003)

Richard Williams, Jr., had an impact on everyone who met with him. Many visitors to Blount County will always have fond memories of our beautiful county because of a lasting memory of their encounter with a great man, Richard Williams, Jr. He was not only one of Blount County's greatest ambassadors, but he was a husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother, friend, cousin, deacon, Sunday School teacher, soldier, and Blount County Commissioner. He was the perfect example of a faithful servant and friend to God and man. Richard used his talents and gifts from God: courage, love, compassion, boldness, and strength to overcome many obstacles. He became one of the greatest leaders in the history of Blount County because he was strong in the Lord and in the power of His might, for he was not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ. It has been my privilege to have been given the opportunity to observe first hand through knowing Richard Williams, Jr., the qualities that make a great leader. I shall be forever grateful that my travels down life's road included a little time to walk and talk with one of the greatest leaders I have ever known, Richard Williams, Jr. -Rhonda Pitts

               Richard Williams Prays in The Tennessee State House Chamber


About Our Staff

George Williams-Executive Director/Founder

George Williams is a retired Tennessee Valley Authority Manager and Oak Ridge Associated Universities Educational Specialist. Williams attended the University of Tennessee. He previously served on The Alcoa Board of Education, Tennessee Schools Boards Association Board of Directors, served as Chairman of Blount County Chamber of Commerce, Chairman of Blount County Historical Museum, COGIC Youth Department President, Jurisdictional AIM Chairman as well as Alcoa City Commissioner. Presently George serves as a member of Alcoa Inc Community Advisory Board and as a member of the Clayton Center for the Arts Board of Directors.

Patty Littlejohn - Assistant Executive Director
Patty was involved in the creation of the Academy and brings twenty-seven years of experience in personnel management and training to the academy. Patty Littlejohn attended Chabot Community College, in Haywood, California, with extensive experience in Human Resources and Custome Service in the retail industry and food services. Patty serves as the primary partner liason and is responsible for records management, unit coordination, and general academy administration.

Steve Gorman

Director of Fred Forster Institute
Steve Gorman is a retired telecommunications professional. He spent a thirty year career in telecommunications during which time he worked for three Fortune 100 companies. These were AT&T, MCI and Northrop Grumman. He held three different engineering titles at AT&T as well as various management roles. At MCI he was responsible for coordination and management of the top tier customer relations in Tennessee and Kentucky. At Northrop Grumman he worked on the Homeland Security Team in cooperation with the US Department of Homeland Security. Throughout this career, Steve was always interested in teaching and helping others with personal development. As such, he regularly held training seminars and classes for fellow employees. He continues this passion with the young people attending the General Fred Forster Institute. He currently resides in Maryville, Tennessee, is married to Patti, and has two adult children, Chad and Stephanie.

Dr. Joy Foster - Academy Kiddet Program Director

Joy Foster is currently serving as an administrator with Knox County Schools. She began her career in the Knox County School system in 1987 right after high school as a teacher assistant, in order to help pay her tuition at the University of Tennessee Knoxville. Upon graduation in 1993, she accepted a position as a second grade teacher at Powell Elementary School and worked as a graduate teaching assistant in the reading center at the University of Tennessee until 2002. In 2002, she accepted a position as a curriculum facilitator at Green Magnet Math and Science Academy. She has served as assistant principal at Beaumont Performing Arts Academy, Blue Grass Elementary and Farragut Primary. For three years, she served as Principal of Shannondale Elementary School.

Joy received her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Tennessee Knoxville in 1990, Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction in 1994, Specialist in Education in 1996, Master of Science in Administration and Supervision in 1999, and received the Terminal Degree of Doctorate in Theory and Policy in Teacher Education, in 2004. She is currently pursuing additional studies for her MBA.

Joy’s honors include being selected by the “Great Schools Partnership as one of the top 10 principals in Knox County Schools. Her previous school was a Reward School for the state of Tennessee for the 2012-2013 school year. She has also been recognized as Teacher of the Year. She was selected to be a judge for the State of Tennessee Teacher of the Year Program. She was selected by the Knoxville Area Chamber Partnership Leader Education Program. She was selected as a panel member for the Educational Testing Service.

Joy has received numerous awards: She received the award as the Healthy Team leader for promoting healthy food choices through a health fair. Through partnership with the Department of Health and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, she received a monetary visiting scholar assistantship in the Molecular Biology Department. Due to her GPA of 3.9, she was a recipient of a 4 year Fellowship award for her Doctoral Program in the college of Education.

Joy has served as a board member for the Weekend Academy, LARKS ( Linking Librarians with At Risk Kids.), Shannondale Elementary School Foundation and has served as a member of Junior League of Knoxville.


General and Mrs. Forster
General Forster was a major leader and contributor in the east Tennessee region. The General entered the Air Force in September 1968 after receiving his commission through ROTC at the University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee. He served eight years on extended active duty in the U. S. Air Force where he was a T-38 instructor pilot, served on a joint staff as an operations plans officer at Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand, and as a KC-135 pilot and instructor pilot. He joined the Tennessee Air National Guard in October 1976. Following assignments as group plans officer and aircraft maintenance officer, General Forster was assigned command of the 134th Air Refueling Group in December 1987, the Group later became a Wing. General Forster was promoted to Brigadier General in December 1998 and served as Chief of Staff, Headquarters, Tennessee Air National Guard until July 2002, when he assumed duties as Assistant Adjutant General, Air. He retired from the Tennessee Air National Guard in May 2003 with the rank of Major General. He served as the President/CEO of the Blount Partnership, consisting of the Blount County Chamber of Commerce, Industrial Development Board, Smoky Mountain Convention & Visitors Bureau and Blount County Chamber Foundation from January 1999 until his retirement on June 30, 2010. General Forster lived in Maryville, Tennessee, with his wife, Carolyn, and two daughters, Rebecca, and daughter and son-in-law Joy and Will Carver, grandson Drew Carver and granddaughter Caroline Carver.

The University of the South, Sewanee, TN - B.A., English Literature, 1968; Troy State University, Alabama, M.S. Foundations of Education, 1972; Squadron Officer School (Distinguished Graduate) 1971; Air Command and Staff College (Seminar) 1982; Army Command General Staff College (Commandant’s List) (Seminar) 1982; Air War College (Seminar) 1986; The Senior Seminar (U.S. Dept. of State, Washington, D.C.), 1994; U. S. Chamber Institute for Organizational Management, 2004.

Rating: Command Pilot; Flight Hours: More than 4500 hours; Aircraft Flown: T-42, T-37, T-38, EB-66, T-39, KC-135A, KC-135E

Distinguished Service Medal; Legion of Merit; Bronze Star Medal; Meritorious Service Medal; Joint Service Commendation Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Valor with 7 devices; Combat Readiness Medal with 6 devices; National Defense Service Medal with 1 device; Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal; Southwest Asia Service Medal with 2 devices; Armed Forces Service Medal; Air Force Overseas Short Tour Ribbon; Air Force Longevity Service Award with 6 devices; Armed Forces Reserve Medal with 2 devices; Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon; Air Force Training Ribbon; Kuwait Liberation Medal (SA); Kuwait Liberation Medal (K); Tennessee Distinguished Service Ribbon; Tennessee Commendation Medal; Tennessee War Service Ribbon; Tennessee Service Ribbon with Service Star and 3 devices; Tennessee Volunteer Ribbon; Tennessee Distinguished Unit Commendation; Tennessee Volunteer Retention and Recruiting Unit.

Lieutenant – June 4, 1968; First Lieutenant – March 9, 1970; Captain – September 9, 1971; Major – September 14, 1977; Lieutenant Colonel – July 9, 1983; Colonel – July 1, 1987; Brigadier General – November 4, 1998; Major General – July 15, 2002.

Technology 2020, Board of Directors, Chairman; Nine Counties One Vision, Co-Chairperson; East Tennessee Economic Development Agency (ETEDA), Board of Directors; Maryville College, TN, National Advisory Committee; Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority, Board of Commissioners; Tremont Board of Directors, Chairman; Tennessee Chamber of Commerce Executives Board of Directors. Blount Memorial Hospital Foundation, Board of Directors; Goodwill Industries of Knoxville, Board of Directors; Maryville-Alcoa Blount Co. Recreation & Parks Commission; Dogwood Arts Festival of Knoxville, Board of Directors; Blount County Chamber Foundation Board of Directors 1993-94; Alcoa Scholarship Selection Committee; Blount County Chamber of Commerce, Chairman; Leadership Knoxville Graduate; Bank of East Tennessee, Regional Board of Directors; Youth Service U.S.A. of Knoxville, Board of Directors; First Tennessee Bank - Region Board of Directors; U.T. Knoxville, Chancellor’s Associates; Blount County Education Foundation Board of Directors; United Way of Blount County, Board of Directors; United Way of Blount County, Campaign Chairman; Leadership Blount County Graduate.

National Guard Association of Tennessee, President; Air Force Association; Veteran of Foreign Wars; Kiwanis Club of Alcoa; Knoxville Civitan Club; Alpha Tau Omega; Omicron Delta Kappa; Blue Key; Mt. Lebanon Baptist Church, Maryville.

Boy Scouts of America, Great Smoky Mtn. Council, Citizen of the Year, 1992; Public Relations Society of America, Volunteer Chapter, Community Service Award, 2000; Boy Scouts of America, Great Smoky Mountain Council – Silver Beaver Award, 2007


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