Nene grew up in Augusta, graduating from Glenn Hills High School in 1979. She attended Augusta Tech and planned to become an executive secretary, but her boyfriend (and eventual first husband) wanted her to join him as he began his career in the Air Force. She left school two quarters short of getting her degree, joining her significant other for a short stint in Biloxi, Miss., before moving with him to Colorado Springs, Col.
Nene eventually remarried. Her second husband, Cheyenne Williams, Sr., worked as a truck driver for 18 years. All the miles riding with him sparked an interest in her. She wanted to drive, too.
“I was intrigued by the big trucks and how they would go down the road,” she said. “I asked him to teach me to drive.”
After working in retail for 12 years, Nene obtained her CDL license. She soon got a job driving for the Richmond County School System, working for 17 years before moving over to the Family Y. One of her main inspirations: Freida Riley, her school bus driver from her youth.
“She just impressed me from the way she handled the kids,” Nene said. “She showed them love, but she didn’t play with them when it came to them safety rules. She made sure she got us back and forth home every day.
“I just piggybacked off what I saw riding with her for six years. It just always was an interest.”
Cheyenne Williams, Sr., died in November. Nene has two stepchildren through her second husband.
“They consider me Mama,” she said.
When Nene is not driving for Augusta Prep, she also works for Jani-King of Augusta Commercial Cleaning. She works two hours a night at Carole Fabrics, and Nene takes her same outgoing personality with her to that job.
“The same way that I am at Augusta Prep is the same way I am at Carole Fabrics,” she said, laughing. “Whatever I do, I try to give my 100. I try to do my best even if I’m feeling bad. I try to go the extra mile for my kids.”
How she found Prep:
Nene was working at the Family Y as the Transportation Manager’s assistant when she saw Augusta Prep Facilities Manager Oliver Spratt exercising one day. Oliver saw Shirley Orange, also at the Family Y, and asked her about driving for Augusta Prep. Shirley mentioned Nene was also seeking a job driving as well. Oliver chatted with Nene about the job, but she responded with a question.
“Where’s Augusta Prep?” Nene asked.
She soon found her way to campus.