BIC elementary teachers receive Golden Apple Awards

Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Janice White, BIC East

Buffalo Island Central elementary teachers, Janice White and Reba Wimberley, were recently selected to receive the Golden Apple Awards presented by Jonesboro Rotary Club for the 2011-2012 year.

The two were among 12 teachers throughout the Craighead County area receiving the award. They were honored with a luncheon on May 29 at the St. Bernard's Auditorium in Jonesboro. Each received a plaque. The plaque was presented to each teacher for their "Exceptional leadership and competence as a professional educator."

Ms. White teaches special education at BIC East Elementary and Mrs. Wimberley teaches 4-6 math applications at BIC West Elementary.

Reba Wimberley, BIC West

Janice White

BIC East Elementary Principal Nicole Stewart commended Mrs. White for the outstanding job she does.

"She is very deserving of this award," Mrs. Stewart said. "She gives 110 percent to her students. She is amazing and goes above and beyond what is expected."

At the end of the 2011-2012 school year Mrs. White completed her 38th year in the classroom. Not just any classroom -- the same classroom.

"I was surprised when I heard I had received the Golden Apple Award," White said. "I don't know who submitted my name. I accepted the award but I think receiving it is a credit to our school. I have good people to work with. We have a good administration, good parents, and good students. It takes all of us working together. That is how progress is made. This award is a tribute to all of us at BIC East."

Through the years, Mrs. White has had the opportunity to take other positions in regular education or in supervision but she enjoys working in resource and interacting with her students.

She praises her co-workers.

"I have always had wonderful people to work with," Mrs. White said. "Chris Littlefield worked with me until she was killed in an automobile accident. That was a difficult time. Patsy Dunlap came out of retirement to help us finish the year. Sharon Sullivan now works with me as a paraprofessional and she does a great job. Principal Nicole Stewart keeps things well organized and is good to work with. As I said, this award is a tribute to all of them."

Mrs. White has been part of the Leachville/BIC School District most all of her life. She graduated from Leachville High School in 1970, received a degree from Arkansas State University in 1974 and a Master's degree in 1975, and returned to her hometown to teach. She has double majors, elementary education and special education.

She has seen a lot of changes since she started her career in 1974.

"I feel like a new teacher each year," she said. "The technology and paperwork keep us on our toes. Teachers have to be willing to learn and make changes."

Mrs. White grew up in Leachville. She is the daughter of the late Stanley "Dick" and Mae Brock. She is married to Bob White, a retired coach and teacher.

"Bob has always supported me in my career and I appreciate him," she said.

Reba Wimberley

Mrs. Wimberley has 18 years in education, all at Buffalo Island Central. She taught 10 years in high school before moving to upper elementary where she has been for the last eight years.

She is a 1973 graduate of Monette High School. She did not have plans to become a teacher and went into the retail business with her mother. They owned and operated Dixie's in Monette for 20 years.

She returned to college in 1993.

"I took a few classes at MCCC to see if I really wanted to go to college," she said.

She went on to Arkansas State University where she earned a degree in elementary education with certifications in secondary math.

"I really did not like math when I was in school but when I matured and started college I realized how important math is in our everyday lives," she said.

She said math has changed through the years and more and more is expected of students at a younger age.

"The Common Core curriculum is going to take us back to the basics and give our students a deep understanding of math and how it is used," Mrs. Wimberley said.

She tries to make math fun for her students and the projects they work on spark the interest.

"I want my students to learn but I also want them to enjoy," she said. "I don't want them to dread coming to class and count down the minutes until it is over."

Some of the projects she uses in her math application classes include fantasy baseball. Students pick a team, graph the scores, and use math in the project. She has done this with basketball and the students really enjoy it. In her fifth grade classes she will give a moose a map. Students will take a virtual trip through the Appalachian Trail and will compute weights, cost, distance, times, all as if they are hiking the trail.

Mrs. Wimberley gives credit for the success of her program to her co-workers, principal, administration, and everyone who has a part.

"We have a wonderful math coach in Karalee Gipson and literacy coach in Karen McClelland," she said. "The other math teacher is Brooke Whitley and she is good to work with. Principal Dr. Kima Stewart is very supportive. The lower teachers do a good job preparing our students for us. We all work together so we can move forward each year. This award should go to all of them. I am just the fortunate one who got to enjoy the luncheon. It belongs to all of us."

She said she enjoys teaching and it has been a good career choice for her.

"I don't have children of my own but I get to have 100 every year," she said.

She and her husband, Kevin Wimberley, live in the Monette area. He is a farmer. During her summer months she helps with errands and takes care of the day to day books.

When they can, the couple enjoys taking trips on their Gold Wing motorcycle.

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