BIC educator Janice White still enjoying her long career

Tuesday, August 29, 2017
Pictured are, from left: Sharon Sullivan, para-professional; Janice White, BIC East special education teacher; Nicole Stewart, BIC East prinicpal; and Emma Cate, East special education teacher. (Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock)

Janice White has begun her 43rd year with the Leachville/Buffalo Island Central School District. Mrs. White has not only spent all of those years at the same school, she has spent them all in the same classroom.

She graduated from Leachville High School in 1970, went to Arkansas State University earning a degree in special education in 1974. She went on to earn a master's degree in 1975.

It was the fall of 1974 when White stepped into the classroom for her first group of students. She had no idea four decades later she would still be as excited to come to work as she was on her first day and still be in the same classroom.

A plaque in Ms. White's classroom.

She is the daughter of the late Mae and Dick Brock of Leachville. Mrs. White said her parents had a positive influence on everything she did.

“I don't have the words to describe Janice White,” East Elementary Principal Nicole Stewart said. “She has the kindest heart, is soft spoken, loves every one of her students like they are her own, gives unconditionally, works non-stop, truly loves her job and is dedicated 100 percent to the children. She goes way above and beyond. She has touched so many lives, including her co-workers, students, families of her students, and the community. She is a role model. She comes to school every day ready to go, sharing her smile with all of us. She loves this school. She never makes her job about her. She wants and works toward what is best for the children.”

Her classroom has more than just memories of lessons. Her husband actually asked her out on their first date in the very classroom. Following a faculty meeting in the high school, she returned to her classroom to find Bob White, basketball coach, sitting at a table in her classroom.

“He asked me out to dinner,” she remembers. “I said not at this time. He said you may not say yes right now but sooner or later you will go out to dinner with me at least one time. I did say yes and I've been going out to dinner with him ever since.”

She and Coach White have been married for 38 years.

"I am so thankful he came into my life," she said. "He supports me in my work. I also had the opportunity to go with him as he coached basketall, kept the books and made wonderful friends of the players and their families. I have so many people come by and ask me how Coach is doing."

Coach White is retired from teaching.

Their friends are quick to say they have supported one another through the years.

"Bob has always said if anything happens to me he will bury me outside my classroom window because that is where my heart is," she said.

She has taught special education since day one and has never wanted to change.

"It has changed through the years," she said. "We have so much more technology today and so much more paper work. The students today are very fortuante to have the technology."

Mrs. White said her joy of teaching comes from the students and her co-workers.

"We are more than co-workers," she said. "We are friends. We are like a big family here."

She is looking forward to moving into the new elementary building which will soon be under construction.

"I think it will be really good for our kids to all be together," she said. "At one time the students did not get acquainted until junior high. We have restructured the last couple of years and it has worked out well. Grades 5-6 are on the Leachville campus and grades 3-4 are on the Monette campus."

Mrs. White gives credit to her co-workers for making her career such a joy.

"I have had so many good people to work with through the years," she said. She has had many good para-professionals. Presently Sharon Sullivan is her para-professional and Emma Cate teaches next door. Ms. Cate has taught next to her for five years.

"She has been a mentor to me and has become my best friend," Ms. Emma Cate said. "I have learned a lot from her. I have always known you can set the tone when you walk into the classroom. She does. Every morning, every class. She makes it a point to greet each child, talk to them, make sure they are having a good day. Mrs. White cares about the children, their parents and this school. I've not met many people in my 50 years as devoted to her school and community as she is."

"I have had so many good people to work with," Mrs. White said. "I do want to mention my friend Christeen Littlefield. She worked with me for years. She was killed in an automobile accident but she did love working with the children."

Changes may have come about, but education is still basic. Mrs. White has no plans to retire.

"As long as I have good health and I feel I can contribute to the students I want to keep teaching," she said. "I've been told by friends I will know when it is time for me to retire. So far I have not felt it was time. I can't imagine not teaching. It is very rewarding."

Mrs. White will be moving to a new classroom in the new building and she is okay with it because it is good for the children.

"Someday Jesus will say to Janice, 'well done my faithful servant,'" Principal Stewart said. "I hope she will be with us for at least another 20 years because she brings joy into the school and her students every day."

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