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Meet the teacher – Emma White

Inspiring people in and out of the classroom

Lauren Estes-Velez

Hartselle Enquirer

For anyone familiar with the Danville community or school, one name will always come to mind: Emma White.

For over 40 years, she has worked as a teacher in the Morgan County School System. She said, she knew early on that she would choose the job of teaching.

“My subject concentration is in the areas of math and science inclusion in the general education curriculum,” White said. “I have always loved and excelled in drama/theatre and have been presented with numerous opportunities in the field of theatre and film, but I never felt complete. I love people. I knew I possessed a special gift to reach others through teaching. I chose this job. This is the reason I have devoted my life to teaching.”

Even after nearly half a century, the passion for teaching still lies deeply in White’s heart.

“I love my job. I am surrounded by outstanding fellow teachers like Mrs. Juanita Penn and supportive leadership with my principal, Mr. Marty Chambers, and Assistant Principal, Mr. Gary Couey,” White said. “The faculty and staff of Danville High School work closely together so that we may provide the best education possible for the students. As a teacher, I have the awesome opportunity to not only change the world, but to make a difference in lives of each student that I am blessed to instruct. Education is the formidable substance used to build great students, families, and communities. I am honored and humbled to be a teacher.”

Many of White’s students affectionately refer to her as “mama” instead of Mrs. White. She has built a bond with many students that she says have truly made an impact on her.

“Oftentimes, my students would dread the weekends and cry because they would have to separate from me for ‘two whole days,’” White said. “ It is quite heartwarming to experience the outpouring of love from my babies. I want to see my students work in action and see the strides they make in each subject area. It is extremely gratifying when information is imparted in them and seeing them understand, not only concepts, but practical application as well.”

A native of Jackson, Mississippi, White is the seventh of eight children. She said she grew up in a loving home that encouraged her to be the active person that she is today.

“I was raised in Christian home with my parents, Mr. Wille and Emma Brown,” White said. “When I was in the seventh grade, I remember gathering all the children on Scott St., in Jackson and setting up a makeshift classroom. I would teach the neighborhood children what I had learned in school and helped them with their homework. I felt an overwhelming compassion and internal gratification when helping others. It was at this moment that I knew teaching was my calling. My purpose. My life. I graduated from Jackson State University with a double major earning a B.S. in Special Education and B.A. in Theatre, graduating Summa Cum Laude,” White said. “I also received a Master’s degree in Multiple Learning Handicaps from Alabama A&M University. In addition to teaching, I serve as the Senior Pastor of Redeeming Love Outreach Ministries located in Decatur, AL. My husband, Bishop Paul James White, started the ministry in 1993. After the passing of my husband in 2002, I continued the ministry with a strong desire to redeem people back to the love of God.”

One teaching memory that sticks out to White involves her using skills she gathered during a French student exchange program in college.

“Two French students, a brother and sister, transferred into our school system,” White said. “French was their primary language and they were having a difficult time understanding English. I was quite fluent in French having served as a French exchange student during my college years at Jackson State University. I volunteered to help the students make a smooth transition into our school by serving as their primary teacher. It was very exciting and fascinating to the students.”

White is still very involved in the community and with the Church that her husband started over 20 years ago. Every year, she sets new goals for herself as a teacher, but one goal will always be the same, to help students become exceptional learners.

“For this year, my objective is to provide each of my students with an individualized program designed to meet their needs as an exceptional learner,” White said. “It is my desire to enable each student to utilize the potential that he/she possesses to become a well-adjusted contributing member of society. I believe that each student, regardless of exceptionality, is entitled to this opportunity in the least restrictive environment. I am overjoyed when students come back to visit me and tell me that they are successful in a career because I inspired them pursue their dreams and goals. Oftentimes, my students have brought their experiences to the classroom and it enlightens me in ways I never expected. It is my desire to always want to stay connected with each student and the parents to keep them informed and create effective teaching practices in my profession. I maintain an active schedule as a full-time Teacher, Pastor, and travel extensively for conferences, retreats, workshops, seminars, and revivals. I currently reside in Trinity. I am also the mother of four beautiful daughters and have eight grandchildren.”

A few accolades that White has reached include:

–       1969 Miss Lanier High School

–       1972-1973 Miss Jackson State University

–       1974 Miss Black Mississippi (First to earn this title)

–       National Thespian Society

–       Who’s Who Among College Students

–       Morgan County Teacher of the Year

–       Most Outstanding Young Educator of Alabama

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