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Austin principal should be admired

It is the end of an era at Austin Elementary.
After 19 years as principal at the school, Jan White is passing the torch. She has decided to retire at the end of this school year.

Jan dedicated her years as an educator and administrator to making the lives of children better. She always put the good of the students before all else.

For those of you who attended Austin Elementary or are parents of students who went to the school, I’m sure this was evident. I don’t know Jan very well, but I had the pleasure of writing one of the first Ennis Daily News’ Spotlight stories about Jan. Of course, we touched on her cancer diagnosis, but that’s not what she really wanted to talk about. A recurring theme in our interview was how much EISD and the city of Ennis gave to her during her formative years growing up.

After graduation from Ennis High School, Jan left for college, and eventually to California with her husband, Bud. Bud was transferred to Dallas, and they looked around the DFW area for a place to settle down, Jan was back in Ennis once again, and became a teacher here. I think I speak the entire community when I say Ennis is all the better for that decision.

Jan began her professional life in the business world, but soon realized she could do more good for society if she became a teacher. She saw her Ennis ISD career as a way to give back to the schools that gave her so much growing up.

Going back to our interview last fall, the only time Jan mentioned breast cancer was when she spoke about how grateful she was to the teachers and other staff at Austin for coming to her aid in her time of need. Although Jan tried as hard as she could to continue to fulfill the responsibilities that come with being a principal, sometimes it got difficult. She said her staff was always there to help her fill in the gaps when her illness and all the associated treatments took her energy.

Jan came to school many days when she felt under the weather, but no one could tell how bad she felt just by just looking at her. Her warm smile and bright eyes were always in attendance, even when her strength was down.

For children growing up in this community, there is no need to look outside the city limits for a worthy role model. Jan White is just as inspiring — maybe even more so — as any athlete or musician. A role model who sees your child every day can be much more effective than one on TV who has no one-on-one time with your child. Jan knows you don’t have to reach a wide audience to make a difference. A positive influence on one student — one life — is a success.

So this goes out to any student whose life has been touched by Jan White. She may be entering a new chapter in her life, but the influence she had on you as a child will stick with you. And maybe one day, when you’re wondering “What next?” you’ll remember to give back, just like she taught.

The world needs more Jan Whites, and I’m sure there’s at least a few in EISD right now. Maybe they are in kindergarten learning how to tie their shoes. Maybe they’re in a high school classroom learning about geometry proofs. Maybe there are a few in between.

After all, if Ennis helped to inspire Jan as a child so many years ago, it is certain that it is still doing the same for even the smallest of this community’s residents.

Liz Crawford is a staff writer at the Ennis Daily News and covers education and Ellis County government. She can be reached at liz@ennisdailynews.com.

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Posted by on Apr 23 2010. Filed under Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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