By Ben Rodgers
SUAMICO – April White instills leadership and risk taking into her third grade class, and the results speak for themselves.
One of the recipients of this year’s Golden Apple Awards, White found when students are given the right tools to succeed coupled with encouragement that nothing can hold them down.
“My job is easy because I have 25 teachers in here with me,” the Suamico Elementary School teacher said.
White said the distinction doesn’t belong to her, but to her entire class.
“I like the process,” she said. “I like watching them from when they walk in the door on the first day of school and how they grow as learners throughout the year.”
One example that took place on Tuesday, Feb. 13. The class was working on the language arts part of the curriculum but incorporating geology into their work.
Students were able to pick what they wanted to work on, and the methods used to compile their research.
White gave guidance as needed, but the learning was in the hands of the students.
“It starts with relationships. I feel like my students know me and I really know them. I know them as people and I know them as learners,” White said. “Students are excited to learn when they have a choice and a voice in their learning and it actually excites me to see where they are going to take their learning path.”
White’s job is to make sure her students have what they need to succeed.
“You have to have a structure,” she said. “Sometimes it can look unstructured but there is a foundation. They are filling their toolbox with learning tools as they progress in their learning.”
In her second career, White’s original foundation was in business lending.
But that changed when she had her children. She took off from her job to be with them and in the process spent time volunteering in their school, Suamico Elementary.
She subbed for four years before obtaining her teaching license and 14 years later the rest is history.
Just as she has supported her students throughout the years, this year’s class was there to support her when she was awarded the Golden Apple.
“The moment is surreal,” White said. “I was truly surprised and humbled by receiving the award because there are so many deserving teachers in this building as well as in the surrounding districts.”
White helps set the tone for the school, according to administration.
“April leads by example and her passion for teaching and learning is a driving force on her team and in our building,” said Suamico Elementary Principal Ryan Welnetz. “I couldn’t be more proud to celebrate her success along with our Suamico students and family.”
She also is at the top of the class for the district when it comes to teachers.
“We are grateful for Partners in Education led by the Greater Green Bay Chamber recognizing teaching excellence in Northeast Wisconsin,” said HSSD Superintendent Damian LaCroix. “April White exemplifies the excellence and compassion we seek in the best of our educators. April and her colleagues at Suamico guide students, staff, and families toward our vision of an authentic, innovative, connected, and inspired experience for an ever-changing future.”
This year’s ceremony will be held on Wednesday, April 18.