Southside’s White enjoys teaching and sports|Juggles science classes, duties as athletics director

Published 7:18 pm Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Lifestyles & Features Editor

CHOCOWINITY — Sean White, athletics director and a science teacher at Southside High School, strives to be a role model for his students on the basketball court and in the classroom.
The 2003-2004 Southside Teacher of the Year now teaches biology, physical science and earth science, juggling that responsibility with the myriad duties of overseeing the school’s athletic programs. He stays busy, to say the least.
“It’s a nonstop job,” White said. “But I enjoy it, I love doing it.”
He said his duties include the minor, such as overseeing the school’s laundry facilities where sports uniforms are cleaned, to the more important ones, like dealing with a bus that has broken down on the side of the road, stranding students and staff returning from an away ball game.
“The responsibilities are endless,” White said. “I meet with the officials when we have home games, and I handle the gate money before and after games. And I’ll work at the concession stand when I’m needed.”
White is also in charge of buying equipment and scheduling games, and with 16 sports at Southside, from cheerleading to basketball, that is no small task. And on top of that, he coaches the junior-varsity basketball team.
White said he wouldn’t be able to effectively do is job without the untiring support of his family — wife Shannon and sons Kyle, a freshman at Southside, and Kevin, a third-grade student at Chocowinity Primary School.
“This job does take a lot of family time away, but I’m blessed with a great family because my boys and my wife want to be out here with me, too,” White said.
A 1985 graduate of South Lenoir High School, White was involved in three sports — football, basketball and track. It was while in high school that he zeroed in on his career choice.
“I had a fabulous high-school teacher name Lena Poitier. She was married to Sidney Poitier’s brother,” White recalled. “She was my inspiration as far as science goes. She motivated me to become a science teacher.”
White said he particularly enjoyed the science labs in high school, so he tries to incorporate those as much as he can when planning his classes.
“I loved doing the labs, so I try to do one or two a week with my students now,” he said. “I try to take the kids out of the book a lot. That’s why we do a lot of hands-on stuff. The kids here are just great. I’ve got good classes.”
Oddly enough, White left the teaching profession for a few years. After high school, he attended Lenoir Community College and East Carolina University, earning a bachelor’s degree in biology. He then became certified to teach, landing his first job at Kinston High School in 1993.
White moved his family to Beaufort County in 1997, and he went to work for PCS Phosphate. But he yearned to return to the classroom.
“It got to the point where I missed teaching and coaching, so I told my wife I needed to get back in,” he said.
One day, he had to leave a recreation-league ball game in which his oldest son was playing. It was time to begin his shift at PCS, and he couldn’t stay until the end of the game. As it turned out, his son made the game-winning play.
“That was probably the last straw,” White said. “Pretty soon after that, I got a call to come and interview about this job at Southside.”
The high school has become a second home to White. One of his goals is to establish a nature trail in the woods on campus, creating a sort of outdoor classroom for the students.
White says he’s in the business of educating youth for the long haul.
“I can’t see myself leaving anytime soon,” he said. “We’ve got a great faculty here that supports the athletic program.”