To come back where the passion for education really began is pretty sentimental for me. It kind of encourages me to continue to, hopefully, motivate and inspire other people to do what they want to do in their life.Dr. Torian White
RINCON — After two decades of roaming the range of education, a happy Mustang is headed home.
During its April 3 meeting, the Effingham County Board of Education hired Dr. Torian White to serve as principal of South Effingham High School starting July 1. White was a sophomore at South Effingham when it opened in 1996 and was named its valedictorian in 1999.
“It’s really special about him moving back,” Superintendent Dr. Randy Shearouse said.
White, currently the principal at Southeast Bulloch High School in Brooklet, is eager to get started at his alma mater.
“It really is one of those things that is kind of like, if I ever had the opportunity and I was selected, I would go for it,” he said. “To see that school to continue to excel and thrive after all these years, it just has always had a special place in my heart. ... I’m just really excited about being surrounded by family members and friends.
“There are even some staff members that are still there since I graduated in 1999.”
White, one of the first two drum majors for the Marching Mustangs, will succeed Dr. Mark Winters, who is headed to Effingham College & Career Academy to replace retiring CEO Dr. Barbara Prosser. Winters will remain at South Effingham until July 1.
“That’s another tremendous blessing in this whole situation,” White said. “Dr. Winters was a teacher and school administrator when I was in high school. Sometimes you can have difficulty with the outgoing person when you are transitioning into a new role but that isn’t the situation here because we have been talking since the decision was announced.
“He is excited for me and said, ‘Listen, anything that you need, we are going to make sure this is smooth.’ I really appreciate that. That’s another reason why the timing of all of this is really amazing.”
Susan Hartzog, executive director of Human Resources for the Effingham County Board of Education, is another familiar face for White. She was his fifth-grade music teacher at South Effingham Elementary School.
“To have her as the HR director, that is comforting because I know that she is going to support me,” White said. “As a principal, we often get pulled in a lot of directions and sometimes we have to make some really difficult decisions. Having the opportunity to be surrounded by those who are invested in my success and the success of our school, I’m really appreciative of that.”
White, the son of the Rev. Delmons and Herlene White, has maintained contact with his fourth-grade teacher, Connie Carter. She is the primary reason he opted to enter the education field.
“She did what a great teacher does,” he said. “That’s help a child discover their passion and identify their gifts.”
After graduating from the University of Georgia, White landed a job as a math teacher at Salem High School in Rockdale County. Four years later, he was named teacher of the year there.
“To be honest, I was going to be one of those people who taught their entire career,” White said. “I didn’t have any interest in being a school leader at first. But then I ran into another person — someone from my past — who said, ‘You really ought to think about this.’”
Before becoming principal at Southeast Bulloch Middle School five years ago, White served in Rockdale County as a middle school math coach, graduation coach, assistant high school principal and middle school principal.
White learned something valuable at every stop along his career path.
“I see so much value in everything thus far and how that will help in this new assignment,” he said. “It’s all about working with people.”
White’s wife, Tasheina, is also an education. She is a music teacher at Southeast Bulloch Middle School. She is the current Bulloch County teacher of the year.
“Since we are planning to move to kind of a midpoint, she is planning to remain where she is,” White said. “Down the road, you never know what could happen ...”
They have two children, middle schoolers Tyler and Trenton.
White’s primary career objective is to leave the kind of imprint on others that Carter left on him.
“To come back where the passion for education really began is pretty sentimental for me,” he said. “It kind of encourages me to continue to, hopefully, motivate and inspire other people to do what they want to do in their life. Find something in your life that your passionate about and go for it.
“Learn, grow and develop.”