Civil Rights & Civics
Johnnyé White is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati with a background in education and psychology. She joined the TNSM staff in 1992 as a Classroom Assistant and Program Coordinator for the Preprimary Extended Day program. Today she leads Appreciating Differences and Civil Rights and Civics courses for 1st through 6th graders, using a curriculum she developed with (9-12) Head Teacher Laura Slanker.
Johnnyé observes that the children and parents of TNSM community make the school special for her. She remembers one kindergarten parent who wanted to uphold The New School value of “giving back to the community.” At Preprimary graduation that year, that parent “gave back” about 20 pounds of New School sandbox sand, collected from his child’s shoes and clothing over the course of three years.
Johnnyé White has been listening to and working with New School Montessori children since 1992 and has spent her life in service to those in need in our Cincinnati community.
Johnnyé’s heart and mind have been uniquely molded by:
- Education – U.C. degree in education and masters in social work and urban counseling
- Elementary teaching experiences – CPS (5-6 years early in career) and later TNSM (since 1992)
- People she has met and helped in her work with at-risk youth (CCY Cincinnati Youth Agency). Johnnyé has helped students complete their GEDs, has found people rewarding employment, rejoiced at college graduations, cried at funerals and was proud to break down barriers so 2 young women could be the first females hired on a construction crew that built Cincinnati’s iconic Hyatt Regency Hotel.
- Traveling the world twice – Johnnyé was most affected by her travels to Batswana, Africa; Paris, France; and just loved hanging out in Brazil. She said, “I traveled the world for one year and then took a 2-month breather and went back out with a friend of mine for another trip around the world!”
- Johnnyé worked briefly as a probation and parole officer for Talbot House before coming to TNSM as a preprimary Ex-Day teacher. She helped her clients find their way after some troubling times and was there with support, encouragement and guidance.
- Her work with TNSM children in Appreciating Differences – When asked to lead a black history class for the month of February, Johnnyé suggested instead a class she called Appreciating Differences that she developed with fellow TNSM teachers and friends, Laura Slanker and Colleen Blumer.
This ongoing, enriching class has been an important part of our curriculum for nearly 2 decades and has transformed our students’ lives as they have met miraculous people who have shared their life stories and taught our students that all things are possible. These community visitors to the classroom include a visually impaired puppet master and debate coach, a doctor who fits people for prosthetic limbs, a woman who weaves plastic shopping bags into mats for the homeless, a woman with CP and Asperger’s and musicians from all backgrounds – jazz, rap and more. Students also gain a sensitivity for physical differences and learn to use tools that help those with difficulties to get around more easily.
- Volunteering for over 15 years in the College Hill community, providing hot meals on Wednesdays, a food pantry, thrift store, weekly educational and musical events at The Oasis at Grace – Community Outreach on the corner of Belmont and Hamilton Avenue. This past week, Oasis brought in a speaker from a Cincinnati Domestic Violence Center (domesticviolence.org) and hosted a panel of men and women who answered questions about their experience of getting help.
Johnnyé has created this non-profit organization, coordinates a long list of volunteers needed throughout the week to keep its missions going and has raised funds to cover a new boiler and roof for their building at 5501 Hamilton Avenue.
She even rents party and event space in its 250-capacity hall with stage and full support kitchen.
- Families who’d like to volunteer in some way can contact Johnnyé to learn more about her needs and to see if there are ways they feel comfortable participating. (They also offer outdoor events.)
- Enjoy music and even join the artists with your own instrument for creative jazz play with the musical group Jazz Renaissance on Tuesdays between 2:00 and 5:30.
- To reserve rental space or to volunteer, contact Johnnye (J.) at 513-541-2415, and say you want to leave a message for J.