JUDSONIA — With the schools serving as the heartbeat of any rural community, the pulse of the White County Central School District is stronger than ever, thanks to the dedication of School Board President Stan Yingling and a host of patrons like him.
Yingling was recently honored with the Pinnacle Award from the Arkansas School Board Association for his completion of 200 hours of board training.
During his 20 years as a member of the White County Central School Board, Yingling has seen the district grow and evolve and strive to stay on the cutting edge of student safety and technology. Attending training meetings has helped him in those areas, he said.
“Board members are only required to have six hours of training per year, but I enjoy going to the meetings and hearing about other districts. We can feed off that for our own district,” Yingling said. “Today, technology is moving so fast, and knowing what [other districts] are doing helps us pick and choose what is best for us here. We don’t have a major city, or even a post office, but we feel like we are right up there with the bigger schools in providing the best education for our kids.”
Yingling graduated from White County Central High School in 1971. His wife, Benita, received her diploma from White County Central in 1974, and after completing teaching certification at Harding University in Searcy, returned to the district as part of the elementary-school faculty. The couple’s two daughters graduated from White County Central as well. The tradition continues with the Yinglings’ grandson, who is a student at the district’s elementary school.
Board training encompasses a variety of areas, including community relations, fundraising and how to deal with issues within the schools, such as bullying, Yingling said.
“We believe and hope that we are doing a good job in preventing bullying,” he said. “Today it goes beyond the face-to-face encounters. Now we have the social media and bullying on the Internet. We want our teachers to be on the lookout for signs of bullying because students are usually afraid to tell on someone.”
Shelia Whitlow, superintendent of schools for the district, said Yingling has been a shining example of community service in his years on the school board.
“Stan Yingling is a vital member of the board of directors,” she said. “His years of experience on the board help the new members as decisions for the district are made. He has a passion for ensuring that all students learn and that the individual needs of each student are met. This Pinnacle Award demonstrates his desire to continue to learn and be the best board member possible.”
The campus recently opened a new safe-room facility, which was given to the district by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to be used as a storm shelter. The building also houses classrooms.
Another recent improvement in the district has been the installation of locks that prevent visitors from entering the school buildings without properly identifying themselves. Flashing lights on both ends of the campus are also soon to be installed as part of the continuing changes that keep White County Central growing and changing with the times.