The White Pine County School District Teacher of the Month for January is Ms. Steffani Thompson, guidance counselor at White Pine High School. Ms. Thompson is a native of White Pine County, graduating from WPHS in 1994 with the honor of Valedictorian. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from UNLV in 1998 and began her educational career as an English teacher at WPHS in that fall. Her family relocated out of state and she continued teaching until her family returned to White Pine County. She returned to WPHS in 2007 and assumed the duties of high school counselor in 2010. She voluntarily reduced her work schedule to a half-time position, which allowed her more time with her young children and reduced the expenses for the school district during a difficult economic time.

It is important to note that while she reduced her contractual obligations to the district by 50% there was not a corresponding reduction in her commitment and services provided to students. She has continually gone above and beyond to assist her students. While she is officially working a half-time position she can be found at WPHS a week before school starts to assist students with class schedules and other needs.

She is proactive in assisting students, often reaching out to them before they come to her. Under her guidance and tutelage WPHS had four members of the class of 2015 graduate with an associates degree. She is aggressive in assisting students in college and scholarship applications.

In addition to her academic counseling Ms. Thompson works with a number of students on personnel issues, assisting them with the struggles of addelescents. She can be counted on to be there for a student when they need it the most.

We are indeed fortunate to have a counselor at WPHS with the skills and dedication found in Ms. Thompson. We are grateful that she returned to White Pine County and continues to serve our students.

Steffani Thompson was born and raised in Ely. She graduated from White Pine High School, then attended UNLV where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education. Following her college graduation, Steffani returned home to Ely, married Matt Thompson, and taught English for one year before choosing to stay home with her new baby. In 2003, Steffani and her family moved to Virginia where she taught 7th grade English for four years, while she worked to obtain her Master of Education degree in Counselor Education from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA. After her graduation from VCU, Steffani and her family decided to return to Ely, where they have been ever since. Steffani taught English for two years when she returned, and she served as the middle school counselor for one year. She has served as the high school counselor since the 2010-2011 school year. She loves her job and enjoys helping students academically, socially, and emotionally. Steffani now has four beautiful children, ranging in age from 16 years old to 4 years old. She enjoys spending time with her husband and family, attending all of her children’s sporting and school events, playing the piano, and reading. Steffani feels very honored to have been chosen as the Teacher of the Month.

Ely Lions Club Support Staff Member of the Month is Mr. Justin Locke.

Justin works daily to support student learning and better choices. He has been the School within a School supervisor at White Pine Middle School for several years. He is in his ninth year as a district employee. He is a dad, a husband, a son, a coach and an advocate for youth. All of these roles are very important to him.

Justin holds a very challenging position in which students who are struggling with behaviors often end up continuing their learning using technology under Mr. Lock’s guidance. He advises students on how to make better personal choices, he helps them with areas where they struggle and he holds them accountable for their choices. In addition to the daily work with struggling students. Mr. Locke helps the PE teacher with classes, ensuring that there is supervision in the boy’s locker room and safety procedures are implemented. He also runs a lunchtime detention for students who have minor discipline issues. Over the years, Justin has been tapped as a long-term teaching substitute in Science. He has a good rapport with students, a Can-Do attitude, and a heart of compassion for the plight of underprivileged kids.

Justin also gives a lot back to the students track. He knows how to motivate. In addition, he has volunteered time to help with middle school football and track programs. Justin can often be seen as a volunteer official in a variety of sports. He has a great sense of humor, loves to participate with school activities and work with youth. He is looking at educational opportunities that would allow him to counsel or teach kids as a career. He is a champion builder, a man of integrity, and an outstanding member of the WPMS staff.

Justin Locke was born in Ely on February 13, 1986. He attended Scared Heart Grade School 1992-1997, White Pine Middle School 1997-2000, White Pine High School 2000-2004, Southwestern Oregon College (Track scholarship) 2004-2006.

Courtesy photo Steffani Thompson and Justin Locke being honored by the school district and Lions Club

Courtesy photo
Steffani Thompson and Justin Locke being honored by the school district and Lions Club