by Amy Haggerty
Math, reading, and writing are some of the most essential skills learned in elementary school. Nichole Whitt, a second-grade teacher at Smith Elementary, loves her job and shows every day that she is up to the challenge of imparting these skills to her students.
“I have the honor of interacting with amazing students and helping them learn and grow,” remarked Whitt, who has been teaching at the elementary level for 22 years—most of those in the Stockbridge Community School District.
Whitt grew up in Fowlerville, Mich. Unfortunately, she endured a lot of loss in her childhood years. At eight years old, her sister died, followed two years later by the death of her grandfather. Then, when she was only 13, her father, Glen DeForest, passed away. Looking back, Whitt remembers being surrounded by so much love and support to help her get through those years, especially by her mom, Kathy DeForest. Whitt recalls her mom taking on all of those life-changing events and remaining strong for her children.
“My mom taught me that strength comes in more ways than just physical strength,” the second-grade teacher said.
She attended Fowlerville High School, where she met high-school sweetheart, Dan Whitt, whom she later married. After high school, she completed her bachelor’s degree at Central Michigan University and earned her master’s degree from Marygrove College.
Dan has been an inspiration to Whitt since she was a 15-year-old high-schooler, and over the years he has taught her what unconditional love looks like. Together, Dan and Nichole have three children: Faith is twenty, Sylvia is seventeen, and Zane is fourteen. Whitt considers her children to be her greatest accomplishment. “I am proud of the people they are becoming,” she said.
As for life influencers, Whitt thinks, “Choosing just one person who influenced my life is too hard,” She further explained, “I truly believe that every person who comes into your life teaches a lesson.” For this reason, she believes her grandmother, friends, colleagues, her children, and her students have all influenced her in many ways.
The Stockbridge area has become Whitt’s home and she can think of many reasons she enjoys teaching for Stockbridge Schools.
“I love it here because of the people. The staff are amazing, the children bring me joy, and everyone I have worked with has made an impact on me. I have never met such a hard-working group of people who truly want what is best for our kids.”
Her advice to Stockbridge students is something she learned from a young age: “Take everything that life throws at you and turn it into a lesson. Find what brings you joy, and do that thing. Let the losses in life become lessons.”
Stockbridge Schools is fortunate to have this amazing second-grade teacher as a member of the staff. Parents appreciate Whitt because she is patient and gives her students the love and support they need. Nichole Whitt makes her classroom a safe place for kids to learn and grow.