Rita P. White
Egypt Elementary School
Memphis City Schools
Memphis, Tennessee

Rita White’s professional service in recent years has extended well beyond the urban elementary school she has led in Tennessee. As a state representative to the National Association of Elementary School Principals from 2007 through 2009, White advocated for education and children’s needs at national meetings of school leaders. She also met with congressional leaders in Washington, D.C., to discuss national education reforms and related policy issues. Back home in her principalship at Egypt Elementary, White transformed a high-poverty, low-performing school into a positive place known for the tremendous academic gains of its 725 pre-kindergarten through grade 5 students. Twice in recent years the site has won recognition as an exemplary school in training videos of Tennessee’s state department of education. White takes pride in creating “a true professional learning community that honors diversity, offers rigorous academic curriculum, and fosters safe, stimulating, and joyful classrooms.” Egypt Elementary has served as a demonstration site for educators of other schools seeking to replicate its framework for school reform and its successful teaching practices. There White has trained a cadre of school leaders in her district to transform other city schools. After serving as principal of Egypt Elementary since 1998, White is head of Riverwood Elementary in the 2010-2011 school year. She has a B.S. and an M.Ed. from the University of Memphis in Tennessee.