In this work of transforming education so that all students succeed, we get to meet phenomenal individuals who have dedicated their life’s work to helping others. It is a true gift to work side by side with those who make a profound positive difference in the lives of children. This week we lost Jacquie Porter, a truly brilliant member of our community. Brilliant in every sense of the word: bright, intelligent, happy, energetic, an absolute shining star with a glowing inner light. Without her our world is diminished. The path forward for our youngest students is harder to see. We are heartbroken, and feel this loss of Jacquie and her brilliance to our core.
Jacquie worked tirelessly to ensure our youngest learners had every support they needed to start school ready. She did this as a wife and mother, as a kindergarten teacher, an early childhood director, a member of her congregation, and as the statewide director of early childhood at TEA.
There were many times in her career that she was able to share how children learned best, or how a system or circumstance might impact a child or a family. She had a grace in helping teachers, campus leaders, and even legislators understand the changes they could make to help literally hundreds of thousands of children. She always asked the right questions to get to the root of the issues impacting our kids, and children were always at the core of her work.
Jacquie mentored many of us; some formally and some informally. Jacquie possessed an innate understanding of what others might need to know in order for them to understand the importance of providing safe and engaging early learning opportunities for all children. She often used stories – especially children’s stories – to remind us of the wonder and exploration that is present in young minds as they start to discover the world. She once captivated a room full of superintendents, college presidents, and business leaders with the story of how 5-year-old Anthony learned to write his name. Everyone in the room clapped and cheered when Jacquie held her arms up high to show how Anthony learned to write the “y” at the end of his name with the help of his teacher. Through her passionate storytelling she was able to show a child’s desire to succeed, and the teacher’s ability to find out what the child needed in order to learn. She lived the idea that learning was accomplished within the context of relationships and we learned so much from her.
With the lessons that Jacquie taught us we will continue to tell the stories of what our youngest learners need, but we certainly miss her brilliance to light the way. We mourn with Wes and Josh even as we celebrate her extraordinary life and legacy.
With love and adoration,
The E3 Alliance Team