Lynden High School graduate Cory White didn’t stay away from his hometown school for long. Now 24 years into a teaching career, all at Lynden Middle School, White shows no signs of stopping, tackling new projects at the middle school all while continuing his tradition of running the high school varsity baseball program.
Even while attending Western Washington University, White volunteered as an assistant coach with Lynden baseball. A few years into that role the head job opened up, a post he has now held since 1994.
White’s commute to the high school ballpark covers less than two miles from his post as a teacher at the middle school. While White taught sixth grade for his first 24 years, he made the transition this year to focus on math, teaching seventh grade for the first time. “I had been investing a lot of time in math and now I get to tackle it all the time,” he says. “I enjoy it.”
As LMS moved to a new math curriculum, the transition was made easier for many students by having White make the move from sixth to seventh grade with them. “Seventh grade math is different and it helps them to have a familiar face,” he says. “From day one I am selling them on how fun math is and how much they are going to love it. We work on projects and lessons and show the applicability of math so they understand.”
Maybe it is the love of sports in White, but he approaches math as he would a baseball game: as a competition. “You want to beat the problem,” he says. “There may be more than one way to get to the end and you get all these different ways, but you want to beat it.”
Ironically, White struggled with math when he was in school. While he knew he wanted to teach and hoped to also coach, he never thought math would be his landing spot. It was a mixture of past Lynden teachers and coaches, though, that instilled in him an attitude and desire to excel at whatever he tried, whether baseball. Or math. He credits Mark Matthiesen, Jim Taubenheim and Marv Nelson with much of his positive direction.
“They had an impact on me in class and on the field,” he says. “They applied what we learned in the classroom to the athletic field and it made me want to give back to students. I am still close (to them) to this day and those guys still have an impact on my life.”
And White aims to have that same impact, whether now with the seventh grade math, the varsity baseball at LHS or even as the head coach of the seventh grade boys basketball and football teams.
Beyond his vast responsibilities as a Lion, White says any extra time goes to his family, largely spending time as a parent on the sideline of the games of his eighth-grade son and sixth-grade daughter, cheering and supporting all the students he comes into contact with, something White has done for over two decades.