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Earnestine L. Carter

April 19, 1930 November 9, 2014
Earnestine L. Carter
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Obituary for Earnestine L. Carter

EARNESTINE L. CARTER

April 19, 1930 - November 9, 2014

Middletown, NY

Earnestine L. Carter, who for almost 30 years elevated the art of teaching and learning in the Middletown Public School System, died on Sunday, November 9, 2014. She was 84.

Born Eva Earnestine on April 19, 1930 to L.S. and Fannie LeGrande of Roanoke, Virginia, Earnie was one of nine children. Her father worked for the North & Western Railroad while her mother, a homemaker took on small jobs outside of the home to help provide for their large growing family. A gifted learner, Earnestine went on to become valedictorian of her graduating class at George Washington Carver High School in 1947. There she was senior class secretary, a competitive member of the girls’ varsity basketball team, and also excelled in track and field. In her senior year, Earnestine was one of three students selected from Carver as a delegate for the first science congress at Virginia State University. She was awarded an academic scholarship to Virginia State but declined it in order to attend Fayetteville State Teacher’s College in North Carolina, known then, as it is today, for its exemplary training of elementary level educators. Earnestine was inducted into the Alpha Kappa Mu and Sigma Ro Sigma Honor Societies at Fayetteville. After graduating First Honors with a B.S. in Elementary Education, she held various teaching positions in North Carolina before heading north in the mid 1950’s to accept a teaching position at the Warwick State Training School for Boys.

In 1960, as a young mother of two, Earnestine commuted by bus to NYC each summer to complete her Masters in Education at New York University and began what would be a brilliant career as one of only two African American teachers in the Middletown School District. While teaching elementary school, Earnestine continued post-graduate studies at the State University of New York in New Paltz. At a time of civil unrest, Earnestine founded and became Chairperson of the Black Studies Curriculum in 1970. She was awarded a grant by the Center for International Programs and Comparative Studies to attend the first Afro-American Institute at Columbia University, where she collaborated with national educators and scholars to honor and integrate the history and contributions of African Americans into the elementary school social studies curriculum.

In her 29 years as a teacher in Middletown, Earnestine trained and supervised student teachers, led in-service workshops in professional development to support student assessment and the implementation of new curricula in literacy and math, and was a member of the Executive Board of the Middletown Teacher’s Association. She was part of a team of teachers who pioneered the use of the first computers in classrooms in the 1970’s and traveled with a delegation of educators to tour the British Open Schools in 1973, implementing the philosophy and many of the practices of open education upon her return.

Known through-out the district as a teacher who believed that learning was a civil right of every child, Earnestine was inducted into the Delta Kappa Gamma Honor Society of women educators. During her career she received numerous letters of recognition from school superintendents, principals, mayors, and colleagues for her commitment to diversity and excellence. She was recognized for her implementation of multi-graded reading programs to meet the varying needs of individual students and advocated for more hands-on learning for enrichment and remediation. Her summers found her mentoring and tutoring students in reading, literacy and math skills or volunteering to plan programs that brought pivotal American history alive to students. In recognition of her outstanding career achievements, Earnestine Carter was inducted into the 2008 Salem Alumni Hall of Fame established by the Salem Educational Foundation and Alumni Association in Salem, Virginia. Earnestine retired from teaching in 1990 and began serving as the Secretary of the Fayetteville State University Alumni Class of 1951, coordinating fundraising events and scholarships for aspiring teachers.

She is pre-deceased by her husband, golf pro and educator, William A Carter; her loving parents, L.S. and Fannie LeGrande; her brothers, Spurgeon LeGrande and Douglas LeGrande; three sisters, Jacquelyn Ferguson, Sylvia Lipsey and Jean Banks. She is survived by her sister, Ruth Davis of Charlotte, NC; her brother, Larry LeGrande and his wife, Mary of Roanoke, VA; her sister-in-law, Pauline LeGrande of Apex, NC and two daughters, Dr. Sharon La Grande Carter of Nashville, TN and Jacquelyn Carter and her husband, Barry Herbold of NYC along with many nieces and nephews around the globe she cherished.

Arrangements for Earnestine are being handled by Applebee McPhillips Funeral Home in Middletown. Calling hours and services will be hosted by members of the St Paul’s United Methodist Church, Rev Charles Ryu presiding, on Thursday, November 13, 2014. Calling hours are from 4 to 6 p.m. followed by a Service of Remembrance at 6:30 p.m.

It was Earnie’s wish to return to the place of her birth and thus she will be interred in the LeGrande family plot in Roanoke, Virginia. A final home-going service will take place in Roanoke with family members and childhood friends. Therefore, in lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests that donations be made to The Greater Middletown Interfaith Council: Warming Station. Earnestine was a tireless advocate of the warming station’s mission to provide food, warmth and shelter for Middletown’s homeless residents during the cold winter months. Donations may be sent to St, Paul’s United Methodist Church, 58 West Main Street, Middletown, NY 10940 in care of Rev Charles Ryu. The family wishes to thank their friends and family members for the outpouring of love and support they have received.

Arrangements for Earnestine are being handled by Applebee McPhillips Funeral Home in Middletown. Calling hours and services will be hosted by members of the St Paul’s United Methodist Church, Rev Charles Ryu presiding, on Thursday, November 13, 2014. Calling hours are from 4 to 6 p.m. followed by a Service of Remembrance at 6:30 p.m.

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