Return to Headlines

Sad News to Share: Passing of Former Board of Education Member Mr. Bruce White

It is sad news that we share this morning of the passing of former Board of Education member Mr. Bruce White.  Mr. White was a member of the Board of Education for over thirty years, dedicating his time and wisdom to benefit the children, staff and community of Ewing Township, New Jersey.   Mr. White was an integral part of our current Referendum ’18 Project and earlier Referendum projects in the early 2000’s to create a safe learning environment for all.    

After his retirement from the Board of Education, he continued to support the children of our schools and parent organizations by working with the Ewing Kiwanis to help fund school Book Fairs throughout the district so “no child was left behind” and was not able to receive or purchase a book.  Up until three weeks ago, he shared information about a poster contest for our 5th grade students.  Always thinking about the children and giving them an opportunity to participate, if they would like to.

One of things Bruce enjoyed most was the early mornings.  You could catch Bruce out front of his home in the Village of the Green at the crack of dawn tending to his lawn and landscape, or catch him in his front window reading the many newspapers delivered to his home, always keeping current with local and world events. Starting his days early, you might run into him at the Home Depot or find him at the Golden Nugget Flea market on Wednesday, Saturdays and Sundays sharing a coffee, a few tidbits and, without a doubt, a joke with various dealers.  There was possibly the of making a deal or two, being Bruce was an Antique’s proprietor and a collector.  But his passion was education, equal education for all.  He wanted us all to join him in creating a vibrant Ewing Township community, the place where he grew up, raised his family, and continued to support, until his passing. 

Bruce, thank you for your service and commitment to the Ewing Public Schools.  You will be missed greatly.

 

Services for Mr. White are being handled by Parkside Brenna-Cellini Funeral Home.   Visiting hours will be held on Tuesday, January 24th from 5:00PM to 8:00PM and Wednesday, January 25th from 9:30AM to10:30AM at the Parkside Brenna-Cellini Funeral Home, 1584 Parkside Ave, Ewing, NJ. The memorial service celebrating Bruce’s life will be Wednesday morning at 11:00AM at the 1867 Sanctuary, 101 Scotch Road, Ewing, NJ.  Please link this link to obituary and it can also be found below:

https://www.brennacellinifuneralhomes.com/obituary/Bruce-White

 

Bruce White

Bruce White Former BOE Member

 

  November 25, 1943 ~ January 19, 2023 (age 79)

 

 

Obituary

Bruce James White, 79, died peacefully after a long battle with heart disease, on January 19, 2023.

A lifelong Ewing resident, Bruce was the son of Paul Oliver and Verna Dorothy (Geddes) White. He attended Ewing public schools, graduating from Ewing High in 1961.  He earned his Bachelor’s degree in History from Georgetown College in Kentucky and his Masters of Education from Rider College.

He began his career in education as a teacher at St. Anthony High School. Bruce then went on to work for the Mercer County Technical Schools, where he served as principal at both the Assunpink and Sypek Centers before retiring in 2001. Throughout his career, Bruce was an active member of the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association.

Bruce was an active member of the community. He served on the Ewing Board of Education and upon his retirement in 2020, he was one of the longest serving BOE members in the state of New Jersey. Bruce was a proud member of the Ewing Kiwanis Club for decades, holding many leadership positions, including Chair of Safety Town and President of the Ewing Kiwanis Scholarship Foundation. Over the years, Bruce belonged to other community organizations including the Fraternal Order of Police and Village on Green association.

In addition to his parents Paul and Verna, Bruce is predeceased by his wife, Sheila Pritchard White of Ewing Township.

He is survived by his two loving daughters and their families; Rebecca Crockett and Sayan Bhattacharyya of Jersey City and Sarah Meisenzahl, her husband Brian, and his adored grandsons, Charles and Andrew of Williston, Vermont.  He is also survived by his loving sister and brother, Joan White Boothby and Kenneth P. White, as well as his brother-in-law, Paul F. Pritchard and his sister-in laws: Anne White, Janice P. Rockmore and Margaret Shaw. He was ‘Uncle Bruce’ to many nieces and nephews, their children, and a cousin and friend to many.

Visiting hours will be held on Tuesday, 1/24 from 5-8pm and Wednesday, 1/25 from 9:30-10:30am at the Parkside Brenna-Cellini Funeral Home, 1584 Parkside Ave, Ewing, NJ. The memorial service celebrating Bruce’s life will be Wednesday morning at 11am at the 1867 Sanctuary, 101 Scotch Road, Ewing, NJ.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Bruce’s name to the charity of the donor’s choice. Please visit Bruce’s tribute page at www.brennacellinifuneralhomes.com.

 

https://www.brennacellinifuneralhomes.com/obituary/Bruce-White

 

Below we share an article from an interview with Bruce White with the Ewing Observer upon his last reelection as a School Board member article December 26, 2026:

Bruce White reflects on his three decades on the Ewing Board of Education

 Dec 26, 2016 Updated Jan 11, 2022

 

 Bruce White has served more than 30 years as a member of the Ewing School Board. 

Bruce White, who was reelected in November to the Ewing School Board, has spent more time as a member of the body than many people have in their entire careers.

With more than 30 years of service, White is one of the longest serving school board members in all of Mercer County. For White, 72, service on the board is a continuation of a lifetime spent in education.

A lifelong resident of Ewing Township, White attended Parkway Elementary, Fisher Middle School and graduated from Ewing High School, as did his wife Sheila, who died in 2010, and daughters Becky (a stock broker) and Sara (a middle school teacher).

He holds a degree in history with a minor in sociology, and a master’s from Rider in guidance and counseling.

White was a history teacher for nine years at St. Anthony’s High School (now Trenton Catholic Academy) in Hamilton through 1974. “Eventually the principal there said, ‘You’re going to be a guidance counselor.’ So I went to school for that, and I found out that I enjoyed it.”

He said he especially like working with the students who wanted to go on to tech school, which led him to transfer to work in the guidance department in the Mercer County Technical Schools’ Assunpink Center in Hamilton.

He was appointed principal there when he was about 32 years old, and served in the role until his retirement in 2001. During that time, he served for four years as principal of the Arthur R. Sypek Center in Pennington, until going back to Assunpink, where he finished his career.

“The way the system is in New Jersey, you get to a point under the old pension laws that it just made sense, White said. “And I wanted to do other things.”

One of those was becoming a member of the Ewing school board. With two daughters in the school district, he and Sheila got involved with the PTA. In 1982, the school district was starting its AIM/ACE gifted and talented program, and he became a member of the committee that worked to develop the program in the elementary schools.

After his involvement in the committee, a number of people suggested that he run for the school board. That was 1984. In the following years, White served on the Board of Education for several years, and then took a few years off in the 1990s, before returning to the board later in the decade. He has served in it ever since.

The Ewing Observer sat down with White in December to discuss his years on the school board, his thoughts on education and the future of the Ewing School District. All statements made by White reflect his own opinion and not those of the Board of Education.

Ewing Observer: Why do you serve as a member of the School Board?

Bruce White: I see a lot of value in it. Ewing is a nonpolitical board. The last time we had a person leave the board of education and run for town council for another office, I think, was 1994. The people on the Ewing board are there for the right reason. I don’t think you always see that in a lot of communities. Look at Hamilton, for example. I think that’s half their problem.

I give credit to the leadership of both (Ewing) parties to not have that involvement and recognize that it is an independent governmental agency.

EO: What are some of your observations about Ewing itself?

BW: The diversity of this community is amazing. You go to Ewing schools and you’ll find people who are not so well off and you’ll find wealthy folks. You’ll find every religious group. You’ll find every ethnic group.

When my daughters went to college they had to go to diversity classes. Sara told me that she could have taught them. I think that it’s a strength of our community, because going through the schools, the kids learn to deal with everybody.

We have a strong first-generation immigrant community. Strong. From Eastern Europe, and Africa, and South America and more. And the entire family has to be absorbed into the school district. It creates challenges, but it is also good for all the kids.

We also don’t have a lot of disciplinary problems. Oh, we get lateness to class and little things like that, but you don’t see big blowups.

EO: Over the past 30 years, has the district had to deal with challenges due to population growth?

BW: Our population has been pretty stable. There will be peaks and valleys, which is true all over Mercer County, but I think our population right now is around 3,600 students and in the 1980s we were probably closer to 4,000. Then we had an ebb up, and then we had an ebb down. But it always seems to be hanging around 3,500, plus or minus 300 or 400 kids.

EO: So you haven’t really had to embark on any major school expansions or new construction?

BW: Over the years I’ve been involved in three major referendums. A big one was when we redid Parkway School. To refurbish the old Parkway School would have cost about $6 million. To build a brand new one was $8 million. It was a no brainer. That building is 24 years old now.

EO: Are there challenges at Parkway as opposed to the other schools?

BW: I don’t want to say Parkway is tough. That’s not a good word. The teachers and the principals do a lot of good work with some students who come from nonsupportive backgrounds in terms of parental involvement, and in terms of resources at home. But they get the kids on track, and they do amazing things there. Not that they don’t do them at Antheil and Lore, don’t get me wrong.

EO: I hear a lot from the educators in Ewing who urge parents to get more involved and they stress the importance of support at home for education.

BW: It’s a challenge in a lot of districts. You go back to the old analogy — education is three-legged stool. You’ve got to have the kid, you’ve got to have the parent and you’ve got to have the teacher. If they’re all working together, then the kid’s going to perform regardless of what the background is.

We have to educate some of the parents here about their responsibility. That’s not an easy task. Sometimes you might have parents who did not have a favorable educational experience, so they have little or no use for school. That might be a factor.

You might have someone who is not familiar with the American education system. If you go to a country like Japan or Germany, you go to class and you’re lectured, and they don’t want to see the parents. You take a test and that’s it. In America, we want the involvement of the parents.

That’s a consideration and that’s something we’ve talked about, and we’ve tried different strategies over the years. I don’t know what the magic answer is there.

What’s the difference between West Windsor-Plainsboro and Trenton High? In West Windsor, you’ve got a heavy, active parental involvement, maybe to the point of intrusive. On the other hand, my wife taught Junior I in the City of Trenton. They’d have PTA nights and only two parents would show up. And the parents weren’t involved with their kids.

You’ve gotta have that component. That’s where your success is. Ask any teacher what’s going to make the difference, and they’re going to tell you that it’s having that parent there working with you.

EO: There are some districts in the area that have allowed their buildings to fall into disrepair. How has Ewing managed to keep it’s buildings in good condition?

BW: We’ve made a commitment since our last building referendum of not allowing our buildings to get ahead of us. That happened for a long period of time, and then you have to play catch up. Maintenance is always an ongoing problem. The secret there is that you have to keep it under control.

EO: What are some of the things you thing Ewing does as good or better than other districts?

BW: I think we provide opportunities for all kids and we do it well. It doesn’t matter where the kid is coming from. We have kids going to the best colleges in the country. We have kids going into the military and into the trades.

We also have worked hard to maintain activities and events for everybody. In some districts you’ve only got sports. Here, if a student wants to get involved, there’s an activity out there for them.

Another strength is that we have a lot of people working hard — teachers, administrators, school board members, kids — to take all these people with all these different backgrounds and merge them together. It’s really a microcosm of America. This is the America of the future.

EO: What do you see as some of the challenges for the district, both now and moving forward?

BW: The biggest single challenge is finances. So much of what we do is driven by finances. We want to continue to maintain the programs that we have, but if you don’t have the money you can’t do it. We had a board secretary years ago who said, “give me the money, and I’ll do anything.”

If we got funded by the state like they are required to fund us, we would have an extra $1.9 million in our budget in state aid. That’s if the state followed the school funding law that was passed back in 2008. The state has not met its obligation to many districts in New Jersey, because “they don’t have the money.”

Another continuing challenge is getting parents involved, which we’ve already talked about.

EO: How about the issue of stress on the kids and balancing their workloads?

BW: One of Mike Nitti’s goals as superintendent is to look at that. There’s a task force composed of parents, administrators, teachers and a board member looking at that very question. I think it’s healthy to take a look at that every four or five years.

I do see less testing going forward, which I think will be good, because I think we went too far with the PARCC testing. There’s a role and a place for testing, but I think we went overboard. We can never get the pendulum to stop. I think we went too far to the point where you have kids stressed by tests in elementary school. That’s B.S. That’s not us. It’s the state making it mandatory.

EO: If it’s mandatory, how do you counter that as a board?

BW: We have a group that has a monthly meeting, and I have been asked by the board president to serve on it. We look at strategies, in terms of what’s working, not only in the district but outside as well. And we bring the ideas together and discuss them to look at what works and what doesn’t work.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t have some testing, don’t get me wrong, because testing is a good way to check how you’re doing.

EO: How much importance do you think colleges are giving to test scores when considering applicants?

BW: More and more colleges are looking to portfolio assessment. They’re trying to look beyond the test scores and the activities.

EO: As a former principal at a technical school, do you think there needs to be more emphasis placed on the trades as viable career options?

BW: Ben Franklin said, “He that hath a trade, hath an estate.” But you know what? Parents don’t want their kids doing that. It’s something we fought continually in tech school.

Let me tell you, I can point to kids who are multi-millionaires. They found a niche and have very, very successful businesses.

EO: What are your views when it comes to dealing with members of the public as an elected official?

BW: Listen and be respectful. I think that’s what most people want. The worst thing an elected official can do is be arrogant and talk down to people. They want to feel heard. They want to know that they have a part in what’s going on.

If you maintain an open level of communication, then people understand you’re not trying to hide anything, so they don’t become suspicious.

EO: How about your own future. How long would you like to continue to serve on the board?

BW: People ask if I’m going to run again, and I say, “Why not?” I’m not a babbling fool, and I’ve still got my wits about me (laughs). As long as I can continue to make a contribution.