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Always A Lesson's Empowering Educators Podcast - Gretchen Bridgers | Education Podcast Network 24th February 2020
205: Bonus Edition- Interview with Barry White, Jr.
00:00:00 00:49:02

205: Bonus Edition- Interview with Barry White, Jr.

Popularized as the “Handshake Teacher,” Barry White Jr. is a top-tier educator in the North Carolina school system, teaching fifth graders of Ashley Park Elementary School in Charlotte, North Carolina. Mr. White earned his Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Claflin University, and is a distinguished member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.

As an educator for the past three years, Mr. White has made it his mission to build relationships with students and create a family-oriented atmosphere, where students can be assured that their voice matters. He strives to inspire through innovative teaching practices, and by nurturing creativity amongst young scholars.

Mr. White discovered that a practice he had implemented as a sign of trust between him and his students had gone viral. Mr. White’s increasing popularity stemmed from the recording, which depicted him giving personalized handshakes to each of his students, attracting attention all over the world. His purpose—to stress the importance of individuality and the positive impact that giving individualized attention to each student can have.

Mr. White has been featured in the Charlotte Observer, highlighting his efforts as a co-founder for the Ashley Park Blue Wings Step Team aimed at increasing collegiate interest. He is a recipient of the North Carolina AT&T Heritage award and has made appearances on the Steve Harvey show, The Today’s show, Kevin hart’s TKO show and other national media outlets. It is his goal to create opportunities that will generate collegiate interests amongst students and propel them to strive for sights and adventures beyond their local surroundings.

Barry White Jr. has been instrumental in youth empowerment, encouraging youth to utilize their platforms and gifts to motivate and inspire others. He believes in pushing children to be global leaders, fostering both global and cultural awareness. Mr. White aims to continue his career in educational leadership, with plans of becoming a school principal in the coming years. Barry has also founded an organization, the Barry White Jr. Foundation, where he will be a direct liaison for educators, providing tips on enhancing the learning experience for students, capitalizing on the various learning styles.


  • I am always an advocate of teachers finding their voice and empowering others and themselves.
  • My number one priority is building relationships. I needed them to understand the truth that I had their best interest at hand and really to buy in to me being their teacher.
  • Once you have students, they are there. They will follow you to the end of a cliff if you need them to. That is how much they invest in you because they see that you are invested in them.
  • Our students really need both the head work that we are providing with academics being both strategic and intentional but then the heart work as well that we are really pouring in and they see that this authentic investment. We genuinely care what happens next, that next day, the next moment and I think they sense that, they feed off of it and pour that right back into us which keeps the train kind of going.
  • The ability to pause, reflect on, and adjust is the thing that I’ve seen the educators that I deem to be great do to be effective in the schools or do to be effective in leading people in general.
  • You literally can just show up and be a passionate educator and that alone, that alone is going to have a magnifying impact throughout your entire building, not just your classroom.
  • This isn’t the NBA, there isn’t just one MVP at the end of the year. You don’t get the MVP trophy, we are a community, we are here for what is best for students and we are empowering students when we reach out and say, “Hey, why don’t you try this.”

Barry's Stamp of Approval

  • Teach Your Heart Out Conference - https://www.teachyourheartoutcon.com/

Connect with Barry

Connect with Gretchen

  • Email: gretchen@alwaysalesson.com
  • Blog: Always A Lesson
  • Facebook: Always A Lesson
  • Twitter: @gschultek
  • Instagram: Always.A.Lesson
  • Linkedin: Gretchen Schultek Bridgers
  • Google+: Gretchen Schultek Bridgers
  • Book: Elementary EDUC 101: What They Didn’t Teach You in College

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