Beloved MCISD teacher passes

Posted 3/3/20

Longtime Madisonville High School educator and beloved mentor Vernice Taylor passed away Feb. 19 at the age of 69.

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Beloved MCISD teacher passes

Posted

Longtime Madisonville High School educator and beloved mentor Vernice Taylor passed away Feb. 19 at the age of 69.

Taylor was in her twentieth year working for MCISD as an In School Suspension (ISS) Aide at the high school.

“A good lady and a tragic, tremendous loss to the district and the children she worked with,” said Superintendent Keith Smith, who knew Taylor nearly 30 years. “Our thoughts and prayers are with her family. I know she is in a better place and I know she will be able to look down at both the children she worked with at the school as well as her own children and be proud of the job she has done.”

Taylor is survived by her husband, Earnest Taylor, and their children Earnest Taylor II, Chris Taylor, Sharee Gilbert, Talara Johnson and LaQuitta Lister.

Smith got to know some of her children through coaching and as an administrator while they went through the district.

“(Taylor’s children) were such easy kids to work with in school because they had such great parents,” said Smith. “They were always supportive of me as a coach and administrator and have gone on to be very successful. If everyone had a mother like Vernice, the school business would be a lot easier than it is.”

Taylor’s position as In School Suspension Aide meant she watched over the children who had been asked to leave class as a punishment.

“(ISS students) are not bad kids, just kids who got in trouble,” said Smith. “It is an important and difficult job. She was excellent at making sure the kids not only learned the lessons the teachers were sending them while they were in ISS, but also life lessons that she could impart to them. She was really good with some of the children a lot of people had a hard time dealing with.”

Smith praised Taylor’s ability to instantly connect with a misbehaving student and get them to focus on their work.

“It was pretty easy to tell, once you were in that room a couple times, that she just had to give a child that look,” said Smith. “Those roles are kind of the unseen roles, but they are very important to the development of our children and the academic programs they serve. We will miss her, as I know all her loved ones will.”

“(Taylor) loved her students and worked to make a difference in their lives everyday,” said MHS Principal Heath Brown. “Even in the most trying circumstances, she saw good in her students and knew they could turn their actions around.”

Brown admitted he had a difficult time relaying the news of Taylor’s passing to the high school staff.

“In the short time I have known Vernice, I have come to admire her work ethic and positive outlook on life,” said Brown. “As the pastor said at the funeral, she never missed church unless she had to, and she approached her work the same way. I always knew if she was not at work, someone made her stay home.

“The MHS faculty and staff will miss Vernice, but she will always be with us as we keep her in our hearts and minds. We will strive to live up to the example she set for us.”

Like Smith, MCISD Assistant Superintendent Keith West knew Taylor for a number of years and offered similar sentiments on her personality and work ethic.

“She was instrumental to any success we had,” said West. “She dealt with kids who were not always the easiest to deal with, but she had a way of reaching them. She was someone you enjoyed visiting with because she was very wise, very kid-centered and worked well with students and staff.”

All three individuals greatly admired Taylor’s tendency to step in and guide a student she believed needed her assistance.

“It was not just a matter of them having to sit there,” said West. “They had to deal with her mothering a little bit, whether they wanted it or not, and that was a positive thing.”

A service to honor Taylor’s life was held at North Madison Church of Christ in Madisonville Feb. 26. She was interned in the Houston National Cemetery later that day.

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