By Thomas Sellers Jr.
The phrase “One of Poindexter’s Babies” is common around the campus of Millington Central High School.
The term Poindexter’s Babies isn’t just reserved for current students. Over the 20-year educational career of Wanda Poindexter, several of her pupils have graduated and moved onto professional careers including current Millington Municipal School Social Worker LaTesa McLaughlin.
“LaTesa, Jerricka Maclin who now works for Channel 5 News,” Poindexter said. “It makes you very proud. For years and years, Woodstock has had a bad name and put down. But when you see the achievements of these kids, it makes you feel good.”
For 20 years Poindexter was a part of Shelby County Schools after starting her educational career in Frayser at Denver Elementary with the former Memphis City Schools.
Poindexter’s next stop was up Highway 51 to Woodstock, home of the Aggies.
“When you love your job, what you do is stay there,” she said. “Woodstock was home for me for a long time.”
She spent five years as a state teacher assistant working with grades Kindergarten to third grade.
“I worked just for the teacher doing papers, cutting out cute little things for the bulletin boards, doors and all kinds of things,” Poindexter recalled. “Running off papers and reading books.
“Last 15 years, I was the special education clerical,” she continued. “Again helping take care of the teachers with their paperwork, scheduling meetings and doing that sort of things with special education. I’ve just loved it.”
These days Poindexter is around several of her former Woodstock students at MCHS working in the clerical department.
Poindexter graduated from MCHS and said she enjoys being a part of the Trojan Family again. She works close with Assistant Principal Beth Hale and the teachers making sure their days run smoothly.
Poindexter also interacts with students making sure they have what they need. Part of the day, she will be greeted by an Aggie Alumni reminiscing about Woodstock.
These days McLaughlin is a common visitor with her responsibilities for all four schools in MMS.
“I’ve known her since she was in Kindergarten,” Poindexter said. “I used to work the car rider line. And she would set down with me in her line until her mother got there or grandmother, who was the cafeteria manager at the time, would come and get them. I watched over them in class. I worked with them in class. I watched her grow up and play basketball and all those things.”
McLaughlin went on to be one of the best Lady Trojans in history helping the 2007-08 team reach the State championship game. Poindexter was there routing on McLaughlin as the Lady Trojans reached three Sub-State games and she set the state record for steals.
Poindexter said Woodstock has produced several good students who now contribute to society like McLaughlin, Macklin reporting news, Alexus Fraser going Princeton, Whitney Fox winning several academic awards and Jerrod Love engineering trains in North Dakota.
“Changes in administration, I’ve seen a lot of that,” she recalled. “There goals and what they focused on and made changes in made a whole lot of difference in the students and them believing in their education.
“For the last 10 or 11 years I was there, Mr. (Eric) Linsey created an Aggie Creed that he read every moment to the students,” Poindexter added. “And that makes a different in the students. All those students learned that and recited that. And they thanked about what it says. And he was very visible in the building. That makes a big difference too.”
The Woodstock alumnus said some of the create of their success goes to Poindexter.
“It makes me good to know you meant something,” she said. “They knew you where there and they didn’t forget you. You know you had an impact on their lives. Another one I see all the time is Jerrod Love. He’s now an engineer. He comes see me all the time.”
Poindexter plans on maintaining her chair in the MCHS office for current and former students can continue to pop in.
“I plan on staying here as long as I can helping the teachers and students,” she concluded. “It’s my job to do as much as I can do so they can have more time teaching and learning.”