The Iron of White Oak ISD

Proverbs 27:17 reads, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” I hold that scripture dear because it is very descriptive of my professional career as an educator and, I believe, very descriptive of the public education community as a whole. Over the past thirty-five years, I have been extremely blessed to work with many of the very best that this world has to offer. Educators that have a true sense of working towards something much larger and more important than self and focusing their attention on providing an outstanding educational experience for the students in their charge.

White Oak ISD is no exception to this standard. Each year, we are compelled to honor those of us that are retiring/finishing their careers at White Oak ISD. This year we honored four members of the district’s Leadership Team. Each of these educators left an indelible positive mark on the students, faculty, staff and community of White Oak ISD. Each of these educators is very deserving of some level of rest and more importantly gratitude from the community they served.


  • Kevin McKay served the district for more than 10 years as a teacher and Middle School Assistant Principal. His dedication to all students and especially those with special needs is a gift that White Oak Middle School received on a regular basis for more than 10 years.
  • Michael Gras served the district for over 15 years as Director of Technology. Many people in the White Oak community would not Mr. Gras and the outstanding work he did to build and maintain a digital network designed to enhance student learning. He is an educator first and a “tech guy” second. He focused on what can be done to help teachers and students, not what can be done to “protect” the network.
  • Ronnie Hinkle began his career at White Oak as a teacher/coach and spent the last 18 years serving as principal of the Middle School. I think the best way I can describe Ronnie’s 18 years as principal is to say, we were blessed to have God’s man squarely placed were he can do good work for thousands of our young people.
  • Dan Noll served over 20 years as the principal of White Oak High School. His passion for students and his love for all things White Oak are second to none! There is not enough time or ample words to describe how many ways our students have benefited from the God inspired leadership of Dan Noll.

This letter is not an attempt to acknowledge all the good done by these leaders. It is an effort, on my part, to say “thank you ‘ one more time to dear friends, fellow educators and true difference makers. They are not finished shaping the lives of those around them, simply moving to a new target rich environment that will benefit from their presence. I want to finish where I started with Proverbs 27:17. I am better, “sharper”, for having been blessed to work with each of these outstanding Professional Educators!

Michael Gilbert