“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course. I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them that love his appearing.”
Reflections of Life
Jannie Lee (Smith) Leverette was born November 1, 1951, the eldest child of seven, to the late Mr. James William Smith and the late Mrs. Beatrice Phillips Smith in Coila, MS. She confessed Christ at an early age and was baptized under the leadership of the late Elder D. Yarbrough and became a member of the Bethel Christian Church.
Jannie’s education began at Blackhawk Elementary School in Blackhawk, MS and continued at Marshall High School in Carrollton, MS, where she earned her high school diploma in May 1970.
In the fall of 1970, she enrolled at Jackson State University and within three years received her B.A. degree in Elementary Education. During her last year, she met and was united in marriage to Minister Walter Norman Leverette of State Line, MS on December 27, 1971. To that union two lovely daughters were born, Monica Renita and Ursula.
After finishing her undergraduate degree, they relocated to Atlanta, GA, where Walter enlisted in the United States Navy. Jannie continued her quest for knowledge and earned a Master’s of Arts (MAT) degree in Education from Clark-Atlanta University in 1975. Later, she earned a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and Administration from Azusa Pacific University in 2001 (G.P.A. 98.7). To further enhance her thirst for knowledge, she attended Harvard University Principal’s Academy in 2004, where she studied organizational leadership and technological advancements in Math and Sciences. Jannie also studied at Point Loma Nazarene University and San Diego University both in California.
Jannie was one of the most caring, loving, and spirited teachers that ever graced a classroom. Her teaching career began in 1974 as a Title I Reading Teacher in Tyrone, GA. Later, she returned to MS and accepted a position as a fourth grade teacher at Crystal Springs Elementary in Crystal Springs, MS. Walter’s Navy career gave Jannie the opportunities to teach in different states: Jacksonville Beach, FL, National City, CA, San Diego, CA and Oceanside, CA. After 30 years as an educator, Jannie retired in 2010 due to health issues.
Jannie received many recognitions and awards for her work as a teacher and community service worker. In 1990 Jannie was named Teacher of the Year at the Jefferson Middle School located in Oceanside, CA.
Legacy: Jannie believed that the secret to learning was to get each student to learn for himself/herself. Jannie was an advocate for children and parents who felt that they were left behind by the educational system. She served this cause by hosting “Math Night” for both parents and students. Jannie’s teaching abilities, skills, and knowledge helped many parents improve their status in life. She motivated them to return to college, finish their degrees and pursue advanced degrees, which opened doors to higher paying jobs. Jannie’s teaching went far beyond the classroom. She tutored students in their homes, in her home, and in venues such as Starbuck, community college labs, beauty shops, store fronts, and church fellowship halls, all for the sake of learning, not for monetary gains or rewards.
Jannie was an art connoisseur and collector. Her home is graced with many art pieces and figurines that she collected over the years. Jannie was never more alive than when she was teaching, spending time with her family, her parents, siblings and her extended family of relatives on both sides. She enjoyed cooking and socializing. Her belief in God and love was deeply rooted in her calling to help those that could not help themselves.
Jannie fought a good fight and on May 6, 2018 she finished her course on earth and now wait for her crown of righteousness. She was preceded in death by both parents, granddaughter, Sara-Jane Morel and a son-in-law, Carlyle Morel, Sr.
Jannie leaves to cherish her loving memories a devoted husband, Minister Walter Norman Leverette, 2 daughters: Monica R. Leverette Morel, Dallas, TX and Ursula Leverette of San Diego, CA; 3 grandchildren: Jullienne, Carlyle Jr. and Vincent Morel; 4 sisters: Lorsten Johnson, Madison, MS, Naomi Smith, Coila, MS, Linda A. (Harmon) Stoval, Carthage, MS and Bessie L. Smith, Sidon, MS; 2 brothers: Walter M. (Katherine) Smith, Coila, MS, and William P. Smith, Gautier, MS; 1 aunt: Sarah Emma Jordan of Canton, MS and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives and friends.