Toms River Regional Schools Hall of Fame

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Mildred Worth Potter

Mildred Worth Potter knew she wanted to teach when she was in the fourth grade of the Lower Bayville School. When she retired in 1967, the teachers' association celebrated her forty-two years in education by creating the Mildred W. Potter Scholarship. Mrs. Potter taught fifth and sixth grade in Berkeley Township before becoming principal of the Bayville School. She is a charter member of the Berkeley PTA and a life member of the NJ Congress of Parents and Teachers. The H. and M. Potter School was so named in 1975 as a tribute to the community service of both Hilbert and Mildred Potter. Her husband, Hilbert Potter, was Berkeley Township Clerk for more than 35 years and spent almost that number of years on the local and regional boards of education. He was employed as assistant Ocean County engineer during those same years. Mr. Potter died in 1973.

Mrs. Potter was born in a house on a street called Lovers Lane. That was in the southern portion of the township that was called "Lower Bayville." She and her many brothers and sisters attended the two-room school in that part of the township. Her husband lived in "Upper Bayville" and attended the one-room school called the Dover Chapel School. The schools contained first grade through eighth; the high school students attended Toms River High School, now Toms River High School South.

Mrs. Potter does not remember a time when she did not want to be a teacher. The summer after she graduated from high school, she took six education courses in Ocean City where she earned a Limited Elementary License which allowed her to teach for one year. She planned to attend Trenton Normal School in September but during the summer, the board of education had to establish an emergency classroom for fifth and sixth graders. She begged her father to let her teach that class and go to college the next year. "He didn't think much of the idea at the time but he let me do it," she said.

When the emergency class opened that September on the second floor of Butler's General Store (now the Sand Dollar restaurant), Mildred Potter faced 43 fifth and sixth graders. She wasn't issued an emergency county teaching certificate until September 27, her birthday, because the law said a teacher had to be 18 years of age.

The following year she went to Trenton Normal School, now Trenton State, took extra courses and was back teaching the following year. She continued to take courses for years at Glassboro and New York University.

There were no special teachers education. That required her to teach art, music, health, physical education, and penmanship -- as well as be the nurse -- when necessary.

During World War II, Mrs. Potter served on the Berkeley and Toms River Ration Boards. She was head of the Berkeley USO and the War Bonds drive. She was also Berkeley Township Clerk in 1942 while her husband was in the Army Air Corps.

Mrs. Potter is a member of the Gloria Chapter No. 159 Order of the Eastern Star and has earned her 25 year pin. She taught Sunday school at the United Trinity Methodist Church. A life member of the Ladies Auxiliary of Bayville Volunteer Fire Company I, she was the head of the drill team for parades. She was a charter member of the Berkeley Township Chapter of Deborah Heart and Lung Center and the Berkeley Township Historical Society. She is also a member of the Ocean County Historical Society and the Toms River Yacht Club Ladies Auxiliary.

Mildred Worth Potter has devoted her life to serving others and improving the quality of life in her community. We honor her contributions and welcome her to the Toms River Schools Hall of Fame.

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