Mother Teresa once said, “It’s not about how much we give but how much love we put into giving.” No one knows this better than Westwood Elementary Assistant Principal Lee Whitlock. Whether it is taking goods to the homeless population in the Third Ward, going out of his way to encourage his paras and teachers, or simply sharing a smile with students as they pass him in the hallway, Whitlock gives in abundance and does so with an outpouring of love.
“Mr. Whitlock is one of the most authentic and kind hearted people I know that exudes the fragrance of Christ,” Tena Roher, Westwood kindergarten teacher, said. “He has such a gentle spirit in the way he leads our school that makes students, staff, and parents always feel loved, cared for, and heard.”
Westwood Principal Kristin Moffitt agreed.
“He is so good,” she said. “You’ll never see him unkind. He always models kindness, even when he has to be stern.”
This kindness, Whitlock said, comes from his faith.
“[My and my wife’s] motivation comes from our faith walk,” Whitlock said. “We try to keep our mind on kingdom work. I say ‘we’ all the time because my wife and I are a team.”
Whitlock said he and his wife have been “teammates” since they met working their first teaching jobs at Crockett Elementary in 1994. `
“Where she goes, I go, and where I go, she goes,” he said. “I proposed to her Dec. 8, 1995 – I still have the flowers. I went out and showed her; they’re out in my bird center. I said ‘These are the flowers from way back in 1995. They’re still here, they look so different and the baby’s breath is falling off, but the flowers are still there.’ They look really bad, but they mean a lot to me.”
Whitlock has a fondness of reminiscing on past memories, just as he recalled his career in education, from working as a kindergarten teacher at Crockett to being a P.E. teacher and assistant principal in Clear Creek ISD, to serving as the AP of Westwood.
“Everywhere I’ve worked, I’ve been surrounded by really kind people,” he stated. “In 2004, a series of events opened a door here [in Friendswood] and Mrs. [Lynn] Hobratschk offered me the position. It was the right place at the right time for God’s movement. It was so lateral, but God’s plans are bigger than ours.”
Over the past 15 years, Whitlock has made an incredible impact on the District.
“He’s very happy, he’s very positive,” Moffit said. “The kids love him, even the ones who are in trouble know they are loved. Also with the staff, he’s very encouraging.”
“He is a Godly man of integrity that is not afraid to admit when he has made a mistake, making him an amazing role model not only for the students but for those he interacts with as well,” Roher said.
Whitlock’s reach has gone far beyond just Friendswood ISD. One of his many passions has been helping the homeless population in the Third Ward of Houston every week for the past 10 years.
“On Wednesdays, [my wife and I] find ourselves downtown at Third Ward with some friends who aren’t quite like us who are looking for jobs, maybe trying to live life a little differently than us without relationships that we have here in the suburbs,” Whitlock said. “But we bring encouragement and the gospel, a word of reconciliation that God has not counted our sins against us, that He is pursuing us and making us ambassadors of the gospel which is Jesus.”
Whitlock’s giving has inspired many service projects for the homeless at Westwood and across the District.
“Sometimes we do a sock-drive, sometimes we do blankets, there’s a couple of teachers who bring in travel-sized things,” Moffitt said. “We try to do three service projects every year. It helps the students become better people and have a service-minded heart.”
This is something that brings great joy to Whitlock.
“The service-learning initiative that people parade and champion is being done in Friendswood ISD as people are eager to do what is good,” he stated. “It’s astonishing to see all of the people who want to help. It’s beautiful.”
Recently, FISD administrators and Cline Elementary staff spent time making blankets for Whitlock to take with him during one of his weekly trips.
“Those blankets were just the right gift, at just the right time, for just the right people, all who people don’t even know,” Whitlock said. “That different type of work was amazing. The inbox and some of the chores and to-do’s, if those had to wait just a little bit because someone else was going through something, it’s worth waiting for.”
He encourages those reading to consider donating as well, if able.
“If you have an old throw or an old sleeping bag that you don’t really need, we will find a space for that immediately; new owner that week,” Whitlock said. “It is so cool. Out of your closet, into the hands of someone who will use it every day.”
Another project Whitlock is currently preparing for is the ninth annual Super Bowl watch party that he helps host so that people who do not own a TV are still able to watch the football game.
“It is a ton of fun,” Whitlock said. “We get to go Downtown and have a party with people who are just really excited about watching the game.”
The community has really helped Whitlock make this happen with people generously donating food and t-shirts for the event. One very special donation this year came as a $2,000 check from a Bales Intermediate student who took on the event as a service project.
“There have been so many people who have been really helpful in that ministry alone,” Whitlock said. “It makes me really excited.”
In addition to being an AP and volunteering with the homeless community, Whitlock, along with his wife, teaches on Sundays at University Baptist Church, is currently working on finishing his thesis through Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, and is a dad to two daughters.
Though he lives a busy life, Whitlock said there is always time to give back to others.
“It’s never to try to receive any credit, it’s always deflecting praise,” he said. “Hopefully we’re storing up treasures in Heaven and not getting earthly praises for that.”
Though recognition like this one was difficult for Whitlock to accept, those around him agreed he is beyond deserving.
“I love Mr. Whitlock,” Moffitt said. “He’s one of my favorite people and I love him to death. Since he was my boss, I have loved him.”
Roher said she loves Whitlock because of the way he treats others, including herself.
“It is such a blessing being able to work with Lee and have him as one of our leaders and administrators,” Roher said. “When you are in conversation with Lee he always makes you feel as if you are his only concern and his top priority at the moment.”
She continued in recalling a fond memory.
“For instance, on one occasion when my husband was out of town, we had a family emergency. Lee came to our home to be with us and pray with us until my husband could arrive,” she said. “Lee Whitlock is a selfless man with a servant’s heart donating his time, care, and material items to those less fortunate.”
As we enter the holiday season, Whitlock reminds us all to be giving, and to do it with love. If you would like to donate to any of Whitlock’s causes, please email him at [email protected]