Lifelong teacher bids for award

By Tony Parra

Jane Lee devoted her life to teaching and has lived in Portales since 1932. These are some of the reasons Lee was nominated as a Pioneer of the Year award recipients, which will be given out on Friday at the Pioneer reception at the Memorial Building.
Lee moved to Portales in 1932 to live with her aunt and uncle, Bob and Ida Poindexter and graduated from Portales High School a year later.
Lee said she has traveled the world and has been to all 50 states. Despite being in many places in the United States, Lee said Portales was her top and ultimately her only choice to live in.
“It’s a great place to live in,” Lee said. “I wouldn’t live anywhere else. I came here in 1932 and I’ve been here ever since. My neighbors are the greatest in the world. There’s a lot of closeness. If we need something, we’re there for each other.”
Lee graduated from Eastern New Mexico College with a teaching degree. Lee taught at Pleasant Hill before moving back to Portales in 1944, where she taught third and fifth grades.
She retired from teaching in 1979 after 35 years of teaching. Lee said she receives hugs from her former students.
“They (former students) come up to me and tell me how much they appreciate what I did for them,” Lee said. “I wanted to work with kids since I was at school.”
She said the teaching profession has changed over time and after it went through many changes by 1979.
“There was a lot of the trust taken away from the teachers,” Lee said. “I think kids have paid for that. I remember the Spanish kids being so loving. They used to love their teacher. All of the kids I taught came up to me and were really nice. I loved all of my kids and really enjoyed teaching.”
Lee was an enthusiast of education. Besides teaching at Lindsey Elementary, she said she loved to teach Sunday school at First Baptist Church in Portales. Lee taught Sunday school for 25 years.
In her spare time, Lee crochets and reads religious and Daniele Steele books.
“She’s a great woman,” Sharon Davis said. “All of the graduates of the 1933 class are fascinating. They weren’t just stuck here (Portales). They chose to live in Portales all of their lives, because they loved it.”