Callaway Elementary’s teacher of the year talks passion for animals, 14 years as an educator

Published 11:56 am Thursday, December 7, 2023

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EDITOR’S NOTE: The LaGrange Daily News is doing a Q&A with all of the teachers of the year in the Troup County School System. Today we are writing about Jennifer Winkles, a kindergarten teacher at Callaway Elementary. We asked her 20 questions, and we’ve shortened this interview to some of our favorite responses.

Winkles has been an educator for 13 years and has worked for the Troup County School System, and Callaway Elementary School, for four years. She has been married to her husband Chris for 14 years, and they have two children who also attend CES. Her son, Carter, is in second grade and her daughter, Brooklyn, is in pre-K.

Q:    What community activities are you involved in, even outside of the school system? How long have you been involved in that activity?

A: When I have free time, I love to spend time at the local animal shelters. I am a dog lover and I try my best to show support to our local shelters.

Q: If you weren’t a teacher, what career field would you be in?

A: If I was not a teacher, I would be a Dentist. I love to pull teeth. Kids from all over the school will come to my classroom if they need a tooth pulled. One of my favorite quotes is “use your smile to change the world, don’t let the world change your smile,” Connor Franta

Q: If your teaching style had a theme song, what would it be?

A: If my teaching style had a theme song it would be “Thank you for being a friend” from Golden Girls because I always teach my students that building relationships with their peers is important to their social and emotional development.

Q: What’s the most unusual excuse a student has given you for not completing their homework?

A: I once had a student tell me that he did not do his homework because “broke his leg”. The funny part is that he walked into the classroom perfectly fine that morning!

Q: What did it mean to you to be named your school’s teacher of the year?

I am honored to be named the teacher of the year for my school. I have the best school with some amazing teachers and students. From the first day I walked into the doors at Callaway I felt welcomed. My school has become my family.

Q: As your students transition to the next grade in May, what is one key takeaway you hope they carry forward from their time in your class?

As my students transition into the next grade, I want them to know that they are loved, they matter, and they can do anything they put their mind to.