HICKORY - Eva Winkler, a former banker, has been selected as the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching (NCCAT) 2019-2020 Beginning Teacher of the Year for Hickory Public Schools.

Competing for the title against 14 other HPS beginning teachers, Winkler is a first-grade teacher at Jenkins Elementary School. This is her second year at Jenkins. She served as a kindergarten teacher during her first year at Jenkins and was previously a teacher for a portion of a school year with Webb A. Murray Elementary.

“I love coming to work,” said Winkler, reflecting on her decision to enter education. “I enjoy every aspect of serving as a teacher, especially the opportunity to work with children who represent all levels of learning. I get to work with the ones who learn quickly and the ones who struggle; and then, together, we experience that wonderful moment when they finally capture the concept. It’s as though the heavens just opened up. No greater reward,” she said.

“I appreciate my mentor, Karen Taylor, and all of the faculty and staff. The Jenkins team is awesome and our principal, Dr. Calandra Davis, is absolutely amazing!” said Winkler.

Winkler is an excellent teacher who commits many hours both in and outside of the classroom working in support of her students, Davis said.

Originally from Canandaigua, New York, Winkler spent several years in Florida before moving to North Carolina in 2002. Though she achieved a successful career in banking for 16 years, Winkler always felt the desire to teach. She earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education, graduating summa cum laude from Appalachian State University.

Winkler and her husband, Thomas Winkler, are the parents of three adult children.

The NCCAT Beginning Teacher of the Year process was developed to honor beginning teachers and to retain teachers who show promise as excellent teachers and education leaders in North Carolina public schools and public charter schools.

The North Carolina winner, to be announced in December, will receive $5,000 cash prize, participation in a GoGlobal NC trip to Australia in 2020, and instructional supply funds for the teacher’s school. The runner-up will receive $2,000 cash prize. Travel expenses will be awarded for regional winners to participate in NCCAT professional development and leadership development.

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