2020 Citywide Teacher of the Year finalist: Dr. Charlene Winley

This is the third article in a series of profiles about each finalist for Virginia Beach City Public Schools’ 2020 Citywide Teacher of the Year. The citywide winner will be announced at the Teacher of the Year dinner hosted by the Virginia Beach Education Foundation May 2.

Dr. Charlene Winley, a kindergarten teacher at Holland Elementary School, discovered she had a desire to teach after a successful career in social work.

“As a caseworker I saw the importance of teachers and education in a child’s life,” said Winley. “My road to becoming a teacher was birthed out of the desire to inspire hope and build a strong foundation for children.”

Winley has kept this aspiration in her classroom.

“My philosophy of teaching is simple; students will rise to the level of their teachers’ expectation of who they are and what they are capable of becoming,” she said.

Winley has been an educator for more than 31 years and dedicated the past three years to teaching in Virginia Beach City Public Schools. She said her passion for teaching grows stronger each day.

“A single word spoken by a teacher can ignite a desire to learn or quench the fire within” she explained. “I teach because I want to ignite the fire or purpose, destiny and creativity in my students.”

She is known as an excellent leader within her school and across the division.

“Dr. Winley is to teaching as Michael Jordan is to basketball” said Holland Elementary Principal Callie Richardson. “She performs at the highest level each and every day. Simply amazing and legendary.”

Winley plans to continue teaching in Virginia Beach and doesn’t regret switching careers.

“I wholeheartedly believe teachers are the single most defining factor to the success or failure of students in the classroom. ”

Visit the division’s Facebook and Twitter channels Thursday night to watch the 2020 Citywide Teacher of the Year announcement streamed live.

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