Dean, Western Carolina University
Dr. Winter’s research expertise includes the induction and retention of teachers, pre-service teacher analysis and reflection on teaching, performance-based assessment in teacher education, and middle grades teacher preparation. Dr. Winter’s teaching expertise includes middle-level curriculum and instruction, language arts and literacy methods, young adolescent development, English Learner methods, and young adult literature. Prior to entering the university setting, Dr. Winter taught elementary and middle school in Texas and Indiana.
“My passion for reading and writing has stayed with me throughout life and that is what I’ve wanted most to share with students”
I joined Deans for Impact because I recognized the importance of developing a network of support that would include peer deans and mentors who shared my passion and commitment to the improvement of teacher education. In addition, I had been following the organization for a while and knew that joining DFI would provide professional development related to advocacy and policy, which were two areas in which I personally sought growth. Over the last several years, programs within my college have honed their ability to make data-based decisions and become outcomes-focused. As we continue to improve our programs, as well as respond to state legislation regarding teacher and professional education, there is so much work ahead. More than a year ago I was confident that there was so much to learn from others and I was right. I have been so fortunate to collaborate with other deans and stakeholders.
I didn’t always know I wanted to be a teacher. I thought I was going to be a researcher. I thought I wanted to be hunched over a microscope or a petri dish, studying organisms. Eventually, I stopped fighting the urge and committed to my passion. I grew up in Texas and teachers were trained for grades 1-8 when I was at university. There was almost no talk of middle school in my program and the only clinical experience I had with that age was as a camp counselor during the summers. I found my way to middle school teaching kind of by accident, but it didn’t take long to figure out it was home. While my love of science was what catapulted me into college, my passion for reading and writing has stayed with me throughout life and that is what I’ve wanted most to share with students.