Veteran CTE teacher named campus Teacher of the Year

Rolanda Wilkins won the campus honor and now advances to the district competition.


Blanca Cantu

Rolanda Wilkins leads a class discussion during first period in January. The CTE teacher was shocked when it was announced she was campus Teacher of the Year. It was her first year even being a finalist of the award.

Blanca Cantu, Opinions Editor

Right before students and teachers were to be off for the February break, CTE teacher Rolanda Wilkins found herself lined up beside the finalists for Teacher of the Year at the faculty meeting. The finalists consisted of Kory Kaspar, Kathryn Espinosa, Lauren Reeve and Jim Dang.
Wilkins happened to be the veteran teacher within the group; having been at Kingwood Park for 15 years, she remembers when it still stood as a 9th grade campus. However, despite her history with the school she had never once been a finalist.
Well, that was until this year when as she stood amongst her fellow coworkers principal Lisa Drabing announced her as the winner.
“I was shocked because I wasn’t expecting it. I cried a little bit,” Wilkins said. “For students to nominate you and… your coworkers to nominate you [for me] it felt like a really big honor.”
Wilkins has taught subjects such as Human Services, Restaurant Management and Child Development. Along with that she also started and runs the teaching internship program. While she has taught a number of different courses through the years, they have all fallen under the Family and Consumer Discipline subject she earned her college degree in.
She loves teaching students the life skills her curriculum contains.
“Know[ing] that what you’re teaching the students [they] will use in their daily life to turn into independent young adults and then adulthood [is rewarding,]” Wilkins said. “[I love] having them come back years later after they’ve graduated and say how the information you taught them has helped them in their life.”
Senior Ally Crutcher has been in Wilkins’ Principles of Education and Training course and has been a part of the teaching internship program for two years. Her time in these classes has taught her how it truly is to be a teacher. The same goes for senior Natalia Lizalde who has taken her Child Development course and is now in her teaching internship.
“When I first heard she won I was so happy for her,” said Lizalde. “Ms. Wilkins makes so many bonds with her students and she helps her students with everything.”
Student council sponsor Natalie Johnson has partnered with Wilkins on projects such as No One Eats Alone, No Place For Hate and many others. She loves working with Wilkins and was very excited for Wilkins being named Teacher of the Year.
“This girl has changed my life,” Johnson said. “I have become a better person because of her. She is inspiring, she is organized, she is honest, she is basically who I want to be.”
Despite the great things many of her students and coworkers have said, Wilkins is still in shock that she was named Teacher of the Year. Because of the classes she teaches and because a number of Wilkins’ students are from the other high schools around the district, Wilkins never thought she’d find herself as a true Teacher of the Year contender.
“I don’t have 30 plus students for six periods, and then I have students from other schools so I never thought that I had enough students that would vote for me,” Wilkins said.
As campus Teacher of the Year, Wilkins will now advance to the district competition to compete against the winners of all the middle schools and high schools in Humble ISD.