( 4 Votes )

Chuck WinklerWhile Chuck Winkler isn’t new to Fluvanna, he is the new superintendent of the Fluvanna County Public Schools. Winkler came to Fluvanna nearly six years ago to serve as former Superintendent Gena Keller’s assistant. When Keller took a job with the state in January, Winkler stepped into the role as interim. On April 24 the School Board officially named him superintendent.

The Fluvanna Review sat down with Winkler to find out what he’s all about.

Tell us about one or two experiences you had in your youth that shaped who you are today.

I’d have to say scouting. I was involved in it early on and I became an Eagle Scout. Working with good leaders on morals and values affected me from then through today.

What was your Eagle Scout project?

I grew up in Buckhannon, W.Va., and we didn’t have a Salvation Army. I organized a community fundraiser to help the homeless and indigent. Buckhannon now has a Salvation Army. I won’t say it was because of what I did, but people did recognize the need.

Any other experience that shaped you?

My involvement with sports gave me a sense of team and follow through. Also how to win or lose as a group.

What leadership qualities do you feel you share with Keller? Which are unique to you?

We are most alike in our ability to relate to all types of people. I’m much more managerial and operational, in a sense. I seek true efficiency in operations and management.

What specific goals do you have for your first year?

Total immersion with the community. I’m already a Fluco, but I want to connect not only with school personnel and students but also with outside organizations. I want to re-evaluate strategic priorities – look at the administrative team to make sure we have the best service and delivery for the children.

What longer term goals do you have?

We’re not reaching our upper-level minority students. I want to embrace that challenge and develop a strategy to address that. I think it’s important to develop a clear understanding of what the curriculum means and what it means to master that curriculum. I see some holes – say in teaching the Standards of Learning common knowledge. I want to continue the initiatives that Gena Keller introduced – Dare to Imagine – not only to reach each student but to have them self-acknowledge their potential.

Another goal is to attract and retain high quality staff – in all areas.

Name the top three great things about Fluvanna County Public Schools.

I’ve been waiting for this one: the students, staff and the overall community and sense of community. It’s what attracted me to trying to give this superintendent position a shot for the next four years. We’re in this together.

Name the top three things you feel need improvement?

We have a wonderful, growing school over the last few years and I want to continue that. I want to increase our use of technology to the level we can. I’m talking about computer science, coding, engineering.

I want to expand our career and technical education programs to offer auto mechanic, auto body and cybersecurity programs. I’m looking to open the doors to opportunity.

We have to look at the faculty and staff and come up with a true, long-range plan to attract and retain. That includes looking at not only salary, but benefits and professional development. We can’t do it all at once, but I want to evolve and improve.

Tell me about your first car.

It was a 1973 Chevrolet Caprice Classic. I bought it in 1979 with money I earned mowing lawns, waiting and bussing tables, and washing dishes at a small restaurant in Buckhannon. It cost $200 and me and my father took the engine out of it and rebuilt it. I drove it through high school and sold it for what I bought it for.

Open the top drawer to your desk. What’s in it?

A pack of gum, a thumb drive, a sharpie, a highlighter, two pairs of scissors, a ruler and my Fluco name badge. And this little wooden cross Gena Keller gave to me. I was just holding it before you came in.

Anything else you feel is important for us to know about you?

Just that I am honored and humbled to have this opportunity to continue my career and to hopefully retire here.  I hope to continue to work tirelessly to assure the success of our students. It will be a challenge, but the Board blessed me with the opportunity and I believe I can do it.