TOSS June Feature on Dr. Mike Winstead


If the memories of your past are greater than your vision for the future, then you are going in the wrong direction.

Dr. Mike Winstead has been professionally involved in the education for 21 years. He spent 7 years teaching in the classroom, 1 as a school administrator, 12.5 as a central office administrator, and in the last six months he has begun a new chapter as Director of Maryville City Schools. As a new superintendent himself, I thought Dr. Winstead might have some pertinent advice for other new superintendents. Even though I had been in Maryville for 6 years, it was important for me to reintroduce myself to all the stakeholders and listen to parents [as well as] teachers share their views on Maryville City Schools and where we could do better. In my opinion, two keys are communication and visibility. It is important to cast a clear vision for the future.

With Dr. Winstead’s guidance Maryville City Schools is heading in an exciting direction in the near future. Maryville has a rich history of excellence. We enjoy incredible support from our parents and community at-large. I look forward to the opportunity to work with all stakeholders, especially the outstanding educators in our system, to continue moving us forward. When asked about the things he was looking forward to in his district this fall, Dr. Winstead shared, We are embarking on a digital conversion initiative that we are calling iReach. The most visible aspect of this initiative is providing each child with a device 24/7. It is more than just hardware and software. Digital conversion speaks to the way that teaching and learning are transformed when the tools are properly used. We have made a large investment to enhance our infrastructure and purchase the first installment of devices. I am excited about the buy-in among our teachers and the impact this initiative will have on our students.


Yet, before fall arrives there is a summer ahead to enjoy as well as many summers past to look back on. The best summer job that I had growing up was umpiring tee ball for the parks and recreation department. I had a blast with the 4 and 5 year old kids. It would have been even more fun if not for some of the parents who treated tee ball like it was the major leagues. This summer will be a special one for Dr. Winstead as he has the opportunity to fulfill a childhood dream – taking a trip to Alaska with his wife and kids. “I can’t wait to the natural beauty and majesty.” As an avid reader myself, I am always interested in what others are reading and Dr. Winstead shared a book off of his summer reading list. “The next book I plan to read is Nobody Knows Your Name by John Feinstein. This book is about the life of a minor league baseball player. This topic has particular significance for me because my oldest daughter’s fiancé currently plays minor league ball in the Detroit Tigers system.

Dr. Winstead married his high school sweetheart a month after turning 19 years old. “Our wedding was held during our first spring break in college. Sonya and I recently celebrated our 27th anniversary.” Dr. Winstead’s wife is not the only family member who has had a positive and significant impact on his life. He credits his Mom with helping him become the man he is today. I have been blessed to have a multitude of people who have had a positive impact on my life. I can think of several teachers, coaches, friends, and colleagues who helped provide direction and shape my beliefs. The person who has had the biggest impact on my life is my mom, Jean Winstead. She is an incredibly passionate, Godly woman. So much of who I am today, what I believe, and how I treat others comes from her influence.


A Time A Student Was An Overcomer


Early in my high school teaching career, I had a 9th grade student in the lowest level of math that our school offered, Applied Math. This young man entered 9th grade with very few passing marks in grades 6-8, and he struggled the first few weeks in my class. He was a very bright individual with strong reasoning and problem solving skills. His issues were lack of effort, organizational skills, and overall apathy for school. However, as he started having success, he grew more and more confident and engaged. This young man became the leader in that 9th grade class and went on to take two math classes every year of high school (we were on the 4X4 block which allowed that to happen).  I had the joy of teaching this student again three years later in Advanced Placement Statistics. He also successfully completed AP Calculus.  He went to college on a four year scholarship and completed a degree in engineering.