Those who choose to enter the teaching profession these days have a passion for what they do. Winters High School’s ag teacher Donnie Whitworth personifies this passion and yields no wonder as to why the school’s students voted him as the 2022 Educator of the Year.
Whitworth’s journey as an educator was built upon a foundation of inspiration from two of his high school ag teachers, John Ramos and Bill Scott. This love for agriculture and all it encompassed was cultivated by his UCD professor Jim Rumsey who also inspired Whitworth to become a teacher of this subject he was so passionate about. The hands-on, experiential education Whitworth is known for, however, was very much inspired by his father.
“My dad was a mechanic and loved to work on stuff. A lot of what I teach I learned in high school, a little bit in college but the hands-on skills and things I learned in life came from him and other older people sharing their knowledge and experience,” Whitworth said, then went even further into the genesis of his passion. “Honestly, I’m a high school ag teacher because — as a kid — I just loved to build things, drive tractors and work all the time. Sun up to sun down, I’m always doing something.”
Although it was the students who voted Whitworth as Educator of the Year, this ag teacher’s quality is easily recognized by colleagues as well.
“Donnie is definitely passionate about agriculture and conveys that to his students. He also gives them every opportunity to learn by doing and embraces that part of the FFA motto. I’ve witnessed several times where Donnie’s helped kids long after the school day is over and on weekends,” said fellow WHS agriculture teacher Kayla Roberts. “I’m so proud of him and he’s very deserving of this award. He does so much behind the scenes that people don’t notice. Not only is he a great teacher, but a valuable resource and employee for the school district.”
WHS principal John Barsotti is excited to have Whitworth on staff.
“With Donnie, you’re always going to have someone who’s open to helping out in different ways and help others and always looking to expand what he and students are doing in the programs that we have,” said Barsotti. “With the great attitude he has all the time and with everything he takes on, to always have that bright outlook is something we can all learn from and have as a model. So, congratulations to Mr. Whitworth, the award is well-deserved. He’s not one to toot his own horn so I’m glad the students have recognized him for the great person that he is.”
The Winters Warriors who voted for their ‘Whitty’ had kind words to say about him as well.
“Whitty holds people to a high standard and is able to foster a good relationship with students by keeping them accountable,” said Joe Aguiar.
“He always knows the right jokes to cheer someone up and always makes sure that everyone feels included,” said Sierra Berry.