‘People person' wins respect of students, peers

August 29, 2001|By KELLY GRANT, Staff Writer

Carl Hinshaw, Central Union High School math teacher, has received the Jimmie Cannon Excellence in Teaching award, a teacher of the year award given by the Central Union High School District and the El Centro Education Foundation.

Not bad for a man who at first didn't even want to be a teacher.

Hinshaw, 59, left his childhood home in Holtville to study economics at San Diego State University.

"I was going to go into the business world," Hinshaw said of his original plans.

His mind changed when he was a junior in college.

"I'm a people person and I like working with people," Hinshaw said.

Though he finished his major in economics, Hinshaw had made up his mind to follow in his family's footsteps and become a fourth-generation teacher.

He was lured back to the Imperial Valley to teach sixth grade at El Centro's De Anza Elementary School in 1967. Hinshaw also has taught at Wilson Junior High and Kennedy Middle School and earned a master's degree in educational psychology from Northern Arizona University.


Hinshaw started teaching math at Central in 1972 and has continued there since then, with the exception of two years teaching at the district's then continuation school, Park Avenue High School.

Hinshaw said the teacher of the year honor is rewarding in part because he was nominated by his peers in the district.

"The best thing about the award is that it has Jimmie Cannon's name on it," Hinshaw said of the former Central band leader and music teacher for whom the honor was named.

"If I was half the teacher he was, I'd be happy," Hinshaw said.

Central Principal Emma Jones said the two words that immediately come to mind when she thinks of Hinshaw are caring and patient.

"He really cares about how they (his students) do, and he's really patient with them," Jones said.

Having worked with Hinshaw for years at Central, Jones has observed him go beyond what's expected of the average teacher.

"He will do everything he can to make sure his students are successful," Jones said.

"He's well-respected by his colleagues," Jones said.

When asked what he finds challenging about teaching math, Hinshaw said it is having to overcome the negative perceptions students have about their abilities.

"I have to fight the attitude with kids. They've been told all their lives they're not good at math," Hinshaw said.

Hinshaw said it's rewarding when his students do well.

"Day by day, you can see the lightbulbs going off," he said.

The educational vein running through the Hinshaw family line hasn't ended with Carl. His daughter, Carla, teaches kindergarten at T.L. Waggoner Elementary School in Imperial and his son, Jon, teaches math at El Centro's Southwest High School.

Hinshaw and his wife, Dell, live in El Centro.

Staff Writer Kelly Grant can be reached at 337-3441.

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