MCSS 2021 Teacher of the Year

Nicollette Van Winkle, William Chrisman High School

Nicollette Van Winkle began her teacher career in 2014. She earned her Bachelor degree from Missouri State University and her Masters from Park University and She is currently the Social Studies TLC for the Independence School District, as well as a teacher of American Government at William Chrisman High School. Her dedication to her students, colleagues and educational craft, is the reason why Nicollette has been named the 2021 Teacher of the Year for MCSS.  


Nicollette has spent her career cultivating a caring and engaging classroom. Her focus has always been on playing to student strengths and thinking outside of the box.  Her approach to the classroom, as well as, her students learning is a simple philosophy.  She presents the students with a challenge to own their own learning and encourages students to practice individual choices that demonstrate their learning. 

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As a TLC, Nicollette provides a professional atmosphere that fosters collaborate thinking among colleagues. “Teachers who work within your building and district who are doing the work of social studies with students are some of the most valuable assets we have in education.” stated Nicollette. .She actively encourages and develops opportunities for her fellow educators to work together and collaborate.  In recent years, she has worked closely with the Kansas City Social Studies Consortium, alongside museum directors and fellow educators to develop Professional Development for teachers throughout the Kansas City area.  She has been heavily involved in developing curriculum using the C3 Framework and promoting AVID as a program to enhance student success.

Mrs. Van Winkle's Acceptance Speech

MCSS 2021 Teacher of the Year

Jacob Williams, Dexter High School

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Jacob Williams educational philosophy in teaching was influenced by Davie Bowie. His philosophy is even called the Bowie philosophy… as in David Bowie. If you are familiar with David Bowie’s music, then you know that on every Bowie album, from the 1970’s forward, there were remarkable changes to his music through the years. He was never the same. Some of it good, some not so good; but always different. Always changing. Always staying relevant. 


Adopting a similar philosophy to his teaching, Jacob always tries to assimilate new ideas, and new ways of doing things in a classroom to better serve his students. He believes that the biggest problem in education today, is that teachers are afraid to’s only by being innovative, and pushing the envelope that educators, and students can succeed. So, as educators always bring on as many ideas as you can (good or bad)… just like Bowie.


A teacher since 2003, Jacob began his teaching career with the Gideon School District and is currently the Department Chair for Dexter High School. Jacob has been an advocate for the advancement of Social Studies within his school district, as well as the southeast region of the state. Jacob has actively worked in organizing educational professional opportunities for educators. He has also worked with pre-service teachers through Southeast Missouri State University’s Cooperative Education program.

Mr Williams'

Acceptance Speech

As a teacher within the classroom, he has helped establish the Model U.N. team at Dexter High School, as well as, developed the AP Psychology course for the district. He has taken on a major role in developing an engaging and rigorous curriculum for the Dexter School District, using technology and educational resources to provide creative learning opportunities for his students. Jacob is a graduate of Southeast Missouri State University, with both a Bachelors and Master degree. He is a certified Google Educator and was a member of Phi Kappa Phi. He has been a recipient of the Inspirational Teacher Award from the Missouri Public Affairs Academy.

Do you know someone who should be the next

Teacher of the Year?


We are looking for nominations for the Teacher of the Year.  We are looking for nominees that demonstrate qualities in:

  • developing and using materials creatively and effectively

  • incorporating innovative or verifiable effective instructional strategies and techniques 

  • use of new scholarship in the social studies fields

  • fostering a spirit of inquiry and development of skills related to acquiring, organizing, processing, and using information 

  • fostering the development of democratic beliefs and values needed for citizen participation in the classroom, school, and community settings

  •  activity in workshops, curriculum development, and associations 



Please feel free to email with questions.  Nominations are due by January 21, 2022 no later than 11:59 CST.