For LCDR Timothy Winn, becoming a teacher seemed an ideal option. A military veteran — who retired after 25 years of service — Timothy is in his third year teaching Navy Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) at Union Pines High School.
One benefit of the position is it allowed him to stay in the state he moved to as a youngster.
“I wanted to be in North Carolina,” Timothy, who was born in Syracuse, N.Y., said. “I thought it would be a good fit.”
Timothy enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps while still in high school. He later became a Navy officer.
“In my junior year, one of my friends signed up for the Marine Corps,” he said.
It wasn’t long before Timothy made the same move.
When it came time to actually enter the military, however, his friend declined the next step. Timothy didn’t flinch.
“I still went,” he said.
Along the way, he’s earned an undergrad degree in finance from UNC Greensboro and a pair of master’s degrees, the first from Old Dominion University.
Timothy’s work schedule at Union Pines goes five days per week. He teaches three classes a day. There are 103 students — from freshmen to seniors — in the JROTC program.
“We took a tough hit during COVID. We were unable to recruit,” Timothy said. “Our numbers went down a bit.”
Things are looking brighter with associated restrictions lifted.
“Our numbers have been going up,” he said.
The increased interest means additions to the staff are on the horizon.
“We’re in the process of trying to hire,” Timothy said.
According to Timothy, the best part of his job is seeing students advance to higher levels.
“It’s watching the freshmen become seniors,” he said. “It’s watching the growth and maturity.”
When Timothy was in high school, just outside of Greensboro, he played tennis. At Old Dominion, he participated in rugby.
Although his days in competitive sports may be in the rearview, Timothy’s role as a father keeps him very involved in athletics.
“I spend the vast majority of my time going to my kids’ sporting events,” he said.
One of his daughters takes part in gymnastics, while another is on a track team. His son plays travel soccer.
Away from Union Pines — and when not driving his children to sports venues — Timothy enjoys woodworking.
A youth citizenship program, JROTC was implemented to be key in each state’s career and technical education (CTE) models. Instructors are retired officers and non-commissioned officers who’ve been certified to teach by the U.S. Department of Defense.
Feature photo: Union Pines High School teacher Timothy Winn/Courtesy photo.
~Written by Sandhills Sentinel reporter Dave Lukow.