By Lindsey Temple
News Star Reporter
Elmore City-Pernell School bids farewell to an educational icon in the school’s long-standing history.
After 10 years, many milestones, numerous awards and an overall remarkable history, band director, Jim Winkle, 68, has decided to leave his position with EC-P to take an assistant band director position with Pauls Valley Schools.
Winkle admits he has mixed emotions about the decision.
“I’m very excited to returning to Pauls Valley but EC-P has been great, lots of good memories here,” said Winkle.
In 1965, a twenty-one year old Winkle took a position in Stroud, Okla., as a band director.
Winkle recalls being mistaken for a student at his first state competition.
“I looked so young, I was so young,” laughed Winkle.
At 21 Winkle had no desire to continue teaching band, his plan was to return to school and seek a career in education administration.
Hoping that a close proximity to Norman and the University of Oklahoma would help him finish his grad school degree, in 1969 Winkle found himself in Pauls Valley Oklahoma.
“I just knew I wouldn’t be here long, I didn’t even unpack until 1971 when I finished my degree, by that time I loved Pauls Valley so much and everything I was doing here, I decided to stay,” said Winkle.
By 1972 Winkle had settled into his position as band director with Pauls Valley schools and remained there until 1994 when he retired.
Over the next few years Winkle grew tired of retirement.
“I guess retirement just isn’t for me,” explained Winkle.
In 2002 Winkle took the band director position with EC-P schools in hopes of helping grow their band program and get it back on its feet.
“I have enjoyed my time at EC-P, I have enjoyed tremendous support of not only the community but also the staff, and I have had a wonderful experience here,” explained Winkle.
“I know, sometimes people leave jobs because of bitter feelings or bad blood, that is not the case here. I cherish my time at EC and have nothing but fond memories,” explained Winkle.
Winkle is looking forward to the flexibility of an assistant director position with Pauls Valley and is hoping to be able to spend time with his family, particularly his grandson.
“We have improved the EC program and it has grown from around 30 kids when I stared to over 60 kids now. The program is at a point to attract a good quality director,” said Winkle.
Winkle explains why sometimes it’s good to go “home” again.
“I’m just honored to be offered the position by Pauls Valley; I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for the Pauls Valley program, its home to me. I’m excited to work with Drew, he is doing great things and I just want to continue to be a part of something really good.” said Winkle.
When asked if he’ll ever retire, Winkle just chuckled.
“Oh this old band man just can’t help it. I’m not even sure what retirement would even be like.”