Josh Winicki, mathematics teacher, takes leave of WLHS after a year of service


Sam Dearborn

Josh Winicki, mathematics teacher, discusses his reasons for leaving WLHS and taking a position at WWHS. He estimates that he will take leave by the end of the month.

After a year-long teaching career at West Linn High School, Josh Winicki, mathematics teacher, announced that he has taken a new position at Woodrow Wilson High School in Southwest Portland. He will remain here until it is filled and estimates that his departure will be around the end of September. He cites his main motivations to be familial.

“It ends up being much more convenient for us,” Winicki said. “My wife works a lot, and the added commute of coming down here and having three kids to get out the door and get in the door adds stress. I’ll be able to get home a lot quicker at the end of the day.”

WWHS first informed Winicki of the open position on Aug. 28, and he informed WLHS administration the following day. The choice which followed, Winicki said, was an extremely difficult decision for him to make.

“Ultimately, when we made the move, the admin was really good,” Winicki said. “They were really supportive and understood. This is a great place to be. Great community, great kids, great support inside and outside the classroom. In the end you just got to take care of family.”

The students, the community and the support provided at WLHS are only part of what Winicki will remember and miss. He will also miss being able to see students grow and become more intellectually developed as mathematicians.

“I’ve taught middle school before, I’ve seen kids I’ve taught before in seventh and eighth grade (at Rosemont Ridge Middle School), and that’s been a lot of fun,” Winicki said. “I’ll definitely miss that the most.”

Winicki will be missed by colleagues as well. Lindsay Harris, mathematics teacher, who shares a room with Winicki, notes his sense of humor and music taste as two characteristics which she’ll miss.

“He’s really funny,” Harris said. “He’s super, super funny. Anytime we’re having a discussion, it can take a fairly serious discussion to keep his back grounded in reality. He likes good music too. The Pandora station we listened to, it was a combined Marky Mark and the Funky Band and the Bee Gees, so early ‘90s pop rock with ‘70s disco.”

Harris also benefited from sharing a room with Winicki because she was able to bounce ideas off of him and share classroom experiences.

“When we both taught geometry last year, we would talk about different problems we were doing, talk about whether they had answers, were able to discuss what the kids had come up with, etc.,” Harris said. “He’s more than willing to share anything and everything he does with us, take stuff from us and use it. It was really easy to collaborate, especially with him in my room.”

Should Harris be selected to interview for Winicki’s replacement, she will look for a variety of traits. “One of the big things that the entire staff is working on right now are professional learning communities,” Harris said.

“Instead of just working together, it’s really a collaborative effort to develop curriculum, develop formative assessments, that kind of stuff. We need somebody who’s willing to do that, to work with you, to compromise and just to participate in a group atmosphere the way Josh does.”