Henrico County VA

Top Teachers: Mesa Hinkle

Glen Allen E.S., first grade
Mesa Hinkle found her inspiration as a student inside a Henrico County elementary school. Today, she shares it with her own students inside a Henrico County elementary school.

Hinkle has spent 29 years as part of the county’s public school system – 13 as a student at Trevvett, Brookland Middle and Hermitage High and 16 as a teacher.

Now in her sixth year as a first-grade teacher at Glen Allen Elementary, following one year at Dumbarton E.S. and nine at Carver E.S., Hinkle is as excited as ever about what she does and about the children she teaches.

“It’s really special to watch them grow from September though June,” she said. “It’s amazing to see the progress that they make with their reading and writing. They’re so enthusiastic, and they get excited about everything and anything.”

Hinkle recalled being called to a career in teaching when she was a first-grade student herself, in Suzanne Boswell’s class at Trevvett Elementary years ago.

“She had a love of learning and was able to present things in different ways for different learners,” Hinkle said. “She made learning fun.”

Now, Hinkle is the one passing on those lessons to her own first-graders.

“She is a loving, guiding, nurturing teacher and it shows in her daily instruction and interactions with her students,” one nominator wrote. “She makes learning fun while challenging her students to be the best they can be.”

Said another: “Her high expectations and dedication to the success of each student has impacted my son, who is currently in her class. She is willing to try new things and use a variety of approaches to meet his needs.”

Hinkle stays in regular contact with the parents of each student and uses small-group differentiated instruction as a way to effectively reach students who learn at different speeds or who have different needs. Her positive attitude and frequent encouragement to her students were cited by several nominators as strengths.

“As a former teacher, I recognize how positive she is in her dealings with children - accentuating the positive every day,” one nominator wrote of Hinkle. “The reaction of my grandson is obvious.  All teachers should have the commitment to their profession and respect for children that Mesa has.”
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