Sandra Winkley-Pikes was a special education teacher and coordinator of the AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) Program at W.W. Samuel High School in Dallas, TX. She was also our inaugural Grand Prize winner during the 2011-12 LifeChanger of the Year Program. On September 2nd, Mrs. Winkley-Pikes passed away due to complications from pneumonia. We would like to extend our deepest condolences to Mrs. Winkley-Pikes's family, students and colleagues at W.W Samuel High.
“She is an inspirational and encouraging woman who is constantly inspiring her students with hope, to reach for a life full of success and achieved goals,” wrote student Cinthya Saravia about Mrs. Winkley-Pikes. “Mrs. Winkley-Pikes is the sort of person who leaves a permanent footprint in a person’s life.”
Mrs. Winkley-Pikes was born in Dallas and moved to a small rural Texas town for the first ten years of her life. Her family moved back to Dallas at the age of ten, where she attended Samuel High School herself. She became the first member of her family to attend college and graduated East Texas State University. Mrs. Winkley-Pikes enjoyed her time in high school so much that she went back to her alma mater after college, where she taught for more than 30 years.
As coordinator of the AVID program, Mrs. Winkley-Pikes's goal was to do everything possible to have kids, especially those who had no family members who graduated college, attend college. In the program's first year, she helped 52 graduating seniors get into college. Over the years, Mrs. Winkley-Pikes had been instrumental in helping W.W. Samuel High School become one of the most successful in the state, and she has motivated many hundreds of kids to attend and graduate college.
After receiving the LifeChanger of the Year Grand Prize, Mrs. Winkley-Pikes continued to give presentations, mentor kids, and teach them the value of life-long education. She was also invited to join the Cabot Community Celebrity Cruisein January 2014.
Mrs. Winkley-Pikes left Samuel High School in 2012, but she did not stop helping students. In 2014 she joined St. Philips Private School as a third grade ELAR and Social Studies teacher. To her students, she was not only their teacher, but their friend, movie buddy and for some, their pen pal this past summer. She stretched their minds and introduced them to many new and exciting things such as researching and writing a business plan, making college pennants and taking them to college fairs. Believe it or not, she taught 3rd graders how to take notes using the Cornell note system.
She also invited elected officials to come and speak to the students to educate them on the roles and responsibilities of elected officials. Her students met council member Rick Callahan and Craig Watkins, who served as District Attorney at the time.
Mrs. Winkley-Pikes exemplified what it means to be a LifeChanger. She inspired and encouraged students to be the best versions of themselves they could be, no matter what grade level. In honor of the outstanding work she put in to help her students and community, National Life has donated a digital art book, "For Love of Art," to the Atlanta Hosptial Hospitality House in Georgia, where her family stayed . The book contains hundreds of images of artwork from around the country.