My family roots run deep in the Southern West Virginia coalfields. While his brothers headed to Ohio to work for Ford, dad joined the Army and made a career of it. As many military families can relate to, my siblings and I are a living chronicle of his various duty tours and assignments. I was born in England, attended middle school in Germany, and graduated high school during his final tour of duty at Fort Bliss, Texas.
Out of high school, I served in the U.S. Army for four years, with the 101st Airborne Division and the 3rd U.S. Infantry “Old Guard.” I attended then-Shepherd College on the G.I. Bill majoring in History. I worked in radio and television news for several years before serving ten years on the congressional staff of former West Virginia Congressman Harley O. Staggers, Jr.
With a Master’s Degree from West Virginia University in Integrated Marketing Communications, I started my teaching career at Jefferson High School, teaching Business/Marketing and TV/Video Production. I was honored by my colleagues one year in being selected JHS “Teacher of the Year.”
In addition to a professional teaching license, I have an advanced certification in technology integration. As a JCS Technology Resource Facilitator, I worked with teachers and students at several Jefferson County schools to effectively integrate technology in support of teaching and learning.
In my “spare time,” over the past 9 years, I have taught and developed online graduate-level technology integration courses for teachers and administrators for the West Virginia Department of Education WVLearns program.
I am married to Sandra Watkins, who retired with 43 years of service as a teacher at Shepherdstown Elementary School. Daughter Emily Kern and son Noah Watkins attended Jefferson County schools.