Association of Texas Professional Educators
Association of Texas Professional Educators
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Volunteer Spotlight

The thousands of ATPE volunteers across Texas are the backbone of this association. Their hard work and dedication allow ATPE to serve the state’s largest community of educators. In this ongoing ATPE News series, we spotlight volunteers who set a great example of service for their fellow educators. NEXT UP: Jennifer LeWinter, who works as a first grade teacher and team leader at Hedgcoxe Elementary School in Plano ISD. She serves as the Plano ATPE treasurer and was a finalist for ATPE’s 2022-23 Campus Rep of the Year for local units with 1,001+ members, as well as the Region 10 Elementary Educator of the Year. 

Volunteering Came Naturally

Like many ATPE members, LeWinter was initially drawn to ATPE’s membership benefits and protection when she first joined as a new teacher. However, she was also seeking something more. She wanted to be a part of a community and an opportunity to contribute in other ways than just teaching.

“I was looking for something that was enjoyable for me that wasn’t school- related,” LeWinter recalls. “But I was also ready to take on leadership. I am very sociable, but I am also very committed to education and our students. Volunteering for ATPE was a way for me to help use my gifts of motivation and empathy to lift up other educators.”

Plano ATPE leadership has provided LeWinter a chance to use these attributes and help grow ATPE at the same time.

“They asked me if would come in and help with membership,” LeWinter recalls. “I knew I would be very good at that. I love people and sharing exciting tools and resources.”

She then worked as the Plano ATPE membership chair to recruit and train campus representatives.

“I let them know ways they could become involved on their campus,” LeWinter says. “I made sure we had a campus rep at every campus. I made sure they all received communication from the officers.”

Make People Feel Appreciated

LeWinter wants ATPE to feel like a community, which helps with retaining members. Whether you are a volunteer or a member, she wants you to feel like part of this community.

“I try to get to know every single campus representative,” LeWinter says. “I try to truly get to know them, their families, and their job. Sometimes I will just email to ask them how they are doing. I think the more you connect as people, the stronger the connection. I send cards in the mail all the time to members and other reps—just little notes of encouragement. Or if something happens to someone’s family, I send out something that says, ‘Hey, we’re thinking of you.’”

LeWinter says the events she helps organize as a local unit officer contribute to this feeling of community.

“Every year, we do a big kickoff brunch for our campus representatives to make them feel appreciated,” LeWinter explains. “When people are appreciated, they tend to work and feel better. Then during the year, we do member appreciation celebrations, such as little social events. We want everybody to come to our events. We put them on for a reason.”

LeWinter says local leaders have recently found a new way to make Plano ATPE members feel appreciated.

“Starting last year, we announce a member of the month celebration for each campus. We try to highlight members doing a great job on their campus. Their campus rep fills out a form and sends it to us. Then, we make them a certificate and send them a little gift card just to thank them. They can, for example, have some Starbucks on us. It is just to thank them for being an awesome educator. This could be anyone from a substitute to a paraprofessional or a professional because anyone who’s a member is included.”

All these efforts lead to happier members, which leads to members staying in the ATPE community.


Interested in becoming an ATPE volunteer? Reach out to ATPE’s Volunteer Program Coordinator at

Author: ATPE Staff