Wanda Hutchinson was the Associate Superintendent of Wilkes County Schools and credits her career success to her experience at Wilkes Community College. “I believe that my success at WCC was due to the staff there;” she says, “They gave me the confidence to move beyond Wilkes County, the understanding of how to set and pursue a goal, and the encouragement to do so.”
In March 1987, Wanda enrolled as a student in the Early Childhood two-year degree program with a goal of becoming a teacher assistant. Wanda had dropped out of high school in 1969 but completed a GED through WCC in 1980. WCC sent her a letter of congratulations on her GED scores and encouraged her to enroll as a student at WCC. With four small children at home, Wanda made the decision to enroll and “trusted God to help me find a way to complete the program.”
Wanda was a non-traditional aged student and felt self-conscious and out of place for the first few weeks. “My instructors were so supportive and complimentary of my efforts that I began feeling more at ease and confident,” she recalls. Her first grade report consisted of all A’s, which boosted her confidence even more. Wanda began to rely heavily upon WCC instructor Mrs. Eloise Boyd who was a constant support. In addition, Mr. Pete Mann, Mrs. Dianne Steele, Mrs. Blair Hancock, and Mr. Bill Moffett were influential instructors as well as Mrs. Vickie Call in the Financial Aid office. With the support of her instructors, she changed her course of study to College Transfer and began working towards becoming a teacher.
“I cannot stress strongly enough how very supportive my instructors were,” says Wanda. “My instructors became friends and worked with me personally, complimenting my work and encouraging me to push forward a little more each day.”
Wanda went on to transfer to Salem College at the suggestion of Mrs. Boyd. “My time at WCC was an incredible time. I began to see all sorts of possibilities that, prior to going there, seemed unattainable for me,” Wanda recalls.
Wanda has gone on to complete her BA at Salem College and a Master’s, Educational Specialist, and Doctorate of Education at Appalachian State University. She has made her way through the Wilkes County School system in roles as diverse as bus driver, substitute teacher, teacher, assistant principal, principal, assistant superintendent, and now associate superintendent. She and her husband of 35 years, Walter, live in Traphill and have four children and eight grandchildren.