Shelby Winder

Shelby is a Life Skills teacher (which includes students with cognitive impairment in conjunction with adaptive disabilities) at Grand Oaks. Not only is she already a life changer, but she has gone above and beyond to provide her students a business with a traveling coffee cart. Her students take orders during the week and deliver the coffee on Fridays. Most importantly this coffee cart business empowers her students with confidence and social skills that will outlast her time with them in the classroom. Since starting the Grizzly Bean just a couple weeks ago, Miss Winder's story has gone viral all over the nation, and recently she was featured on Fox 26 News Houston. When you see this amazing lady, please give her a big congratulations for being one amazing teacher and person. Grand Oaks PTO asked Miss Shelby some questions that she graciously answered so we could share more information about herself and her idea "The Grizzly Bean."​

1. Tell us what you did before coming to GOHS.

I graduated from Texas A&M University in December of 2017 with a Bachelor of Science - Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus in Special Education! Whoop! Upon graduating, I accepted a K-1 Resource Position at Snyder Elementary here in Conroe ISD. I was a Snyder Stallion from January - May. I absolutely loved my time at Snyder Elementary. The administration and staff was phenomenal. They laid the foundation upon which I would grow as an individual as well as a First Year Teacher. Due to allocations, my position was cut. I departed with a tear in my eye, but so much joy in my heart for all that was to come at Grand Oaks High School. It has been a true honor and privilege to withhold the title "Teacher" here at Grand Oaks High School.

2. Tell us how you decided to become a teacher.

Ah! I love this question! For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a teacher. My junior year of High School, I joined our Ready Set Teach Program. Through this program, I had the opportunity to complete internships. It was through these internships I found my passion and love for teaching, specifically in the Special Education setting. Got the degree, and here I am!

3. What is your favorite part of the teaching day?

My favorite part of the teaching day is the time spent with my students. It is during those moments I get to see connections being made, relationships being built, learning happening, and light bulbs going off. I love being "Ms. W" to my students.

4. What is most important to you as you spend your day with your students?

The most important thing to me is that when my students enter my classroom, they know that they are respected, included, valued, and loved. If they know these things, I have done my job.

5. In your own words, can you explain the Grizzly Bean? How it works. How you came up with the idea.

The Grizzly Bean is a coffee shop, on wheels, employed by the students in our Life Skills classroom, serving Grand Oaks High School Teachers and Staff. We treat The Grizzly Bean as if it were a place of employment in the community. On Mondays, students stuff "Grizzly Bean Order Forms" in staff mailboxes (we're looking to go paperless in the near future.) Staff have until Wednesday afternoon to "place" their orders. All order forms are placed in my mailbox and on Thursday, our students collect those forms to begin preparing for Friday. The Grizzly Bean Order Form specifies: the staff members name, their room number, and what the staff member has requested: Plain Grizzly Bean Coffee, Creamer, Sweet N Low, Sugar, etc. Our students are required to read the form and prepare accordingly. Friday is obviously the BEST day of the week! IT'S GRIZZLY BEAN COFFEE DAY! On Friday, our students run the show. The coffee gets made, the cart gets stocked, and our baristas are ready to Rock and Roll. It is obvious to me that they absolutely love it!

As for how I came up with this idea - it just happened and I ran with it. The Grizzly Bean has always and will always be about our students. I had the idea, they had the excitement and drive to make it come alive. They deserve the recognition.

6. Part of your plan is to use some of the funds to start the coffee cart at other schools, tell us about that?

YES! We would LOVE to "adopt" a feeder Life Skills class and fund a coffee cart for their school. Discussion is still being had, so stay tuned! It is going to be great!!!

7. What inspires you?

Our students. It's that simple. If you want to know why, come spend a day with me!

8. Tell us about your favorite teacher growing up and why?

I'm going to make this more of a "shout-out." This one is for the ones who got me here. It took all of you. You know who you are. THANK YOU!

Grade School TeachersGrade School AdministratorsBlinn College - Undergraduate ProfessorsTexas A&M University - Undergraduate ProfessorsMethods & Student Teaching Mentor TeachersMethods & Student Teaching Mentor Administrators Snyder Elementary Administration

9. Fun Fact: What is something we should know about you that we don’t?

I am obsessed with coffee! 😉

Congratulations, ​Shelby!