James S. Sinclair, who is better known as “Jimmy,” has been named the 2020/2021 Teacher of the Year at the Pines Middle School, a public school in Pembroke Pines, Florida. The school has 846 students in Grades 6 through 8. Sinclair became a reading teacher at the school in 2005. He has been recognized twice by the State of Florida for being among the top five percent of educators teaching literacy in the state. The Teacher of the Year designation is given annually to outstanding teachers. He was previously designated as a Highly Effective Teacher in several school years. He has also served on the school’s Tech Committee and was its soccer coach until COVID-19 interrupted all sporting activities. In naming Sinclair for the Teacher of the Year award, special mention was made of his deep involvement in the literacy development of his students and his efforts at helping them their artistic abilities through the teaching of art, which he began in 2019.
Sinclair was born in Hermitage, August Town, St. Andrew in Jamaica in 1958. He attended Jamaica College from 1974 to 1976 and attained seven General Certificate O Level Passes, obtaining Distinction in World History and Credit in Geography. He attended Alabama A&M University in Normal, Alabama, graduating with Great Honors in General Business in 1982. He then received a Master of Science in Reading Education from Nova South Eastern University in 2005. He also earned the Florida Certified Teachers License in Reading Education with an ESOL Endorsement.
Sinclair had an illustrious sports career as well. During his time at Jamaica College, Sinclair was a member of the team that won Manning Cup in 1974. His team was also a finalist for the 1975 Manning Cup, and he was chosen to be on the all-school team in both 1974 and 1975. He was a member of the Real Mona Football Club and was called to the national team, making the final cut and representing Jamaica in China. In college, he was on several NCAA teams that reached significant levels of competition
He returned to Jamaica after graduating early from college in 1982. He then followed his desire to give back to Jamaica College for helping him on his journey in life and coached there from 1982 to 1984.
He started his teaching career in 1998 when he worked as an aftercare teacher at Embassy Creek Elementary. When the school ended its aftercare program, Sinclair was invited to apply for a position at Pines Middle School, whereupon he went back to school at Nova South Eastern University to get his MA in Education.
Sinclair an active member in the Jamaica College Old Boys Association of Florida and states that giving back to his school is very important to him. He monitors the Calabar Tournament every year for the board and is an annual participant in the Zadie Cup and the Annual Breakfast. He is devoted to his family, believing that being a good father is one of his greatest accomplishments. He says he is “eternally grateful” to his wife for her support over the years.
In a message of appreciation to Sinclair, a former student wrote, “ I finished my bachelor’s in Finance at UCF, and I’m sitting for the last exam of the Chartered Financial Analyst program as well in December. I took a moment to reflect the other day on what led me to this career path, and I realized that if it wasn’t for your “Money” class in the 8th grade, I don’t think I’d be working in finance today. I just wanted to thank you and let you know the impact your class had on my future! I found it very interesting learning about the markets at a pretty young age (wish I had some capital back then to invest! haha) and it gave me the initial spark to pursue a career in finance/capital markets.” – Shawn Thamarasseril
Sinclair also garnered praise from his peers.
“There are those rare people who come into your life who are eagles. They inspire others. They challenge others to risk and fly higher. James Sinclair is a kind and passionate person who makes you believe anything is possible.” -said Kathy L. Keith PBIS Specialist & past Principal, Pines Middle School.
“I am so very proud of Mr. Sinclair for being selected as teacher of the year for Pines Middle School. Each and every day Mr. Sinclair goes above and beyond for his students and his colleagues. Mr. Sinclair always has a smile and a gentle disposition. Our students are very fortunate to have him. He’s a great guy!” said Ricardo E. Angus, Intern Principal, Pines Middle School.