Every day at Singley Academy students are gaining practical skills for their dream careers from industry experts like the Hinkle brothers. Barry Hinkle, who teaches homeland security, and Jay Hinkle, one of the firefighting teachers, are used to being on the frontline. Combined they have more than five decades of experience as first responders, Barry as a police officer and Jay primarily as a firefighter. Now as teachers they continue to serve others by sharing their expertise on what it takes to be a first responder.
“I want my students to be the most ethical person they can be,” says Barry. “We’re all going to make mistakes, but ethics and integrity will be a huge part of their life in law enforcement and as a regular citizen.”
The passion these brothers have not just for the subjects they teach but also serving others is immediately apparent to anyone who meets them. For junior Rogelio Alvarez this was one of the reasons why he chose the law and public service pathway at Singley, which includes classes taught by both Hinkle brothers.
“I thought it looked really fun and interesting, and I really liked the teachers,” says Alvarez. “We get to learn about what firefighters do, like now we’re learning about their tools and appliances and how to set them up.”
While in Jay’s firefighting course, students participate in assignments that give them an up-close look at what it takes to be a firefighter. After studying a particular skill, all students suit up in the heavy firefighter uniform and practice drills with Jay’s expert guidance.
By the time they graduate these students will have a sturdy foundation of the skills needed to enter a variety of first responder careers. This will put students like Nicholas Perdomo, who hopes to one day be a firefighter himself, one step closer to their dream job.
“They’re teaching me a good work ethic, how to work hard and stay focused,” says Perdomo. “After I graduate I plan to get scholarships, go to college and later on become a firefighter.”
For both Hinkle brothers, sharing their expertise with students is part of a lifelong commitment to serving others. Barry, the older of the two, began his career in public safety as a junior fireman when he was just 14 years old. He later went through the police academy and served more than 30 years as patrolman, field training officer and eventually, chief.
Jay’s introduction to public safety dates back to 1989, when he participated in a ride out program in Southlake. He was immediately hooked and went on to the police academy at Tarrant County Junior College. Later his focus shifted to firefighting and public safety, and he went on to serve as arson investigator, fire prevention specialist, and deputy fire marshal.
Now as a teacher, Jay remains dedicated to serving and promoting the safety of others above all else.
“I have been exposed to real life events that most others only read about,” says Jay. “[My] life experience gives the students an accurate expectation of what they will encounter in the field and keeps them interested and asking questions. The fire service is my life and I know it well. Now it’s time to share it with the next generation of firefighters.”