Onsted Teacher of the Month is Jason Hunt
By Alaina Ellison,
Principal, Onsted Middle School
and John Hummer, Editor
Students are in charge of their learning in Jason Hunt’s classrooms at Onsted Middle School, but that’s because Hunt does an excellent job of finding new ways for them to explore their creativity, says school principal Alaina Ellison.
Hunt, the school’s Project Lead The Way instructor for grades 6 to 8, is not afraid to look for new and innovative ways for students to learn. Project Lead The Way is a Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) program.
“Jason utilizes real world problems in his class and has the students work to find solutions,” Ellison said. “He values the importance of hard work and models it each day for his students. He looks for ways to give back to the community through the work in his classrooms.”
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Jason grew up in Onsted. There are three generations of Hunts that hail from the small Lenawee County village. In addition to him and his brothers, Hunt’s parents and grandparents all graduated from Onsted High School. It goes back even further.
“One of my great grandparents helped build one of the small schools down on the corner of Shepherd and Onsted Highway – Kimball School – it’s a one-room schoolhouse,” Jason said. He added that his grandparents both taught in one-room schoolhouses in the area.
Education runs even deeper in the family. One of his uncles was principal at East Jackson High School and his dad was a teacher at the Lenawee Vocational Technical Center.
“Just about everybody in our family is involved in public service, either in teaching or in law enforcement,” Jason says proudly.
“They simply do not make teachers like Jason anymore. He is more than a teacher – he is the rock of our OMS family.”
Hunt earned his bachelor’s degree from Western Michigan University in elementary education, social studies, special education, and mental impairment for kindergarten through age 26. He then went on to obtain his master’s degree in learning disabilities from Eastern Michigan University. He also spent time in the Michigan National Guard in the 142nd Engineering Battalion out of Fort Custer in Battle Creek.
Jason is in his 25th year of teaching at Onsted Community Schools. He coached varsity cross country for 20 years and high school and middle school track for 24 years. He is returning as the cross-country coach in the fall of 2019.
“I really try to focus on personalizing learning and identifying student needs,” he says of his teaching strategy. In addition, Hunt teaches students robotics and co-coaches the district’s robotics team.
“It gives them hands-on learning opportunities to be creative and build things and be innovators and free thinkers,” he said. “We’ve got a number of projects just to teach them how to think differently and to make decisions and get ready for the world.”
While he focuses on the content and the standards, he is much more interested in students being able to walk away with a skill, and the grit and motivation to use the skill.
Outside of the classroom, Jason is active in the community, constantly seen at sporting events and other community events. He is a role model as a leader in the building and his classroom, and students look up to him because of this.
“I believe in a sense of community and being committed to the Irish Hills area,” Jason says. “We have a lot of great things to offer in this area for kids and a safe and secure environment to raise families. We just need to be grateful for the blessings that we have here.”
“He is the person you can rely on to be there at a moment’s notice with no questions asked,” said Ellison. “Jason doesn’t’ complain – he looks for solutions!”
In his own time, Jason enjoys the outdoors – hunting, fishing, and shooting sports. He also loves carpentry and woodworking and builds custom-built furniture.
“Lately it’s been rustic furniture and different types of natural edge tables, benches, and anything like that,” he said.
Ellison said it is difficult to summarize how amazing Mr. Hunt is as a teacher.
“Not a day goes by where he isn’t looking for ways to inspire and mold our students,” she says. “They simply do not make teachers like Jason anymore. He is more than a teacher – he is the rock of our OMS family.”