Jarod Hammel, a Viking New Tech math teacher and freshman baseball coach at Huntington North High School, is the Huntington County Community School Corporation’s 2016 Teacher of the Year.
He received the prestigious award Wednesday, May 25, during the corporation’s end-of-year breakfast, held in the HNHS school cafeteria.
Hammel was chosen from a select pack of 10 teachers, each one chosen as the 2016 teacher of the year from his or her respective school.
Superintendent Randy Harris said the committee charged with choosing the teacher of the year looked hard at all the candidates before picking Hammel as the cream of the crop.
“It may be a close vote, but I think this person may pick himself to be the least likely to be the pick,” Harris said as he announced Hammel’s name. “I think if we took a vote up here, maybe that person would win.”
“In trying to find a teacher of the year that exemplifies all the things … the relationships and making teaching come alive, Jarod does that,” said HNHS Principal Chad Daugherty. “One thing that comes to mind about Jarod Hammel, I went down to his classroom one early morning, and it was amazing to see the number of students who were down there — not just for math help, but they were down there to talk to him about life.
“I saw one student come to him and shared with him something that had happened to him at home that he was excited about. This student didn’t have much at home; his best day was coming here to school and seeing Mr. Hammel first thing in the morning.
“He knows relationships are just key. He tries to make life relate to what they’re doing.”
Daugherty recalled one time when Hammel called the Huntington County Sheriff’s Department to make sure it was OK to put skid marks out in the parking lot. The reason: the students were going to calculate how fast the car was going from measuring the length of the skid marks.
“That’s what he does to try to bring things to life in his class,” Daugherty said. “The kids love it, they were engaged … I could not be more proud to have a great role model for our students and represent Huntington North.”
Hammel said he was “shocked” by hearing his name called, and as Harris predicted, said he didn’t really feel worthy to be chosen as the top teacher of 2016. He credited others’ influence, especially in his formative years.
“If I do accept it, I accept it as a product of the school corporation and all the other teachers whom I have learned from, from my time at Lancaster as a student and all the great teachers I had there, and right on through Riverview and here at the high school,” he said. “I learned from some of the best and now I teach alongside the best.”
Hammel confessed his teaching style has also been enhanced by emulating his colleagues.
“I just watch other teachers and I try and steal as much as I possibly can from them,” he said. “It’s not a craft that you learn from a textbook, it’s a craft that you learn from watching other teachers be successful in the little things. I’ve stolen an awful lot, particularly from other math teachers.”
Hammel said there has been a stretch of blessings in his life lately, including the birth of a new baby, adding he didn’t feel like he deserved any of them.
Harris had high praise for each of the schools’ teachers of the year, saying that in his rookie year as superintendent he has been impressed with the quality of educators at HCCSC.
“It amazes me, when I saw the list of all the teachers of the year, how many I’ve been able to get to know, even casually, because I go around from building to building,” Harris said. “They just stick out — they show their love of kids, their concern for the profession of education, and it’s truly humbling to me to watch that within our classrooms.”
The remaining HCCSC individual school teachers of the year are:
• Kristin Rupp, second grade, Andrews Elementary School.
• John Stoffel, fifth grade, Flint Springs Elementary School.
• Roxanne Stouder, kindergarten, Lancaster Elementary School.
• Rachel Smith, fifth grade, Lincoln Elementary School.
• Jennifer Bowman, third grade, Northwest Elementary School.
• Deb Fields, first grade, Roanoke Elementary School.
• Cindy Brooks, fourth grade, Salamonie School.
• Lindsay Sloan, seventh grade language arts, Crestview Middle School.
• Heather Hiple, eighth grade resource, Riverview Middle School.
In addition, the corporation recognized retirees, presenting each with an engraved mantle clock.
• Lancaster – Bevan Bauchla, fifth grade; Deb Schwartz, first grade and Mary Batterson, paraprofessional.
• Lincoln – Sally Morrison, first grade.
• Roanoke – Deb Fields, first grade.
• Crestview – Brad Ludlow, assistant principal.
• Riverview – Dave Goodmiller, sixth grade.
• HNHS – Mary DeLaney, language arts.
• Food Service – Kathleen Milller, HNHS; Rita Odquist, Riverview and Pam Stanley, Lincoln.
• Transportation – Deb Bowman and Frank Bowman.
• Huntington Special Services – Candy Lisinicchia, preschool coordinator, HMEC.
• HMEC Administrative – Chuck Grable, assistant superintendent for instruction.
Employees were also recognized for reaching 25 years of service with the school corporation. They are Jennifer Bowman, third grade, Northwest; Cheryl Goodmiller, counselor, Crestview and Riverview; and Rod Richison, interim assistant principal at Crestview and dean of students at HNHS.
Northwest Elementary School received the Healthy Working Lives trophy, presented by Parkview Wellness Coordinators Courtney Drummond and Jessica Johnson. Northwest Principal Mark DuBois accepted the award, provided by the Employee Benefit Trust, on behalf of the school’s employees, who won the corporation’s “Fitgo Bingo” wellness challenge this past spring.