State Superintendent Dr. David Stewart made the announcement during a ceremony that recognized Hughes and his fellow county teachers of the year.
“As an agriculture science teacher and FFA advisor, I get the unique opportunity of having many of my students in class for up to four years,”said Hughes. “Four years in the classroom and lab setting, along with countless FFA events allows my students and me to form lasting relationships.”
Hughes says that he loves the challenge of trying to shape the minds and personalities of students through his teaching and influence. He says that it is gratifying to see students mature and become capable adults. One of the rewards he finds in teaching is to see his students meet the challenge of high expectations and grow in maturity and dependability in the process.
“It is my distinct privilege to honor such a fine educator in our state’s public school system. Mr. Hughes exemplifies the meaning of master teacher not only by his leadership skills, but also by displaying an extraordinary dedication to his students,” Dr. Stewart said. “Jason’s dedication to his students by preparing them for college or the workplace has made him worthy of this award.”
One of the bigger issues education faces today is the negative perception it has, according to Hughes. He believes there is more positive news in public education than negative. The effect of a negative public perception about education is far reach and hard to control.
“I believe that it begins with the teacher in the local school system. The greatest revivals begin at the grassroots level,” Hughes said. “It all begins with the teacher and his or her students. As teachers, we must take the initiative and begin our very own marketing plan for education.”
Community involvement plays an important role in Hughes’ teaching career and personal life. He has organized several activities that allow his students to give back to the community. For example, they conducted a free countywide water testing program and more than 50 citizens brought in water samples to be tested. Once the testing was complete, the results were mailed to the citizens.
But one of his greatest accomplishments in his community was founding the Pleasants County Agricultural Youth Fair. After meeting with many local individuals and agencies during the course of a few years, the first fair was held in 2000. Since its inception, the fair has grown with more than 50 4-H and FFA members showing their livestock. The event also includes stage entertainment, timber sports, pony pulls and many more events that attract thousands of people from his community and surrounding communities.
As West Virginia's 2005 Teacher of the Year, Huges will receive an educational technology package from the Smarter Kids Foundation valued at approximately $14,300. The award includes a SMART Board ™ , interactive whiteboard, floor stand and 25 copies of SMART Ideas® concept-mapping software from SMART Technologies.
Hughes was selected from six finalists who came from a field of 50 Teacher of the Year nominees. A committee appointed by the State Superintendent of Schools to evaluate the county nominees selects the state Teacher of the Year. Sponsored by the Council of Chief State School Officers and the Smarter Kids Foundation, the Teacher of the Year is the longest, ongoing awards program honoring classroom teachers in the country.