If you didn’t know Jason Hostetler when he was growing up it might be hard to imagine him as a quiet, timid person. But that’s just what he was until he entered high school.
“Two of my high school English teachers, Mrs. Williams and Mrs. Green, inspired me to pursue English and helped me to find my voice,” said Hostetler, assistant principal at Portage High School. “I was fairly shy and always nervous speaking in front of people as a child, but Mrs. Williams encouraged me to participate in drama and Mrs. Greene was both my English and Speech teacher.”
His time in their classrooms left a deep impression on Hostetler and helped push him to pursue a career in education.
“They were outstanding and inspirational educators who helped me learn to speak with confidence in front of others,” he said. “That was something that would be a key part of my career choice later on. To me, they modeled what great educators should look like.”
When he graduated from North Newton High, Hostetler pursued a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education at Indiana University Northwest. He jumped straight into teaching after finishing his degree and spent 13 years leading classrooms.
“Throughout my teaching career I taught at-risk youth in Merrillville High School,” Hostetler said. “While it was a position I was simply hired into, I developed a passion for working for and showing success to students who may not have had much academic success before.”
His experiences left him interested in moving toward academic administration, with the goal of initiating broader changes and programs to reach even more students. He’s been an administrator for the last four years, and this year got the chance to lead the TRIBE Alternative Program.
“Administration let me expand that role and influence, and now I get to oversee an alternative education program and continue to find more opportunities for students who may otherwise drop-out, be expelled, or continue to fail,” he said. “I enjoy that I get to help not just students who are self-motivated, but also students in need of second chances and alternative paths to success.”
Hostetler and his family have lived in the Portage area for the last 10 years, and his kids attend school in the district.
“I love that I get to be a part of their educational experience,” he said. “It also makes me that much more committed to continuing to grow our school and keep moving it toward greatness.”
In both his work and daily life, Hostetler leans on one piece of advice he tells himself all the time.
“Don’t take things personally,” he said. “People are complicated and prone to saying or doing things they don’t really mean to direct at you. Try and understand why they’re upset or angry and find where you have common ground instead of focusing on your differences.”
In his free time, he enjoys writing fiction and maintaining his saltwater reef tank at home.