Meet the Teacher: Hunsaker strives to be a positive influence at QCHS

Queen Creek High School teacher, Joe Hunsaker. (submitted photo)

Name: Joe Hunsaker

Age (optional): 63

School: Queen Creek High School

Why you chose to work in the district: This district has a positive reputation of teachers that support each other, and support students. That is the type of district I want to be a part of.

What I like most about what I do: Being a positive influence on students is a core part of my value system, and I get to do that in my classes. High school students are at an important transition point in their lives, just at the cusp of adulthood. They respond so well to a positive and caring environment and I see them developing into the generation of tomorrow. I am optimistic about the future when I see the direction students at Queen Creek High School are going.

Where did you come from: I’ve lived in New Mexico, Arkansas, California, and Kansas, but I’ve lived here in the East Valley over 30 years.

If I had picked a different occupation it might have been: I have actually had three other professions before becoming a teacher. I started off as a mechanic, working on vehicles and heavy equipment. I then got a bachelor’s degree in Bible and Theology and became a pastor and police chaplain. That led me to getting a Master’s Degree in counseling, and I worked as a mental health counselor for several years. During the great recession I re-careered by going back to school and getting a second Master’s Degree, this time in education.

What I’m looking forward to most this school year: There is a strong emphasis this year on building relationships with students and strengthening our culture of building a caring environment. That really appeals to me!

My vision for the school: My vision is right along the lines of our mission statement and our vision statement; having students experience a safe and caring environment that facilitates them to be life-long learners who serve the community. That is not just a cliche – that’s really the vision I have.

People who inspired me (and how): Certainly, my parents both inspired me by being strong moral examples with an unshakable Christian commitment to love and serve others. My high school band director inspired me to do things I’d never thought of, and to pursue excellence in whatever I do. I am also inspired by my wife of 34 years, whose dedication to family values and concern for others is unmatched by anyone I know.

One thing I want students to know about me: I really do love each and every one of you, even though I am pretty strict and set standards that you may think are higher than what you can reach.

One thing I want parents to know about me: I see myself as a short-term partner with you in helping your son or daughter learn, grow, and develop. I desire open communication with you to make sure we are supporting each other with the precious soul we are sharing this school year.

My advice to today’s youth: Slow down, take breaks from the digital world, and connect with your friends in face-to-face contexts. I worry that your world revolves around your cell phone. Encourage and support one another because we all need that. Stretch yourself by trying new things and pursue excellence in what you do. Take time to laugh. Finally: Don’t do drugs, always wear your seatbelts, and Don’t Forget To Be Awesome (DFTBA)!

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