Oklahoma Teacher of the Year, John Hazell, named commencement speaker

University Communications

DURANT, Okla. – It’s only fitting that a renowned educator would be the commencement speaker at Southeastern Oklahoma State University – a school with a proud tradition of educating teachers.

That will be the case this fall as Jon Hazell, a science teacher at Durant High School and Oklahoma’s 2017 Teacher of the Year, will be the commencement speaker at Southeastern on Saturday, December 16.

Two commencement ceremonies will be held in Bloomer Sullivan Arena, beginning at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

The schedule for Commencement ceremonies is as follows:

10 a.m.

School of Arts & Sciences

Master of Technology

Master of Music Education

Master of Science (Native American Leadership)

2 p.m.

School of Education & Behavioral Sciences

John Massey School of Business

Master of Business Administration

Master of Science (Aerospace Administration and Logistics)

Master of Arts (Clinical Mental Health Counseling)

Master of Education

Master of Arts (Teaching)

Master of Science (Safety)

Master of Science (Sports Studies and Athletic Administration)

Hazell has taught Anatomy & Physiology, Biology, and Environmental Science at Durant High School for 34 years. His wife, Jeanie, has taught 2nd grade in Durant for 32 years.

They have done missionary work with churches and schools in various parts of Africa and Mexico, and Jon serves on the Treasure of Life Board, an organization dedicated to promoting social justice in Ghana; is a founding board member of J 127 ministries, an organization dedicated to helping children who have aged out of Foster Care in obtaining housing and furthering their education; and serves on the board of Families Feeding Families, a local food kitchen that serves food daily to those unable to provide adequate food for their families.

Hazell has also been active in jail and prison ministry for 20 years. He serves on the Bio-med educational advisory board for the Kiamichi Technology Center, and he is the Student Council Advisor and the FCA huddle leader for Durant High School.

He is also the pastor of the Community Christian Church in Durant.

During his teaching career, Hazell has received several awards and honors: During the past year, he was awarded the Professional Oklahoma Educators award as the outstanding high school teacher in Oklahoma; he was presented the Diamond Book Award by the Teachers Appreciation Foundation for 2017; he was recently presented the Award for Teaching Excellence by the OEA; and he was named the 2017-2018 Teacher of the Year for the State of Oklahoma.

Hazell holds bachelor (‘82) and master’s (’88) degrees from Southeastern.

He said he was inspired to teach by his father, Dr. Don Hazell, who taught biological sciences at Southeastern Oklahoma State University for 32 years.

“I grew up with constant reminders and affirmation of the respect afforded to the teaching profession. That created a spark in me,” he said. “It showed the influence a teacher could have not only on students, but also on all the people those students influenced.”

Hazell assumed his full-time Teacher of the Year duties on July 1, 2017, which includes speaking engagements and serving as Oklahoma’s teacher ambassador, encouraging others to enter or remain in the profession.

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