Driven to Succeed: Alum Taps into Hard Work, Passion, and Energy
| by Kristen Johnson firstname.lastname@example.org
Some people might say that alum Jason Menard, just 7 years out of MNU, is too young to be a high school assistant principal and athletic director. But those people clearly have not met Jason. Driven is an understatement.
Jason, a 2010 physical education graduate, has been motivated to succeed since he discovered what he was meant to do. At first he had trouble settling on a major, but he gave in, took the advice of others, and decided to go into education. This began Jason’s quest to be successful.
“I knew that PE was a highly competitive field. And, there are not very many PE teachers in each school district,” he pointed out.
As he neared graduation, Jason took it upon himself to seek out employment. He researched the school districts in Kansas and picked out his top 200 choices. He sent a complete resume and credentials to all 200 schools. In June of 2010 he was hired to teach elementary PE at an Andover grade school. With this first job he accomplished a major goal. A job meant that he would be earning money, and he could marry his college sweetheart, Heidi Moore (2010).
Jason’s next goal: to finish his masters in Administration before having children. He knew that if his wife was going to stay home and raise their children, as was the couple’s goal, he would have to advance his career.
Again, Jason worked hard and met his goal. After he graduated with his Master’s in Administration from Wichita State University, he was hired as the assistant principal and athletic director for Douglass High School in Douglass, KS. And after a whirlwind of graduating with his master’s, moving to Douglass, and having their first child, Jason and his wife settled and are enjoying life.
But Jason is not just about working his way up the ladder. This alum makes a difference wherever he is placed.
Choosing to use his love of sports to influence the students in his building, he’s started several new activities to highlight student achievement, challenge student athletes, and promote school spirit. Jason makes YouTube videos of interviews with athletes and coaches before and after big games. He also organized the first ever area high school press conference. He is particularly proud of this endeavor because it brought attention to his school and students, and it gave senior athletes a platform to practice public speaking skills. He also organized a basketball challenge tournament involving the 10 schools in his league and the 10 schools in the league to the north.
As a young, tech-savvy individual, Jason also had the opportunity to establish his school’s social media presence. The school is now active on Facebook and Twitter, sharing the achievements of the students in the district. His efforts have been well-received by the parents and kids in Douglass.
“Adding that whole dynamic really breathed some life into our district,” he explained.
Yes, Jason Menard is the type of person who sets goals and knocks them down one by one.
“I don’t settle for people saying, ‘This is the way we’ve always done it.’ I think there is always room for improvement,” he said.
This is an attitude he attributes to his parents and several MNU professors, like MNU Professor Brad King. Jason always pushes himself to impress those that he admires and respects. And his classes at MNU provided ample opportunities for him to push himself with lots of hands-on teaching experience through placements and practicums in Olathe schools. Not one of his supervising teachers took it easy on him. He found himself teaching challenging subject matter even on his first day of observation!
He admits, “It really prepared me to go out into the world of teaching!”
So what’s Jason’s next big goal? For now, he’s happy to raise his two girls, Presley (3 ½) and Rowan (1), in Douglass. He has no desire to be a principal or a superintendent, but hopes to someday be involved in athletics at the college level. He is just trusting and waiting until God opens that door. And you can believe that when God does, Jason will work hard until he achieves his goals.
“My future is bright, but unknown. Whatever I do will be a good choice because I will make the best out of it. I will go where God leads me!”
- All the Menard brothers graduated from MNU--Josh (2007), Jason (2010) and Jared (2012); and all married women who graduated from MNU
- Jason was part of the 2004 NCCAA National Championship Soccer team
- Served as VP of Intramurals during his senior year