Three Seymour educators recently earned recognition for not only teaching, but for making a lasting impact on the lives of their students.
The three recipients of this year’s Teacher of the Year award from the Jackson County Chamber are Linda Hume for elementary school, Nathan Owen for middle school and Cathy Reasoner for high school.
The awards were distributed during a program on the evening of Sept. 16 that also featured a drive-thru meal at Aerial Farmer’s large green hangar at Freeman Field in Seymour.
Chamber Director Dan Robison said during a brief speech that the theme for this year’s event, “A Totally ‘90s Party,” was selected because it’s the chamber’s 90th birthday.
Hume has taught at Seymour-Redding Elementary School for 32 years and education has evolved through her time as a teacher. She has learned to adapt, grow and be flexible in order to ensure her students get the education they deserve.
“Each new school day and school year is unique and the most unique was the 2020-2021 school year,” Hume said. “Over the years, the biggest change I have seen in the classroom is the use of technology.”
To adapt to that change, she has learned to incorporate technology into the classroom to adapt to societal changes.
“I have learned to take each new day in stride and be able to think on my feet in order to stay flexible during the school year,” Hume said. “Ever since I was young, I have enjoyed school. As a student, I had many impactful teachers that made my educational experience fulfilling.
“These educators inspired me to become a teacher, but my greatest inspiration was my grandmother, Mentoria Abraham, who also taught at Redding as a kindergarten teacher. My passion for learning, growing, and shaping young minds led me to become a teacher. “
Teaching is Hume’s passion and she is so grateful to be able to teach for the community she grew up in and could not imagine being in another profession,” she said.
Born and raised in Seymour, Hume currently teaches third grade. She taught fifth grade for a couple years when she first began teaching.
”My favorite part about teaching is watching students grow during the school year and continuing to see them be successful in future years,” she said. “As my teaching experience has lengthened, I have enjoyed seeing former students grow in the community, graduate from high school and college and begin their career.”
She said the most challenging part about teaching is ensuring each student in her classroom gets adequate attention and support to allow them to grow and learn. Her classroom motto is, ‘Be kind to others.’
In Hume’s spare time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, shopping, walking, playing card games, lake days and attending sporting events.
She has been married to her husband, Jim, for 26 years and they have two daughters, Lindsey and Emily.
“I was so honored and humbled when I found out that I was named the 2021 Elementary Teacher of the Year,” Hume said. “Seymour Community Schools has many wonderful teachers that provide tremendous support and a great learning environment to their students. To be selected as the Elementary Teacher of the Year among so many amazing teachers is truly special and an honor I will cherish forever.”
Nathan Owen was born in Seymour and graduated from Orleans High School. He attended the University of Southern Indiana and ran cross country and track and started his teaching career in Okeechobee, Florida, where he also was a varsity cross country, track and basketball coach.
Owen moved back to Jackson County around 2009, when a science teacher job became available at Seymour Middle School. He applied knowing he wanted to be back in Indiana, because of family.
“I had nephews that were young and more on the way and each time I would come home to visit it was harder to leave them,” he said. “I loved my time in Okeechobee and learned so much from Mr. Brian Greseth. You could not ask for a better mentor/boss/friend. Mr. Greseth is the living definition of servant-leadership.”
Owen now lives in the Seymour school district and his parents are Loretta and Gary Cox of Freetown and Mike and Denise Owen of Mitchell.
“I wanted to become a teacher because of my coaches and teachers, Coach Denbo, Coach McClintic, Coach Baker and Mrs. Humphries, who all taught more than a sport or subject,” he said. “We would have run through a brick wall for them because we knew they cared about us as individuals. How can you not want to replicate that?”
Owen currently teaches math and science for grades six through eight at OWL Tech.
“This is the first year for OWL Tech. We have a wonderful staff that cares and we are trying to make this the best virtual program we can offer for our students and community,” he said. “I hope this program continues to grow and offer opportunities for many students.”
Owen’s favorite part of teaching is seeing students grow.
“We are all afraid of failure but that is such a huge part of the learning process. When a student can learn to try and fail, we can see what we need to work on,” he said. “When they bounce back and find a new level of success, that is what teaching/coaching is all about. “
As for the biggest challenge to teaching, Owen said it’s technology.
“Technology can be a blessing, but in teaching I find it also adds so much work,” he said. “There is now a nonstop work day and teachers have to force themselves to unplug. Email, notifications, hundreds of different programs, etc… I think this is true for most jobs and we would all benefit from some slow down time.”
He always tells the kids, ‘It is OK to try and fail, but it isn’t OK to not try” and he often repeats, ‘The smartest people ask the most questions.’ We don’t know what we don’t know, so the only way any of us can learn is by doing. “
As for being named a teacher of the year, Owen said it’s a huge honor to be recognized by people you work with and respect.
“It was not something I even had on my mind and I think all of us at the Sixth Grade Center were all focused on our mission. I think this is really a recognition of the entire sixth grade staff.”
He said the teaching experience so far at OWL Tech has been amazing.
“That does not mean it has been easy. Our numbers have really grown and that forces you to adjust, but the relationships we are building is what is important,” Owen said. “For Seymour to offer a program like this says something. This program is a win for the community.”
He said the award is special and is truly a reflection of his mom, who did everything for him and his family to make sure they had a good life.
“I wouldn’t be a teacher and I would have never picked up a basketball without her,” Owen said. I wouldn’t change a thing about the childhood I was given. My dad and stepdad have led by example when it comes to work ethic, that helps on those days you want to take off.”
Owen said his coaches, fellow teachers and principals who have led him are all special to him.
”Jami Franklin, has been a wonderful friend that I have worked with every year I have been at SCSC , so she has had to put up with a lot,” he said. “Most of all, it’s the students and I have been very blessed to teach some wonderful people. I am always so proud when I get to read or hear about their accomplishments.”
Cathy Reasoner grew up in Whiteland with her parents and her brother, Randy, and moved to Seymour in 1984.
Her parents ran their household around the motto, “Always work hard and make your boss look good.” This is something she has worked to carry with her throughout her professional career.
Her husband, Greg, has supported her throughout her various career moves and shares an interest in business and technology that propels her forward. Her daughter, Stephanie, has followed her love of teaching and teaches in Alexandria, Virginia. Reasoner has two grandchildren, Dawson and Bennett.
“My current position is the work-based learning teacher and I place students in different companies depending on their career,” Reasoner said. “I have kids out at Aisin in engineering and at Valeo in engineering and finance and just lots of kids at lots of different places.”
She went on to say, Seymour is the only school she has worked for and her favorite part of teaching is she loves to see the students grow and see the ‘I get it’ moments.
“The most challenging part is helping students to recognize what they learn in school can be very beneficial as they move on to the next stage of life, whether that be getting a job or going to college,” Reasoner said. “My philosophy for the classroom is, a career is not about money. It’s about finding a career that you are passionate about and getting up every morning and looking forward to going to work.”
Reasoner said when she learned about her teacher of the year award, she felt very humbled.
“My business teacher in high school was a huge reason why I wanted to become a business teacher. She had such passion and love for teaching,” she said. “I’m thankful that Seymour Community Schools has made work-based learning available for our students and thankful for our business and industry partners for opening up their doors and giving our students a first hand look at the world of work.”