The student voice of St. George's Independent School.

Institute for Citizenship welcomes Mr. Jason Hills

Photo: Annie Vento

Mr. Jason Hills chats with interested sophomore and junior students about his plans for the Citizenship program next year. Mr. Hills visited St. George’s on Monday, March 30, to introduce himself to students, faculty and parents through presentations and an informal lunch discussion.

Annie Vento, Sports Editor/Copy Editor

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After more than two months of candidate interviews and nearly four months following Mr. Luther Mercer’s announcement of his departure, Mr. Jason Hills has been selected as the Citizenship Institute teacher.

Applicants from around the world applied for the unique job opportunity. Those who particularly interested the board in charge of reviewing the candidates were invited to teach a citizenship class to current juniors who are a part of the Institute, as well as meeting with sophomore participants in Challenge 20/20.

“There are numerous directions in which the Citizenship Institute can grow,” said Mr. Timothy Gibson, director of college guidance and student life, “We knew that we wanted someone with a clear vision to help expand the program, coupled with the teaching experience, so that the program offers a challenging academic base.”

Mr. Hills has been teaching in both independent and public schools for eighteen years and has taught subjects such as world history, government and religion. Since the Citizenship Institute is known for its trips to places such as New York City and Washington D.C., Mr. Hills’ experience with travel and global learning stands out. At Providence Day School, where he taught as a faculty member and leader in Global Education, he taught about global issues and received a Global Educator’s certificate.

Mr. Hills will be filling the shoes of Mr. Luther Mercer, who was the creator and director of the Institute of Citizenship for four years and worked at St. George’s for seven years. After departing in October of 2014, Mr. Mercer began working at the Memphis branch of the non-profit organization New Leaders.

“I’m actually very excited that we’ve finally hired a new head of Citizenship, [and] I’m excited to see what he has in store for us,” said junior Courtney Miller, who is in her first year of the two-year Citizenship Institute commitment. “I know Mr. Mercer has some awesome plans for the Citizenship Institute, and I would love in my final year with the new head coming in to kind of make sure his legacy and work done for the program continues.”

On Monday, March 30, Mr. Hills visited St. George’s to talk with students and parents in anticipation for the upcoming school year. The day included parent coffee, presentations about the Citizenship Institute, and a casual lunch chat in the upper school lounge, all of which were geared towards interested tenth grade students and eleventh and twelfth grade students that are already enrolled in the Institute.

“My biggest passion and desire is that we’re going to be able to change people’s lives,” said Mr. Hills while visiting on March 30. “Some ways we’ll change them will be small ways [and] some ways will be large. We’re not going to know right away, but we’re going to make an impact, and that’s what really excites me about this job.”

Mr. Hills will begin working at St. George’s this August, teaching both juniors and seniors that are members of the Citizenship Institute. Later, he will also be working with middle school students, as well as Germantown and Memphis campus students, to communicate what a global citizen is and why our role as one is significant.

“I am thrilled to welcome Mr. Hills to campus in the fall,” said Mr. Gibson. Mr. Gibson felt that Mr. Hills had an accurate grasp of the school, and his positive changes to the Institute would only make it better.

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The student voice of St. George's Independent School.
Institute for Citizenship welcomes Mr. Jason Hills