Meet Jacob Leon – a Tacoma native who graduated from Washington High School in 2009. Jacob attended Washington State University where he studied as a music major with an emphasis on education. He soon found out that music was more of a hobby than a career, but still enjoyed his studies in education. Eventually he decided to become a high school English teacher and received his teaching certificate in 2014.
After college, he worked with Americorps and the College Success Foundation as a College and Career Coach at Truman Middle School in Tacoma, putting together college fairs and delivered lessons on college readiness to 7th and 8th graders.
We are very lucky to have Jacob as a founding English teacher at Summit Olympus High School. Jacob wants each and every student to see value in themselves and their communities. He wants students to critically analyze the word. His teaching philosophy is rooted in critical pedagogy and problem-posing education. In his class, he hopes to engage students in meaningful discussions around race, class, gender and oppression.
During his free time, Jacob enjoys playing video games (he is a die-hard Nintendo fan), reading, playing with his dog Miles, strumming on his guitar, watching anime, and spending time with his niece and two nephews.
What drew you to teaching at Summit Olympus?
“I was drawn to Summit Olympus because I wanted to be a part of something new. I had read a little about charter public schools and wanted to help found and shape a school. I really liked learning about the personalized model and the emphasis on skills. Often times skills are secondary to content and while content is important skills are a better indication of success in college.”
What do you love most about the Tacoma community?
“I grew up in Tacoma and have lived here all of my life. I really believe in helping the community that raised me. I see my students as a reflection of myself. I know the neighborhoods they are coming from and I understand their struggles on a personal level. I love teaching in Tacoma because the population is diverse. I wouldn’t want to teach anywhere else.”
What do you love most about helping students?
“I love when students make connections from class to their world. When a student talks to me about a show or movie that they saw and brings up how they noticed “foreshadowing” I can’t help but be overcome with joy. It’s a beautiful thing seeing students apply their school knowledge to something that interests them. That’s how I know students are internalizing the concepts from class. It reaffirms my passion for teaching.”