Jason Gann, 7-8 grade history and geography teacher at Eastside School, says at the beginning of every year, he and his students discuss the benefits of studying history.
The conclusions they normally reach are: history shows why things are the way they are, provides bad examples to be avoided, and provides good examples to emulate.
Gann had his interest in history sparked in third grade, when at his school’s book fair he found a book on the United States presidents and read the book cover to cover. His interest in teaching, however, dates back further than that. As children at home, he and his sister Kristi would “pretend teach” to imaginary souls populating the house, with a 6-year-old Gann even making use of some dusty, old textbooks and a dry-erase board to augment his instruction.
Gann, who is also the preacher at Campaign Church of Christ, started serving the Lord at a young age too. As he relates, “I was born on a Sunday and was in church service the next Sunday.” He ended up preaching his first sermon at the tender age of 12 at Chestnut Grove Church of Christ. The regular preacher even had a specially built low pulpit stand constructed for the occasion, to accommodate the diminutive pre-teen.
Gann says growing up, he enjoyed learning and enjoyed school. Furthermore, because of how the school system was constantly reconfiguring during his formative years, he got to sample about every school within the city limits. He attended West, William Biles, Northside, Hickory Creek, the junior high, Warren County Middle School, and the high school, graduating in the class of 1999.
He says he had perfect attendance throughout high school, adding this was somewhat rare because when students with perfect attendance were recognized at graduation, “I don’t remember many getting up.”
Even though Gann has lived in Warren County his entire life, he is well-traveled and has visited 49 states. A lot of these states were checked off the list early in his life because growing up, Gann (his Game Boy in tow), his sister, and their parents would go on summer road trips to places like San Francisco, New York City, and Washington, D.C.
Gann continued to travel and see new places after high school when he served as a traveling preacher in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Georgia. He even drove to South Dakota one weekend simply to deliver a sermon.
Even now Gann, his wife Brandi (a published author), and their children take summer trips to places like Myrtle Beach and Destin, to see the ocean. Seeing the ocean can be a sacred experience, Gann says, because in doing so “you can learn a lot about the power of God.”
At Eastside School, the soft-spoken and humble Gann tries to treat students with fairness and kindness, and he tries to impress upon them the value of being productive citizens and impacting the world in a positive way.
Outside of the classroom Gann, attired in the khaki pants and button-up shirts that are his calling card, is the student council sponsor and he created the Eastside School Hall of Fame several years ago.
The student council, which collects toiletry items for Raintree Manor residents every year, collected a record 2,405 items this year; and the Hall of Fame has inducted local luminaries like Seth Wright and Kevin Dunlap.
Gann says in his free time he likes watching “The Andy Griffith Show” because it makes him feel good. In Mayberry, Gann says, “Everyone seemed to care about one another.”