Heroism in Education: Inspiring the Next Generation

John Zack is a lifelong learner – so it makes sense that he’d pursue a career in education. “I’ve always loved serving others and making things better for them,” says Zack.

By: Bailey Gerber & Jake Hreha

John Zack is a lifelong learner – so it makes sense that he’d pursue a career in education. “I’ve always loved serving others and making things better for them,” says Zack. “When students enter our community as full-fledged members of society, I want to make sure they’re empowered to face adversity with skill and confidence.”

Zack got his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at a state school, and he started his career in teaching special education before moving on to career and technical education. Still, he knew he could do more to inspire the next generation.

Education Heroes for the Next Generation

As Zack considered advancing into administration, he wanted a university that offered more than just a degree or certificate. “I really wanted to see how I could integrate my Christian faith into my career,” says Zack. “I fully believe the Lord moves us where He needs us to go and be, and IWU was that for me.”

Zack enrolled in IWU’s School Administration Certificate Program – and from the moment he started his first course, he was challenged to think about how his profession interacted with his faith. “The blending of faith and career was something I didn’t even know I needed,” Zack says. “It required me to reflect and helped me to grow professionally as well as personally.”

In school administration, one of Zack’s best qualities came to light: his compassion. “All educators are going to have a certain level of compassion for their students,” he says, “but my experiences at IWU helped me refine my compassion in my professional life and apply it to my decisions and actions.”

After five years as principal of an elementary school (and in the middle of completing his educational specialist degreethrough IWU), Zack assumed the principal position at Highland High School in Northwest Indiana. He takes connecting with his students seriously, and he even spends some of his spare time reading young-adult novels to help him stay “in the know” on student interests. In 2021, Zack was named Principal of the Year in his region.

A Class Act in the Classroom and Beyond

As a lifelong learner, Zack isn’t done yet. “IWU has been extremely beneficial in my growth and career, and I’m seriously considering continuing my education and returning to teaching in a post-secondary environment,” he says. “I had interactive faculty who challenged me intellectually and spiritually – but they always met me with respect and kindness. That’s the kind of experience I want to facilitate for my students.”

Wherever John Zack goes next, one thing is certain: His compassion will make his students better people. “I challenge my students daily to be the best version of themselves that they can be,” he says. “Some days we may not be our best selves, but we can be the best for that day – and that's the positivity I hope to instill in them.”

Zach is a class act member of the great educators who make an impact on their students. The education community faces many challenges in today's learning environment. No matter what education program it is, great teachers are needed at all schools. Students will learn a wide variety of things during their time in school. They may learn about a credit union, technology, a home loan, how to write stories, lending products, and much more. What a student will remember most is a teacher that made an impact on their life. These are the education heroes in students lives.

Heroism isn’t always one great, monumental act. Sometimes it’s a quiet dedication, a commitment to never letting the people around you settle. Zack’s heroism is inspiring the next generation of students to rise up, meet challenges head-on, and change the world with their determination and confidence.

Who needs your everyday heroism? Are you ready to step up? If you know your “why,” you’re ready to chase your “how.” IWU is here to help you do it. Take the leap by enrolling in one of our 160+ online programs.

Bailey Gerber

Content Creator, IWU National and Global

Bailey Gerber is a vocabulary geek and grammar enthusiast at IWU – National and Global, so she spends most of her time reviewing webpages, video scripts, flyers, and – of course – blog articles. She loves all things involving words, and in her spare time you’ll find her buried in a book (probably with a cup of coffee in hand).

Jake Hreha

SEO Copywriter, IWU

Jake Hreha is a graduate of Ball State University, where he majored in advertising with a concentration in media presentation and design. He is passionate about design, and in his free time he enjoys cycling, traveling, and reading.

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