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Jason Getz brings breadth of experience to teaching, coaching

Jason GetzJason Getz, like many educators, learned through coaching that he wanted to teach. Priory’s new science teacher tried a career in pharmaceuticals before finding his true passion. After earning his undergraduate degree, a BS in biology with a chemistry minor, he went to work for Wyeth making drug products. “I made legal drugs,” he clarified with a laugh. He made a product that helps people with hemophilia, a blood clotting disease. After about 18 months, the market became saturated and his company countered the downward cycle with layoffs. Jason was newly married when he received notice that he had three months to find a new job. He and his bride moved to Connecticut, where he began work at Amgen, another large pharma company in Rhode Island. Emily went to graduate school at UConn while Jason made Enbrel, a popular drug for arthritis and psoriasis. He needed more of a challenge, and a schedule less driven by shift work. “Embrel is made from living cells, so the plant operates 24/7 and we worked on a rotating schedule. Night shifts are rough, and that’s not a schedule I wanted when we started having children,” he said. He had been coaching lacrosse as a volunteer, and found fulfillment in working with kids. He transitioned into an internship with Pomfret School, a co-ed boarding school right down the street from his home. Jason was taking a risk by moving to a much smaller salary in search of a job with meaning. He and Emily sold their house and moved into faculty housing at the school, where he taught and filled dorm duty assignments for a year. The risk paid off; Jason found he loves teaching. When his internship ended, he and Emily moved to Woodberry Forest, an all-boys boarding school in Woodberry Forest, Virginia, which is about 45 miles north of Charlottesville along the Blue Ridge Mountains. “It was a gorgeous spot, and an interesting journey to get there,” he laughed.

Jason and Emily’s family had grown to five. Daughter Sierra, now eight, was born in Connecticut. “She’s our Yankee,” he said. Kaia and Aurora, six and three, were born in Charlottesville, so Jason calls them his “southern belles.” He shared an incredible story about the birth of Kaia. “With our first child, my wife was in labor for 33 hours. Her water broke and nothing happened and we waited around while they tried Pitocin and everything else. So when Kaia was coming and Emily felt the early signs of labor, she felt like she had all the time in the world. I kept pushing, but she wanted to wait. We had to go an hour away to get to the hospital. We got within 10 minutes of the hospital when she let me know that the baby was on her way. I broke a couple of traffic laws to get off the road. I pulled into the parking lot of an IHOP, climbed into the backseat, and delivered Kaia. Then we continued to the hospital where we finished things up. Fortunately, she was our second child, so I had seen everything before and so there wasn’t much freaking out.” He paused, then continued. “Every year we go to IHOP on her birthday.”

Eventually, Jason and Emily looked at their growing family and their surroundings, and decided to come home to St. Louis. “My first three kids were girls and I was working at an all-boys school in the middle of nowhere. Options for girls weren’t so great, and being a native St. Louisan, I wanted to come back.”

He found a position teaching chemistry and biology at Whitfield, so he and Emily moved home. Son Keegan was born about six months ago, and he’s already trying to crawl after his big sisters. The family also includes two dogs (lab mix Molly and shepherd mix Dakota) and two cats (Thomas and Sophie).

Jason doesn’t have a lot of spare time, between being a father, husband, teacher and coach, but he does enjoy reading. He’s currently into non-fiction books and highly recommends his last read: Undaunted Courage, a biography about Lewis and Clark. He enjoys going to the movies but doesn’t get to the theater much. “Unless it’s Star Wars,” he laughs, “Then I figure out how to go many times!” He used to play in a men’s hockey league, but the late-night start time wasn’t working. He’s recently discovered Krav Maga, which are self-defense classes. “I do that once or twice a week, and now Emily is interested in it, too."

Jason’s putting his background in biochemistry to work in the Priory classroom now, teaching AP Chemistry, Chemistry, and Junior School Science. He’s assistant coaching hockey, and will also serve as assistant coach for the lacrosse team. He believes that coaching is good support for his work in the classroom. “The students see you outside the academic setting when you coach. They see you as a well-rounded individual and that helps build the relationship. I’m not a teaching robot that powers down when they leave the classroom,” he said. He considers himself still a student as well. “With the different styles of the kids I teach, and the different places I’ve been, I’m always learning.” He also sees his role as teacher going beyond imparting the chemistry and science knowledge his students expect. “I want them to understand the skill content, to gain skills they can use in different classes, not just chemistry class. I’m trying to help them build that work ethic, to build accountability. I’m trying to build habits that will make these kids better people, not just better students.”

Look for Jason in classrooms in the High School and Junior School, and on the sidelines at hockey and lacrosse. Or, one day a year, at IHOP with his family. Welcome, Jason!

“Listen carefully, my son, to the master’s instructions, and attend to them with the ear of your heart.”

Prologue, 1

“This is advice from a father who loves you; welcome it, and faithfully put it into practice.”

Prologue, 1

“First of all, every time you begin a good work, you must pray to him most earnestly to bring it to perfection.”

Prologue, 4

“If you desire true and eternal life, keep your tongue free from vicious talk and your lips from all deceit; turn away from evil and do good; let peace be your quest and aim. (Ps 33[34]:13)”

Prologue, 17

“Clothed then with faith and the performance of good works, let us set out on this way, with the Gospel for our guide, that we may deserve to see him who has called us to his kingdom (1 Thess 2:12).”

Prologue, 21

“If we wish to dwell in the tent of this kingdom, we will never arrive unless we run there by doing good deeds.”

Prologue, 22

“What is not possible to us by nature, let us ask the Lord to supply by the help of his grace.”

Prologue, 41

“Therefore, we intend to establish a school for the Lord’s service.”

Prologue, 45

“The good of all concerned, however, may prompt us to a little strictness in order to amend faults and to safeguard love.”

Prologue, 47

“The reason why we have said all should be called for counsel is that the Lord often reveals what is better to the younger.”

Chapter 3, 3

“Your way of acting should be different from the world’s way; the love of Christ must come before all else.”

Chapter 4, 20-21

“Never give a hollow greeting of peace or turn away when someone needs your love.” –Chapter 4, 25-26

“Bind yourself to no oath lest it prove false, but speak the truth with heart and tongue.”

Chapter 4, 27-28

“Place your hope in God alone.”

Chapter 4, 41

“Respect the elders and love the young.”

Chapter 4, 70-71

“Pray for your enemies out of love for Christ. “

Chapter 4, 72

“If you have a dispute with someone, make peace with him before the sun goes down.”

Chapter 4, 73

“The first step of humility is unhesitating obedience, which comes naturally to those who cherish Christ above all.”

Chapter 5, 1-2

“Speaking and teaching are the master’s task; the disciple is to be silent and listen.”

Chapter 6, 6

“The first step of humility, then, is that a man keeps the fear of God always before his eyes (PS 35[36]:2) and never forgets it.”

Chapter 7, 10

“Let us consider, then, how we ought to behave in the presence of God and his angels, and let us stand to sing the psalms in such a way that our minds are in harmony with our voices.”

Chapter 19, 6-7

“On arising for the Work of God, they will quietly encourage each other, for the sleepy like to make excuses.”

Chapter 22, 8

“Every age and level of understanding should receive appropriate treatment.”

Chapter 30, 1

“Above all, let him be humble. If goods are not available to meet a request, he will offer a kind word in reply, for it is written: A kind word is better than the best gift (Sir 18:17).”

Chapter 31, 13-14

“Let all the rest serve one another in love.”

Chapter 35, 6

“Indeed, nothing is to be preferred to the Work of God.”

Chapter 43, 3

“Idleness is the enemy of the soul. Therefore, the brothers should have specified periods for manual labor as well as for prayerful reading.”

Chapter 48, 1

“The life of a monk ought to be a continuous Lent.”

Chapter 49, 1

“All guests who present themselves are to be welcomed as Christ, for he himself will say: I was a stranger and you welcomed me (Matt 25:35).”

Chapter 53, 1

“Proper honor must be shown to all, especially to those who share our faith (Gal 6:10) and to pilgrims.”

Chapter 53, 2

“(B)ecause wherever we may be, we are in the service of the same Lord and doing battle for the same King.”

Chapter 61, 10

They should each try to be the first to show respect to the other (Rom 12:10).”

Chapter 63, 17

“We wish this rule to be read often in the community, so that none of the brothers can offer the excuse of ignorance.”

Chapter 66, 8

“Trusting in God’s help, he must in love obey.”

Chapter 68, 5

Never to do another what you do not want done to yourself (Tob 4:16).”

Chapter 70, 7

“No one is to pursue what he judges better for himself, but instead, what he judges better for someone else.”

Chapter 72, 7

“Let them prefer nothing whatever to Christ, and may he bring us all together to everlasting life.”

Chapter 72, 11-12

“What page, what passage of the inspired books of the Old and New Testaments is not the truest of guides for human life?”

Chapter 73, 3

“What book of the holy catholic Fathers does not resoundingly summon us along the true way to reach the Creator?”

Chapter 73, 4


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Saint Louis Priory School

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