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ADA, OK (10/23/2017) Jon Hazell, 2017 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year and science teacher at Durant High School, will deliver East Central University's 2017 Marvin Stokes Lecture on Monday, Oct. 30, at 6:30 p.m. in the Estep Multimedia Room of the Bill S. Cole University Center.

Area teachers of the year will be recognized during the lecture, including Ria Huckeby, Washington Elementary School in Ada; Dr. Laura Smith, Byng High School; Seth Reeves, Latta High School; Lori Karpe, Lindsay Elementary School; Kendal Hasty, Madill High School; Margie McElhany, Puterbaugh Middle School in McAlester; Jonathan Wheeler, Pauls Valley Junior High; Dayna Jackson, Sasakwa Junior High/High School; Cherity Pennington, Shawnee Middle School; Tammy Anderson, Stratford High School and Shantel O'Grady, Tecumseh Middle School.

Hazell has taught anatomy, biology and environmental science for 33 years in the Durant Independent School District and is the lead pastor of United Church of Tishomingo.

He was named Teacher of the Year back on Aug. 30, 2016 as he remained in the classroom during the 2016-17 school term. On July 1, 2017, he assumed full-time Teacher of the Year duties, which include speaking engagements and serving as Oklahoma's teacher ambassador, encouraging others to enter or remain in the profession.

"My purpose as a teacher is not so much to motivate my students as it is to create an environment where they motivate themselves," said Hazell.

Hazell was inspired to teach by his father, Don Hazell, who taught biological sciences at Southeastern Oklahoma State University for 32 years.

"I grew up with constant reminders and affirmation of the respect afforded to the teaching profession. That created a spark in me," Hazell said. "It showed the influence a teacher could have not only on students, but also on all the people those students influenced."

In addition to his teaching and pastoring duties, Hazell helps inmates learn to read and compete their GEDs as part of his five-county prison ministry. He has also served as a sponsor of the Student Council and Fellowship of Christian Athletes at Durant High School.

The Marvin Stokes Lectureship enhances the ability of ECU to expose the students in the College of Education and educators in the university service area to ideas and trends in education on the state, national and international scene. The funding for the lectureship program is provided by the annual earnings on funds dedicated to the Marvin Stokes Endowed Lectureship through the ECU Foundation, Inc., and matched by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.