The Ottumwa Courier

September 24, 2013

Impressed with Hanson at reunion

Ottumwa Courier

---- — The class of 1953 got an amazing breath of fresh air from a unique individual who is at the helm of the “Good Ship Bulldog.” Mr. Mark Hanson should be esteemed as one of the Board's greatest discoveries. He addressed the 60th class of some of Ottumwa's best on Saturday, Sept. 7. He moved us quickly from our perspective of problems with gum chewing and running on the stairs to drugs, social dysfunctional homes, poverty and parents too soon. While he saw these as deterrents, they were not considered insurmountable.

Somewhere along the line someone had instilled in his pedagogue, the concept of faith in a grain of mustard seed and its infinite potential for making a difference in the lives of students. He did not talk about how he had changed the atmosphere of OHS from one of relaxed disorganization, but he talked about how his team made up of teachers, students and parents were orchestrating new goals, new perspectives, validation and a variety of problem-solving tools. He didn't talk about the failing test scores but raising self-esteem. He did not lament the problem of a diverse culture and racial population but described how diversity was being utilized as an important learning tool.

Perhaps the greatest element we observed as he talked, sang, played and reflected was that of a caring, compassionate, committed leader of one of Ottumwa's greatest institutions. Your children will be and are the benefactors if they are motivated to make wise choices and buy fully into the program.

Chuck Williams