We can all thank Mr. Foxbailey, Jacob Holderman’s English teacher at Snohomish High School in Washington, for planting the seed. “It was the first time I had read a book not just for the plot. Mr. Foxbailey had us looking for symbolism, metaphors, allusions, and thematic elements that related to real life in Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables. I was so engaged, I knew then that I wanted to teach.” Now in his 6th year as the Social Studies teacher on the Sequoia team at Ashland Middle School, Jake is living his dream. “I love history, and I’ve always liked building relationships with students through teaching and coaching (Jake coaches volleyball in the fall and basketball in the winter). Getting to think up ways to make history interesting and relevant to middle school students engages me, and developing relationships with students and being around kids energizes me. I get up every day energized to come to work.”

After graduating from high school in 2001, Jake attended Whitworth College in Spokane, earned degrees in History and English, and got his Masters in Teaching from Concordia University in Portland. He taught in the Beaverton School District for 9 years which is when he met his wife Kellie. Married in 2010, they now have 4 children—10 year old twins, Kinsley and Katie, 7 year old Cohen, and 5 year old Quinn.

Kellie grew up in the Rogue Valley, which prompted the family’s relocation, and Jake’s start at AMS. In addition to being a big sports fan (and the Washington Huskies in particular), Jake loves riding bikes,, hiking the Britt trails, and being outdoors with his family. He’s also a big Pickleball fan. And that love of reading Mr. Foxbailey instilled in him back in high school? It’s still there, too.