By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Hudson – As the new principal of Quinn Middle School, Jason Webster of Marlborough has been able to ride his bicycle from home to work via the Assabet River Rail Trail.
“My commute is now about six-and-a-half miles from door to door, as opposed to upward of an hour-and-a-half drive,” noted Webster, who formerly was the assistant principal at the Beebe School in Malden.
Upon arrival, he can park at a bike rack in front of the $43.3 million building, which opened last school year to replace the 45-year-old JFK Middle School.
“We have a beautiful school with a lot of resources thanks to the community for being willing to support such a building,” he said. “It’s also important to realize that we have the teachers working with kids in the building.”
Originally from Maine, Webster worked summers while in high school as a camp counselor at the Bangor YMCA. In college, he majored in economics and played basketball. By junior year, he decided to draw upon his experience working summers with youth and focus on pursuing a career in education.
Webster earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics at the University of Maine at Farmington, and a master’s degree in education administration from Worcester State College.
His first teaching job was at Notre Dame Preparatory School in Fitchburg, where he instructed math and assistant coached basketball. He lived on campus as a dorm councilor.
“I made barely enough money to pay for my college loan,” he acknowledged. “After about a half a year, I really wanted to change gears a little bit.”
After working as a long-term substitute teacher at Framingham High School for nearly a year, Webster landed his first fulltime job in Marlborough. He taught sixth-grade math from 2002 to 2006, followed by two years of eighth-grade pre-algebra and algebra.
“While in Marlborough. I was fortunate enough to go on two trips to Japan with their exchange program, which was amazing,” he recalled. “And my last year there, I coached the freshmen basketball team. I loved working with the teachers and the team-building aspect.”
From 2008 to 2011, he served as assistant principal of Hopkinton Middle School, which includes grades six to eight.
“When I was a teacher, all I knew was what was in my purview – in my classroom and my teaching team,” he noted. “As assistant principal, you learn how to think on your feet. You have to constantly shift your priorities from one day to the next as things are presented to you.”
From 2011 through last school year, Webster was the assistant principal at the Beebe School in Malden, which includes kindergarten to eighth grade.
“I was looking for a more a diverse demographic,” he explained. “There were a lot of opportunities for helping kids with needs. People there did a whole heck of a lot with very little. I learned a great deal there about building culture and climate.”
During a forum with Hudson parents and community members last spring, Webster stressed the importance of building a school culture in which students and teachers are comfortable taking academic risks. As principal, he’s looking forward to implementing that goal.
“I want to increase student learning in a holistic way where we’re helping the whole child grow,” he said. “I’d like them to feel comfortable taking academic risks, just as the faculty needs to feel the same way. I still look at things through the lens of a camp counselor, watching the kids grow. They learn just as much in the hallways and the cafeteria as they do in the classroom.”