Lutheran High School West News Article

Faculty & Staff Spotlight: Mr. O'Hara

For Jacob O’Hara, Class of 2007, Lutheran West is a family affair. His life, from as early as he can remember through present day, has been lived inside the realm of the Lutheran West community. With his new role as Dean of Lutheran West’s new middle school, he’s ready to welcome more families into the supportive Christian community he’s always known and loved.

Jacob’s maternal grandparents, Liz (Zehnder) and Karl Puls, were graduates of the original downtown Lutheran High School in the classes of 1961 and 1958, respectively. Jacob’s mother, Cindy Puls O’Hara Schlotman, is an alumna from the Lutheran West Class of 1981. Her 4 siblings are all alumni. Jacob recalls that one of his earliest memories is standing on the Lutheran West sidelines as his father Tom O’Hara coached Shorthorns football, and he has vivid recollections of coming to West as a child to watch his cousins play football and basketball. 

When it came time for the next generation to attend high school, Jacob, along with his two brothers (Caleb ‘09 and Andrew ‘15) and sister (Meghan ‘11), carried on the family legacy by becoming Longhorns. 

When asked what he has appreciated most about Lutheran West being a constant presence in his life, Jacob says, “Lutheran West strengthened my faith, not only through Chapel and religion education, but by just being around other students and families that had similar beliefs and values.” He has also appreciated the unique atmosphere of Lutheran West; that it’s a school where each student can truly do so many things and be involved in a variety of ways. He is confident that these two aspects of the school have remained unchanged since he was a student, and feels blessed to be able to help facilitate those important cornerstones in the lives of a new generation of young people and their families.

The 2022-2023 school year will be Jacob’s 5th as a faculty member, with his role this year transitioning to serve as the Dean of the Middle School. He serves alongside his mom, Cindy, who is entering her 14th year as a teacher at Lutheran West.

In this inaugural year for Lutheran West’s middle school, Jacob’s aspiration is to create meaningful relationships with not just the students in grades 6 through 8, but also with their families. “My day-to-day duties will include serving as families’ point of contact for questions and concerns, managing activities and schedules for the middle school, communicating with students and families, and more, but my bigger responsibility is to create an environment that feels like home so that students can grow and learn.”

Lutheran High School West has served grades 9-12 since 1958, and has a long history rich with traditions. The middle school, Jacob says, will build upon the identity of the high school, with the school pride and traditions of the high school evident in the culture of the middle school. Lutheran West will truly become a 6th-12th grade school. “Middle schoolers, however,” says Jacob, “have different needs, are at different social and emotional levels, and have countless other differences as compared to high schoolers. In planning the middle school curriculum, social events, and school culture, we’ve been very cognizant of these differences. The middle school will have its own uniqueness – a culture and new traditions just right for 6th-8th graders. The most important goal in developing the middle school’s culture will be to build a community of kids who love and respect God, and also show that love and respect to one another. If we achieve that, which I know we can because I’ve seen it achieved at the high school during my entire life, we will only add to the many blessings our school and community already have.”

Jacob is thrilled to be welcoming middle schoolers in just two short weeks. He says, “I am excited to both grow God’s kingdom and develop future leaders for the middle school, the high school, and for our world!”

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