WEISER — By day, Jessica Mosley teaches fourth graders how to change fractions to decimals. By night, she is a sailor responding to classified emails to her crews in Boise and San Diego.
“It’s pretty demanding,” Mosley said. “I’m responsible for my students and my crews.”
Mosley is working two full-time jobs. She is a fourth-grade teacher at Weiser’s Park Intermediate Elementary School and a member of the Navy Reserve as a first-class petty officer. She travels one weekend a month and two weeks a year to San Diego to work on the USS Freedom ship.
“It’s the best of both worlds — I get to teach and serve my country,” Mosley said.
Mosley took a non-traditional route to teaching. After working in the Navy for 6 years, she got her teaching credential from Eastern Oregon University
“I wouldn’t do it any other way,” Mosley said.
Mosley is bringing her Navy experience into the classroom, teaching patriotism, leadership and citizenship skills. Part of her curriculum includes teaching students about the American flag and what the Pledge of Allegiance means, beyond just memorizing it.
“I got to see the world and now I get to share those experiences with future leaders,” Mosley said. “I want my students to know how to be good citizens.”
Mosley was inspired to join the Navy through the Tom Cruise films “Top Gun” and “A Few Good Men”.
“Join the Navy and see the world, that is what I wanted to do,” Mosley said.
Mosley joined in 1999, going to boot camp three weeks after graduating from Weiser High School. She was an information systems technician while stationed in California, Connecticut, Illinois and Washington.
After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Mosley was deployed to the Arabian Gulf aboard the USS Bridge ship where she served a seven-month deployment.
After returning from deployment, Mosley served another year of active duty before deciding to get out of the Navy. She took a year off of active duty before joining the Navy Reserve. As a reservist, she was deployed for nine months to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in 2013.
“It was a different feeling this time, leaving was hard,” Mosley said. “I learned a lot and grew as a person.”
She will retire in eight years from the Navy Reserve.
Mosley was inspired to teach by her fourth-grade teacher Marilyn Gatley.
“I remember the feeling of connecting with Mrs. Gatley and I knew I wanted to teach,” Mosley said.
While serving in the Navy, Mosley participated in a community service day at an elementary school in Washington. She was teaching students how to read a map and remembered her dream of teaching.
“I realized my passion at that moment,” Mosley said. “I wanted to be in a classroom.”
After fulfilling her Navy duties, Mosley attended Eastern Oregon University to complete her teaching credential. She has been teaching for six years. She teaches in the same classroom where she attended fourth grade.
“It’s pretty incredible,” Mosley said.
Mosley was named the 2016 Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States Teacher of the Year. She was recognized for her involvement in the school’s annual Veterans Day assembly and commitment to teaching civic responsibility.
“Bringing part of yourself into the class provides a rich environment for students,” said Angie Halvorson, the principal at Park Intermediate Elementary School.
Mosley also is part of the technology team at her school. She fixes computers and assists her colleagues with technical support. Mosley also runs an after school computer coding club and robotics team.