New Faculty Profile: Jonathan Olson


Janae Noah

Dr. Jonathan Olson

Dr. Jonathan Olson is a religion teacher with a bachelor’s degree in Theology from Evangel University, a master’s degree in Religious Studies from Missouri State University, and a doctoral degree in American Religious History from Florida State University. He recently taught in the Religion Department at FSU.

Q: Why did you decide to come to Berkeley Prep and work here?

A: I was looking for a smaller academic environment where I could really get to know my students.  I had heard about Berkeley from alumni attending FSU and their praise for the school piqued my interest.  It turns out, everything they said was true.


Q: What are you most looking forward to at Berkeley Prep?

A: Short term, I am most looking forward to meeting my students and advisees in the first week of school.  Long term, I am excited about the prospect of building relationships and growing as a teacher and mentor.


Q: When and why did you decide to become a teacher?

A: I remember guest lecturing in a class at Missouri State for the first time, and although I was nervous, the experience left me with a sense of fulfillment I had never before felt. I knew from then on, I would spend my career in the classroom.  Thus far, I have no regrets.


Q: Why do you like to teach?

A: I teach for those “ah-ha” moments when I can see on a student’s face that their perspective on the world has changed.  For me, there is no greater thrill (well except being a father of course).


Q: If you had one word to describe yourself, what would it be and why?

A: Good question. I would say “approachable.” I am very friendly, so please say hi.


Q: What’s the most memorable classroom experience you’ve had?

A: My first semester teaching at Missouri State, a student threw up all over her exam. Personally, I didn’t think the test was that bad.


Q: Where have you lived in the past?

A: I was born in northern Indiana, moved to Springfield, Missouri, and then onto Tallahassee.  I also lived for a summer in Jerusalem.


Q: What’s the best advice you would give to a high school student?

A: Avoid getting caught up in fads; be your own person. Regardless of what you wear or how you do your hair, your kids will make fun of you some day.


Q: What’s your favorite movie?

A: I’ll go with a classic here: Citizen Kane. It remains for me one of the greatest character studies of all time. If you’ve never seen it, put it on your Netflix queue right now!