Mr. Jasper Oliver started his teaching career in Connecticut. After six years there, he returned home to Lynchburg and began teaching at James River in 2001. When first hired, Jasper taught fifth grade English, seventh grade geopolitical studies, and eighth grade composition and grammar, plus he was head coach for varsity soccer and lacrosse and the Athletic Director. Over the years his job duties have changed in response to increasing family obligations; he currently teaches fifth grade English and world geography and seventh grade geopolitical studies. Affectionately known as Mr. O to his students, Jasper enjoys “watching the students grow and succeed from fifth through eighth grade, the support of co-workers, and ‘free’ summers.”
Before becoming a teacher, Jasper worked as a fishing guide. He still enjoys fishing, looking for arrowheads, collecting fossil sharks’ teeth, gardening, and anything remotely connected with the outdoors. In fact, when he proposed to his wife, Shelley, it was while fishing on their favorite trout stream with the ring concealed in the fly box!
An only child, Jasper was raised in Amherst County near Sweet Briar College where his father was a professor. His mother still lives on the family farm in Amherst. As a young adult, Jasper attended the College of Wooster in Ohio, graduating with a B.A. in English and Violin Performance. He chose this small, liberal arts college for the class size, quality of the English and music departments, and for their lacrosse team.
Happily, both of Jasper and Shelley’s children are enrolled at James River. When asked what he likes best about the school, Jasper explained the small class size, quality of the students, challenging curriculum, and the supportive community fit his idea of the perfect school for his children. He exclaimed, “I would have wanted to attend JRDS as a student!”