Five generations ago, Harvey Hullinger was a doctor. His great-great grandson, David Hullinger, has been the first in his ancestral line to attend a higher education institution since then. He is now graduating from the master’s of educational leadership program in BYU’s David O. McKay School of Education and is anxious to make a difference in the lives of students.
When Hullinger returned from his mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he tried his hand at his father’s business. His father had become successful by mass producing and selling framed art to bookstores such as Deseret Book.
“I tried it, but it just wasn’t for me. I didn’t enjoy it,” explained Hullinger. “When I realized I didn’t have the entrepreneurial spirit, I also realized that I would need to go to college if I wanted to make a decent living.”
With that realization, Hullinger set off from Cedar Hills, Utah, to start his academic career at Utah Valley University.
“I wanted to make a difference, and that’s what steered me towards majoring in education,” Hullinger remarked.
Hullinger searched for a master’s program to earn his administrative license after graduation at UVU. After talking to other school administrators, he chose to attend BYU.
“I asked other administrators for advice on which path to take. I heard about a program through SUU and several online options, but the consensus I was hearing was that BYU had the best reputation, and people who went through BYU got hired faster,” explained Hullinger. “What sealed the deal for me though was attending the Aspiring Principals Academy put on by BYU. Through this program I was able to get a taste of what the program was like and see that it aligned with my goals. I liked that there were different track options also through BYU. By going through the [Executive School Leadership] track, I was able to keep working at the same time.”
Now, Hullinger is a fifth-grade teacher at Provost Elementary. Last year his team had the highest language arts SAGE scores in the entire district. Yet, in his eyes, Hullinger’s biggest accomplishment has been his students’ love of learning.
"In my opinion, my biggest achievement in my career comes in the form of the many letters I've received from parents over the years which explain that before their children were in my class, their children hated coming to school," recalled Hullinger. "After being in my class, the parents explained that now they love school. They couldn’t wait to come to school to be in my class.”
Hullinger’s goal in education became more evident to him while he was going through the educational leadership master’s program at BYU. He thought of his family members who sought for happiness through substance addictions. It made Hullinger realize that he wanted to be able to help his students find the happiness that comes from obtaining a higher education.
“I realized that everyone’s just trying to find happiness. Sometimes people find happiness in false, fabricated ways,” shared Hullinger. “I realized that I was studying education because I wanted to make a difference in children’s lives by equipping them with knowledge so that they wouldn’t have to search for happiness in fabricated ways.”
Hullinger hopes to use his master’s degree to continue making a difference in other ways beyond the classroom.
“As much as I love the classroom, I know it’s time to leave,” said Hullinger. “I’ll be looking for a facilitator or an instructional coach position with the ultimate goal of becoming an elementary school principal.”
Writer: Janine Swart
Contact: Cynthia Glad (801) 422-1922