James Hunn is a 1984 Danville High School graduate. He said a fun fact about himself is that during his deployment to Iraq in 2007, he had a Danville Admirals blanket on the wall of his sleeping quarters.
He currently serves as the reentry director at the Boyle County Detention Center. In this role, he helps state inmates prepare for reentry into their communities. He teaches programs that teach life skills and behavior changes. He also is the Circle of Hope director for the Hope Network. In this role, he assists clients to the Shepherds House Intensive Outpatient Program to help them with reentry into the job market.
Prior to this work, he served the United States Air Force for 27 years. He retired in 2011 in the rank of senior master sergeant. He retired out of the Defense Intelligence Agency, where he served as a senior enlisted adviser to a two-star (major general) support position.
He also ran for the office of mayor of Danville in November 2022. Current Mayor James "J.H." Atkins won the election.
The Danville Independent School District asked Hunn about his journey as a student.
Tell us about your Danville Schools journey. What school(s) did you attend, and what’s a highlight that stands out to you?
I attended Toliver Elementary School for first grade and Hogsett Elementary for second grade. Third through eighth were spent in Lincoln County, and I moved back to Danville the summer prior to beginning ninth grade.
What aspects of your Danville Schools education helped mold you into the person you are today?
What I truly appreciate about my experience in the Danville Schools were the teachers who challenged me to reach my full potential. I was never allowed to say or believe that I could not accomplished anything I set out to do. We were never allowed to say "Can’t!” I was given so many opportunities to serve during my high school years. I was my sophomore class president and served as my junior class representative on the student council. I can honestly say the principal, assistant principal, and my teachers saw something in me I did not see at the time, and saw leadership potential in me. They gave me the chance to meet that potential, something that I carried with me through all my military career.
When you think back on your Danville Schools experience, are there specific instances or relationships that stand out to you as having had a significant impact on your success since graduating?
During my freshman year, I was in a play called “Purlie Victorious.” This experience with the drama club, led to three years of being on the speech team. These relationships built with team members are still special after almost 40 years. This “team effort” was so important to my success after high school. In the military, it is a team effort to meet the mission in defending our nation. Everyone is important and contributes to the mission. All my success in life has been with the help of others, and I am forever grateful that the attitude started at Danville High School.
As a product of Danville Schools, what advice would you give to a parent who was choosing an education path for their child?
The advice that I would give parents is to get involved! My parents were president of the PTA when I was in high school, and they encouraged all students on the importance of education. This starts at home! Hold your children accountable in reaching their potential when it comes to education. It’s not just left up to the schools — parents are also responsible their children’s educational success. Encourage them to take education seriously. As the old saying goes, “knowledge is power!” I am so thankful for parents who were involved and encouraged me and my siblings to reach our educational goals. This allowed me to earn a bachelor’s degree in intelligence studies, and a masters in criminal justice with public leadership
As a product of Danville Schools, what drives you to give back to your local school and/or district?
Whenever I am asked to speak or support any school activities, I do so, when I can, because I am a product of Danville Schools. This little country boy from Danville was able to travel all over the world and accomplished so many things. If I can do it, anyone can. Admiral proud for life!
This piece is part of an ongoing series telling the stories of our Danville Alumni! We share a new alumni story once a month, and we want YOUR story. If you or someone you know is a Danville graduate and an excellent representative of the Danville community and the idea of #SuccessForALL, whether they live in Danville or not, please fill out the form linked below. You can also show your Danville Alumni pride on social media with the hashtag #DanvilleAlumniStories
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