Amy Johannsen, science teacher at S.E. Polk High School, was not about to let an old-fashioned stereotype stand between her and the job she wanted.
“The reason I got into education was because of my dad,” the Le Mars native says. Her father was the football and track coach at Le Mars Gehlen Catholic School and was also Johannsen’s calculus teacher.
“I always knew I wanted to be a teacher,” she says. “My eighth grade teacher told me that girls didn’t belong in math and science. That is all it took, and I set out to prove that I could.”
And prove it she did. Johannsen eared a degree in chemistry and education from Briar Cliff University in Sioux City. She started teaching earth science at S.E. Polk Junior high and was the boys track coach.
Sports has been a big part of Johannsen’s life since she was a child.
“My family made up games, and we were very competitive,” she says. “We played games like kickball, but they always had a monster involved, or shooting a ball in a tiny space. We still make up games, and I might be the most competitive.”
When she was little, Johannsen told her father she wanted to be the first female football coach. When she was a senior in high school, her father was head football coach, her brother was assistant coach, another brother was a football player, her youngest brother was a water boy, Johannsen was a cheerleader, and “my mother was the No. 1 fan,” she says.
Her family is still involved in athletic activities. On May 6, 12 relatives ran in the Lincoln, Neb., half-marathon.
“Because my cousin died in November, we run in memory of him,” Johannsen says. “I ran with my three brothers, my husband, and several cousins. My aunt and uncle walked it. I beat my brothers, but my husband beat me.”
Johannsen lives in Altoona with her husband, Pete; two children, Ava and Lucas; and a boxer, Howie. Weekends are spent working out, attending church at United Methodist Church in Altoona, watching movies and swimming.