The story of how Keresten Conn became a teacher begins like that of a fairy tale.
Years ago in a tailor’s shop sat a young woman dreaming of a different life. OK, truth be told, it was an alteration department in a retail store, but you get the idea. In this shop, Conn realized her love of teaching others as she trained her colleagues how to mark and complete alterations. Her sister, already a teacher in Des Moines, set her up with a job shadow with the family and consumer sciences teacher at her school. In little to no time, Conn realized her dream of becoming a teacher. So she set off on a journey back to school.
Little did she realize the road would lead her to a master’s in education to go with the bachelor’s degree in apparel design she already held.
“I just loved being up moving around working with students, so I went back to get my teaching license in family consumer science. I love the content I teach, especially the sewing construction and food preparation which have always been hobbies of mine,” she says with a wide grin.
Conn started her teaching career at Hoover High School.
“I was at Hoover for 12 years and am currently on my second year teaching the sewing technology classes and child development classes at Theodore Roosevelt High School,” she says.
Creative, hand-on subjects are Conn’s biggest draw to working with high school students.
“High school is great because every day is a bit different,” she says. “I find the learning atmosphere fun. If a student likes the content, there are some options to continue the education into a career. A student who falls in love with sewing can go on to take fashion design and merchandising at Central Campus. I had one student tell me that years later she made her own wedding dress.”
One of Conn’s favorite school memories was from her own high school sewing class.
“I made a prom dress that had 23 pattern pieces,” Conn recalls. “My teacher really helped me and had me make parts of it from muslin first to make sure it was going to fit correctly before I cut it out of green satin. The same teacher showed me how to fry an egg during her planning period one day. I had mentioned that I didn’t know how to fry an egg, so she took the time to show me. I want to make an impact in my student’s lives the way she did in mine.
“From my classes I hope students realize how the content could lead to a career if they are interested in it,” she says. “I also hope they gain problem-solving skills. Sewing is like putting together a puzzle, and sometimes it is difficult to get the pieces to fit so you often have to come up with solutions to problems.”
When Conn isn’t teaching, she enjoys spending time with her family.
“I live in the Beaverdale area with my husband and two boys,” she says. “My husband and I have been married 20 years. We like to cook, garden, walk, read and spend time with family and friends. Life is good.”