Chantel Karns seemingly could not have earned two more disparate degrees in college than theater arts from the University of Iowa in 1994 and education with a science endorsement from Grandview College in 2008. But after talking to her, it becomes clear she is more than adept at teaching both subjects and enjoys stimulating both sides of the brains of her students at Walnut Creek Campus in West Des Moines.
“I love the mix of classes that I teach. This quarter I teach forensics, practical chemistry, biology and Art of Life, where we study different mediums such as painting, music, dance or textiles,” she says.
This is Karns’ fifth year of work as a teacher, all of which have been at Walnut Creek Campus. She says she enjoys working with “alternative” students and cannot picture herself working anywhere else.
“I love the kids. They challenge me and always have something new to say about something that I didn’t expect. It never fails,” she says.
Karns says the relationships she and her peers build with students are special.
“Everyone here is about relationships with the kids, whether it’s teachers or case workers,” she says. “We work hard at getting to know them and helping them educationally and finding out what they need outside of school.”
Karns says the students and staff also like their new school building on Eighth Street, formerly the home of Clegg Park Elementary School.
“It’s been wonderful. We had a lot of love for the old building, but I think we’ve adjusted to the new building really well,” she says. “I absolutely love the alternative school and what we’re about and how we approach things. There’s no place I’d rather be. I’m home.”