Born and raised in Le Mars, Amy Johannsen is currently one of six instructional coaches at Southeast Polk High School.
After receiving a double major in chemistry and education from Bryer Cliff College in Sioux City, Johannsen started her teaching career at Sioux City West. It was her husband’s career and parents’ relocation that initially drew her to the Southeast Polk School District.
“My parents had moved here the year before and my father was a math teacher, football coach and girls’ track coach at the high school,” Johannsen says.
She credits her father as her inspiration to becoming a teacher. And, throughout her years teaching high school chemistry for the district, Johannsen even coached high school girls’ track alongside her father for two to three years.
As the head of the science department for the ILT, Johannsen has created programs such as the student lab assistant TA’s where each year a different student is chosen to help prepare labs and prepare solutions for the classroom.
“The best part about being a teacher is being able to work with kids.” Johannsen says. “I love making them interested in learning. The best part about science is the general curiosity about the subject.”
When asked her favorite experiment conducted in her classroom, Johannsen says, “Anything that involves fire and color changes, such as the flame test, is always a favorite.”
But this past year, Johannsen took on her new role at the Southeast Polk District as an instructional coach.
“It’s a change for all of us. But I think it is one that will continue to evolve,” Johannsen says, regarding the program.
As an instructional coach, Johannsen observes classes in order to help teachers come up with new strategies. She also mentors new teachers. This year she does not have any first year teachers. However, Johannsen is currently mentoring two teachers new to the district.