Getting to know our teachers

Fort Dodge Senior High

-Submitted photo
Shawn Grossnickle, an instructor at the Fort Dodge Senior High alternative school, works with a student last school year.

Shawn Grossnickle

Where do you teach?

Fort Dodge Senior High

What grade/ subject do you teach?

9-12 Grade Alternative Education

Why do you teach?

I love working with kids, especially kids who are non-traditional. School was never my favorite place when I was a teenager. I was not trouble or anything; I just would have rather been somewhere else. And I believe with all my heart all kids need some reason to be present, some reason to keep them coming back to school, so that has become my reason for doing what I do and how I do it.

What is your favorite part of the school day?

I have been fortunate enough to literally stumble into the greatest job of all time. I did not even know a job like this existed until after I left college and Jerry Einwalter asked me if I wanted to sub at the Alternative Program. I said, “Yes! Absolutely! Um. What’s an Alternative Program?” and that was nearly 30 years ago. There is not much about this job that I do not absolutely love.

What are you working hardest on right now?

We are trying some new things to encourage our kids to make their own goals, evaluate their progress toward graduation and adjust their course as needed.

What are you most proud of as a teacher?

When a student or parent contacts me, even years later, and tells me that they appreciate how much the Alternative Program helped them or one of their kids.

What makes you happiest as a teacher?

When you are working with a student on a concept that they are struggling with and all of a sudden, it just hits them. You can actually see it.

How do you contribute to/how are you involved in our community outside of school?

To my wife’s dismay, when the school bell rings at 3 p.m. I am not off the clock. I am an Alternative School teacher and I am never off. I have parents and kids contact me even as late as 11 at night. When they need help, I am available.

What are your interests/hobbies outside of school?

I enjoy entertaining people on Facebook with the lively antics of my crazy family.

What do you wish your students/families knew about you?

I love this job, so I will probably die with a whiteboard marker in my hand.

What does Together We Rise mean to you?

It is nearly impossible to improve whatever it is you want to do on your own, whether you are a student or employee of the school. We need each other to coach our whole group. Ask for help when something’s not working the way you want. Encourage each other to get out of their comfort zone and grow.


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