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Karen Wolken
Junior High Language Arts, Speech, and Journalism
Karen Wolken image

Johnson-Brock is my high school alma mater. I graduated in the era of rotary dialed phones, pocket calculators the size of a small car, and a dictation class called shorthand.   After graduating from Peru State College with dual degrees in English and Speech/Theater, I taught in two other districts before I came home to Eagle country. While I had always enjoyed my content area of reading, writing, and speaking, I truly fell in love with teaching as I became more confident in how to manage a successful classroom and build relationships with students.

Much of that learning came from trial and error. Mistakes I made in the classroom profoundly influenced who I am now and how I interact with students. Amazing mentors while at J-B motivated me to design curriculum and implement strategies that would benefit all learners. My masters degree from the University of Nebraska in Curriculum and Instruction and my close connection with ESU #4 also taught me skills that continue to benefit all those who enter Room 102. 

I admit that my persona is that of the annoying kid in the front row who always asks questions. That’s me. In order to understand, I ask many questions and have embraced the idea that public discourse is one of the most important skills needed in today’s society. In my classroom, communication isn’t a one way street. We speak, but we also listen, and often times on topics that arise from our reading we agree to disagree on issues that are not black and white, but rather shades of grey (no pop culture reference intended).  

My husband Dave and I are blessed to have three grown children. Our oldest son Kellen works as an engineer in Omaha. Our daughter Kaci is in medical school at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.  And our youngest son Kale is pursuing his love of track and field. He qualified for the Olympic Trials in 2016, but has his eye on 2020. Whatever he decides, it will be a great adventure.

I’m an early morning person and list-maker who needs to stay busy to have any sense of accomplishment. I love the challenges of teaching and am positive that in the midst of an ever-changing culture, my job has become even more important.

For as noisy as my classroom can be, when I pull into the driveway at home, I embrace the calm. Reading great books (oftentimes with a group of ladies now infamously known as “the book club”), taking brisk walks with my good friends, and sitting down to a good Netflix movie with my husband would be my favorite down time activities.

I feel both honored and terrified by the influence I have on the lives of my students, but mostly I feel blessed to be a valued part of America’s public school system. I am proud to be an Eagle, and I look forward to the educational journey we embark on each and every year.

“When you walk with purpose, you collide with destiny.” 

Phone: 402-868-5235 Email:
Karen Wolken

Johnson Brock Public School
310 Main St
Johnson NE 68378