School welcomes 16 new staff: Part 2

Jenny Johannsen

by Aysiah Loving

The school has just gained a new faculty member.

After nine years of working with children at both Frontier and Oregon Trail, Jenny Johannsen has become

the new psychologist.

Johannsen, who describes herself as “creative, flexible, and organized,” expects to bring her best qualities

to school every day.

Growing up, Johannsen often found herself working with children.

The majority of her high school and college career, she spent a great deal of her time with children

diagnosed with autism.

Autism is a development disorder that affects people’s capability to communicate and cooperate.

At this time in her life, Johannsen discovered her fondness for helping children in need.

“Everyone is fighting a battle that is not always apparent,” Johannsen said.

Later, she attended the University of St. Louis—majoring in psychology—and then went on to receive her

graduate degree at the University of Kansas.


Michelle Mages

by Hayley Allison

When Michelle Mages, math teacher, isn’t teaching, she is chauffeuring around her two girls to various soccer practices and volleyball games.

Benefits such as getting the summers off to cater to her children are important to Mages and contribute to why she enjoys being a math teacher. The career was first brought up to her by a past math teacher who inspired her.

After attending Baker University, Mages taught for 16 years at various schools, including Johnson County Community College, Mill Valley and DeSoto High School. Matt Bohm, math teacher, also taught at Mill Valley with Mages.

Mages described herself as an organized perfectionist and always late.

“I feel like I can squeeze just a bit more into that five minutes,” she said, which in turn makes her late. She also calls herself sarcastic, saying she holds back with her students because she doesn’t know how they will take it, but she is really sarcastic around her friends.

Mages enjoys spending time with friends/family and watching the Royals outside of school.

Since she has started teaching, Mages has learned how different every student can be. She started off “looking at minor details” in students. Now, Mages said, “I look more into the big picture.”


Rachel Pageler

by Evan Kauffman

“Driven, honest and silly”—these are the three words that Rachel Pageler, FACS teacher, used to describe herself.

She used “driven” because of her determination to become a teacher and push through each day and “honest” because she is trustworthy. Pageler believes being helpful aids in forming relationships with staff and students.

As for “silly”, Pageler always finds ways to crack a few jokes or have fun while teaching.

Before coming here, she student taught at a middle school in the Shawnee Mission school district as well as at Shawnee Mission West in a Focus on Food class. It was a lot different than baking, what she wanted to teach. But it definitely taught her very valuable lessons when it came to teaching skills.

“I have learned to let things go and move on,” Pageler said.

Pageler’s favorite thing about teaching is getting to know the staff and students. But the most difficult has shown to be remembering names and finding her way around this maze.

In Pageler’s own high school experience, her baking teacher inspired her to become a FACS teacher. Pageler has always loved to cook. She has been working in restaurants since she was 16, and she constantly cooks at home.

And after lots of hard work and a college education from Kansas State University, she has finally achieved her goal this year.

Pageler, being an ONW graduate, wanted to teach somewhere still in Olathe so she would not have to leave her home. That’s not the only reason she is teaching here, though.

“I love Olathe South because of how great the staff and students have been! Go Falcons!” Pageler said.

Even with Pageler’s rival experience, she still feels at home with the Falcons, even with less than a year under her belt with teaching.


Elise Peterson

by Sarah Buehler


That’s the best term to describe how the new choir director, Elise Peterson, feels about choir, music and singing.

This is Peterson’s first year here as a choir director. Previous schools she has taught at include Shawnee Mission South for three years and Pioneer Trail for two years.

Peterson said, “ I miss the students from previous schools, but it’s nice because I can still connect with them through social media like Facebook, but they do graduate and move on with life.”

Peterson grew up in a musical family and has always loved music and singing. Her mom was a choir director and everyone in her family had musical talent, whether it was singing, piano or any musical instrument.

She said, “Ever since I was little, I knew that I wanted to be a choir director and wanted to follow in my mother’s footsteps.” Choir directors, singers and most of all her mother have inspired Peterson to be a choir teacher.

Singing in church, at weddings or at funerals is one of Peterson’s favorite things to do when she isn’t working along with watching movies and hanging out with her nephews and nieces.

Peterson said, “Since I have started teaching, I’ve learned not to take things personally because kids have bad days, and my job is to help them get over that struggle or hurdle. When I first started teaching, I wanted to perform all the time, but now I have come to learn how much I love teaching choir.”


John Plankers

by Emily Cords

John Plankers walked out the front doors here in May 2011; he walked back in those doors this August as a new Spanish teacher.

Plankers went to Olathe South and then to Kansas State University where he majored in Spanish and secondary education and minored in leadership studies.

Plankers said, “I am excited to be in Olathe, grateful to be back at South.” When Plankers was here he was on the golf team, he sang choir, and he did the video announcements.

Before Plankers started here, he student taught at Blue Valley Northwest High School to help him get experience teaching.

While in high school, he was a big fan of anything going on here, and he created many of the different themes at football games with his friends.

Plankers said that he became a teacher because he “wanted to positively impact students’ lives while having them gain a greater appreciation for another culture.”

Some other jobs Plankers has had are mowing lawns when he was 12 years old; he worked at two different golf courses when he was 15 years old, and he worked at a daycare.

When Plankers is not teaching, he likes to play fetch or go to the dog park with his dog, go to the K or talk about the Royals with his friends, and he likes to play golf at any course in Kansas City.

Since Plankers started teaching, he has noticed, “It’s fun and enjoyable to see a staff member take such pride in their students’ achievements in and outside the classroom.”

Three words that describe Plankers are “personable” because he enjoys meeting new people, “respectful” because he appreciates someone with good manners, and “hardworking” because a strong work ethic is important to have.