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Blueprint Magazine

Blueprint Magazine

From Moving Across the Country to Teaching Cross Country

Taken by Kennedy Coyle

Imagine the stress of moving across the country only to begin a new job just a couple weeks after your move. Wendy Jacobsen, Special Education teacher new to Pinnacle High School (PHS) this year, experienced this stress last summer. Jacobsen moved to Phoenix from the small town of Muscatine, Iowa, population of around 20,000, where she always wanted to be a teacher. She originally wanted to teach Science, but decided against it after taking Physics in college. 

“I’m not necessarily great at science, math, social studies and English, but I’m decent at them,” Jacobsen said. “I can’t teach these subjects at the level high school teachers can, but I have enough background and experience to teach these to kids at the level of support I give.”

Inspired to become a Special Education teacher, she studied at the University of Iowa and Drake University, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, a Master’s degree in Special Education and a second Master’s in Administration. In Iowa, Jacobsen taught high school Special Education for 17 years before moving to Colorado for three years. In Colorado, she taught middle school, but returned to teaching high school after moving back to her home state.

“I like working with kids as they transition from high school to after high school,” said Jacobsen. “That has always been my favorite part: How do I help kids get as many skills as possible before they graduate? Because it’s harder for kids in Special Ed to get these skills.”

To further her career, Jacobsen moved to Arizona last June and took a teaching position at PHS. She wanted to leave Iowa to soak in some warm sunshine.

“The only reason I ended up here in the Paradise Valley School District was because a former parent of a student I taught in Iowa is a teacher here in the district,” Jacobsen said.

Earlier this year she admitted she’s enjoyed her time teaching SpecialEeducation and pull-out classes at PHS. She also enjoyed being an assistant coach for Pinnacle’s Cross Country team. Jacobsen coached Cross Country in Iowa for a while, so when a coaching position became available at PHS, she decided to jump in. Jacobsen hopes to grow the sport at Pinnacle, as well as succeed in her teaching career.

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About the Contributor
Kennedy Coyle
Kennedy Coyle, Staff Writer