February 1, 2022 Believe. Achieve. Succeed

Proud West High School teacher and coach finds great reward in student achievement

John Hessenius
West High School special education teacher and coach John Hessenius knew from an early age that he wanted to be a teacher. Despite the challenges of his role, he finds great reward in seeing students achieve their goals.

Sioux City, Iowa – Sioux City Community School District teacher John Hessenius knew he wanted to be a teacher at an early age.

The LeMars native grew up watching his father start the community’s youth wrestling program. Inspiring elementary school teachers and an opportunity to shadow a teacher in middle school solidified John’s love for teaching. Today, the West High School special education teacher and head wrestling coach knows he is right where he needs to be.

“The most rewarding piece of my role is when you see and notice a student’s reaction when they accomplish their goals,” says John. “The most challenging part is building relationships with the students that I work with. Many students that have behavior goals have unfortunate home lives or past trauma that was not in their control.”

John began his career in the District 10 years ago as an instructional assistant at West High School and head wrestling coach before he was hired as a special education teacher at North Middle School. In recent years, he has served as a special education teacher in math, geometry, and behavior and worked with at-risk students in the District’s Compass Academy at West High School.

No two days are ever alike, and John appreciates the unique situations that every student he works with brings to the classroom.

“Kids each have different goals, experiences, and backgrounds. I love learning more about the different cultures and personalities of each student I work with,” says John.

He adds that West High is a wonderful place because of the students and teachers that make it so welcoming.

“One of the best things about West High School is that there are many different kinds of students. Having those differences is what makes our school a great place to learn,” says John. “Everyone is very nice and welcoming to new students. All of the teachers have the best interest of the students in mind.”

When John isn’t wearing his Wolverine green and white, you can find him sporting camouflage in the great outdoors. John is an avid hunter and fisherman. He is also very proud of his wife Brooke and two children, Hazel and Dude.

“Watching our children grow and learn will always be the most rewarding part of my days outside of school.”