A Life in Johnston: Kenzie Lindsey

A Life in Johnston: Kenzie Lindsey

Imagine growing up in Iowa for your entire childhood, and then returning to your old school district to work for your old school. It sounds like it would be a crazy big coincidence. Well, art teacher Kenzie Lindsey ‘13, did. What does a full life in Johnston even look like? Growing up in Johnston, Lindsey had grown her passion for art and decided to make it her career. However, she did not know she would be returning to work in her old school district. Once a dragon, always a dragon.

Lindsey had the full Johnston experience, attending Johnston schools from kindergarten through high school. She graduated from Johnston High School in 2013. 

“I took pretty much every art class that they offered at the time. I took drawing, I took painting, my favorite though was darkroom photography.” Lindsey said. 

With her high school experience in art and photography, she followed her after high school plan, “I began DMACC after I graduated high school with a major in photography. My plan was to be a photographer, despite not really enjoying taking photos of people,” Lindsey said.

During her time in Johnston, Lindsey had the opportunity to work for KTC (Kids Teen Connection) at Horizon elementary school. 

“While working another job, I ran into Brenda Schumaker [The KTC Onsite at Horizon]. She somehow remembered me despite having not seen me since 5th grade, when I attended KTC with her. She told me that I should apply for KTC and I started working there a few weeks later,” Lindsey said. 

Lindsey was always seen talking with the kids and getting to know them. Kids looked up to her for her creativity and kindness. She made an impression on the kids that remember her from KTC. 

“It was so weird to know that she used to watch me as a kid in KTC and now she is able to teach me in high school. But she was always so creative and kind and was always a positive person to be around.” Elizabeth Pouliot ‘24 said.

Lindsey learned a lot from this opportunity and enjoyed her time at KTC.

 “I didn’t have much experience working with kids before KTC, so I learned so much about interaction with kids, problem-solving, and how to plan and execute activities. I enjoyed getting to know the kids and sharing my interests in art with them as well,” Lindsey said.

Despite her first plan to be a photographer, Lindsey decided to change paths and merge her passions and learning experiences.

 “After working at KTC for a while, I decided that combining my experience with kids, and my experience and love for art, art education might be a good next step. I transferred to Grand View and eventually got my degree in K-12 Art education with a minor in photography.” Lindsey said. 

While Lindsey was in college, she continued her education and began student teaching with JHS art teacher, Katie Black. 

“Ms. Lindsey was a kind and very capable student teacher right from the beginning…She was very intentional and thoughtful about how she created and taught each lesson. She also spent a day presenting and sharing her own artwork, which was a wonderful experience for my classes. The students truly liked having her in class and missed her after she left.” Black said.

During her time as a student teacher, Lindsey realized that this is the career path she wanted to take.

Sydney Hodges

“This placement really helped me to realize that teaching HS was a great fit for me. I worked at two different schools before finding my way back home to JHS, and I can’t imagine working anywhere else!” Lindsey said. 

Her students love her classes because she is very understanding and loves to work with kids. 

“She was really understanding and tried to tailor her class to help her kids. [She is] easy to talk to and overall kind.” Syd Dennis ‘24 said.

Since spending her time in Johnston’s art program, she has seen tremendous growth since she attended JHS and is happy that there are more options for students.

 “The Johnston District has grown so much and with that growth we are able to offer more and more students access to art. Our district has shown their support of the arts in many ways and it makes serving our students that much better,” Lindsey said.

This is what a life in Johnston looks like. Kindergarten to now, Lindsey is astonished that she has returned to where she found her interests in art and teaching.

It is wild to think that my journey both started and ended as a dragon.” Lindsey said.

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