By: Bella Hunt
If you’ve ever played a sport, you know you have a special bond with your coaches. The coaches are the ones that motivate you to win and try your hardest; they help you become a good player and help you grow. As for teaching, it is to educate students to help them succeed in the future and help them grow in learning. They sound similar, don’t they? With this similarity, it is no surprise that there are many teachers who coach at Jenks High School. They not only strive on the fields cheering on their players but also strive in the classroom educating their students.
Kristi Foreman is one of our many teachers who coach. She is an assistant coach for the girl’s soccer team alongside head coach, Michael Parker. Foreman started out her soccer career when she was four. She played all through high school including playing on a club team while attending Oklahoma State University. Originally, Foreman couldn’t coach at Jenks due to her daughter who was traveling all across the country for soccer.
“I got the opportunity (to coach) when Coach Ryan Hart took the team to start coaching because my daughter was getting to the age to try out for the team,” said Foreman.
When her daughter was recruited to the team, she took the job as the assistant coach. She coached her daughter all four years of her high school. Her coaching career has continued for a total of 11 seasons. Foreman also teaches English at the Freshman Academy. She taught Special Education for 23 years until she wanted to try something new; this is why she is currently teaching English – it has been 4 years now since she took this up.
“That’s what’s best about being a high school teacher – you get to be such a part of your kids’ lives,” says Foreman.
Aside from switching over to teaching English, she has had a more recent change over on the field. Michael Parker has had the opportunity to take the position of being head coach and coach alongside Foreman.
“Mike is fabulous! He actually has already coached many of these girls in club; he is very well respected, he’s a brilliant mind and a great friend, I love being with him and I think the girls are really going to excel with him coaching,” says Foreman.
Similar to Foreman, our head coach of baseball, Justin Timmerman, also grew up playing the sport he loves. Timmerman had attended Northeastern State University for college and then decided that he wanted to become a coach and a teacher for highschool. Timmerman has been coaching and teaching for a total of 21 years – he is very excited for the upcoming year on the field and in the classroom.
“I was pretty good at math in high school and in college so I thought I should major in math. I want to make sure every student understands the subject and is able to move on,” Timmerman said.
Timmerman loves to compete and shows true passion for baseball and his whole team. He believes every year is an obstacle to jump through but in turn is a learning experience.
“I am looking forward to putting the team together, creating new goals and going out and competing as a coach and a competitor,” Timmerman said.
One of the most amazing accomplishments for the baseball team was to pull a win at a state competition last season. It was a more major win for the baseball team – Timmerman was truly proud of his team.
“It was probably the best feeling as a coach in any sports setting I have ever had in my life. It was a dream come true and the first time to win a state title at Jenks in 19 years,” says Timmerman.
Now Erin Shepherd is one of our new assistant coaches who is not only new to the Jenks track team but also new to the classroom as well. Shepherd is our new ASL teacher at Jenks High School. She taught deaf education and is certified to teach English and social studies to deaf and hard-of-hearing children in ASL; she received these certifications at the University of Tulsa. This year is her first year teaching ASL at Jenks.
“I think I have always wanted to teach, even when I was in high school. I like teaching ASL to bring other people awareness to the culture and the community,” said Shepherd.
She gave running a shot 6 years ago and has never looked back. Starting at just 5k runs, she has progressed into a three-time marathoner (and a triathlete). Now, everyone is excited for what Shepherd has to offer for the new track season!
“The level of respect and kindness from the students at Jenks has been phenomenal. I am absolutely impressed with the student body,” said Shepard.
She enjoys teaching and coaching and how impactful it is to be able to do both.
“I love developing that awareness and that brain usage. I like coaching because I love seeing people who didn’t think they could do something accomplish that thing and be active. I think it’s so important for people to be active,” said Shepherd. We can’t wait to see her shine in her new positions!
As you can see our teachers do more than just teach. Next time you see your coach or teacher tell them how much you appreciate them! Our teachers and our coaches put us students and players first. They help us become a better version of ourselves. Thank you teachers and coaches for the continuous support!