The student news site of Atlantic High School


The student news site of Atlantic High School


The student news site of Atlantic High School



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Who Is Dr. Beth Johnsen?

Meet the ACSD’s new superintendent.
J. Molina
Superintendent Dr. Beth Johnson

Once a Trojan, always a Trojan. Don’t believe it? Look no further than Dr. Beth Johnsen, the new superintendent of the Atlantic Community School District.
Long before she came to Atlantic, Johnsen graduated from Tri-Center High School – which shares the same black-and-gold Trojan mascot as AHS. She then attended the University of Iowa, where her major was undecided for some time; her childhood dream of being a veterinarian dimmed when she realized how much schooling it required, and the desire to go into law also fizzled when the classes were “way over my head.” Finally, she landed on becoming an educator.
Johnsen has earned several college degrees, including: a Bachelor’s of Science in Elementary and Special Education at Dana College in Blair, Nebraska; a Masters of Education in K-12 Administration at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa; a Specialist of Education at Wayne State College in Wayne, Nebraska; Doctorate of Education Administration at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, South Dakota. According to Johnsen, “people will say ‘I don’t think I can do the job of being a teacher or superintendent’ – it’s kind of the best job you could ever have… every day is different and that is what is so exciting.”

…it’s kind of the best job you could ever have… every day is different and that is what is so exciting.

— Dr. Beth Johnsen

Johnsen taught for 40 years before becoming a superintendent. In that time, she taught at the Underwood School District for 16 years. She started as a Title I teacher for TAG and computers, then as a fifth grade teacher, and ended her teaching career as a middle school science teacher. She was also involved as a coach for JH volleyball, JH softball, Head Varsity volleyball and girls wrestling. “Most recently, I started the girls wrestling program at Conestoga in Murray, Nebraska,” said Johnsen.

J. Molina

Johnsen has a rather large family of five children and 16 grandchildren. In her free time, she likes to snowboard and participate in RAGBRAI (Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa) with her loved ones, a tradition she’s held for over 27 years. Though she lived in Nebraska for quite some time, Johnsen decided she was “ready for another adventure” and returned to Iowa because of her family members living in the Southwest area. She came to Atlantic because she knew that she would “fit into” the school district and community. Also, Johnsen said that the ACSD was similar to past districts she had success working in, and she believes that Iowa communities thrive on strong family values and a connection to the school and wider town community.
Johnsen views being a Trojan as a sense of belonging and pride and hopes that the commUNITY project helps to bring people together, especially as group bonds still feel the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and quarantine era. She also wishes to return a sense of “grit” to the school, or an ability to recover and learn from mistakes. Through her contributions, Johnsen hopes to guide the ACSD community to become the best portraits of Trojans that they can be.

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About the Contributor
J. Molina, AHS Needle Editor
If you’re looking for a school staple, look for J. Molina’s bird. They draw the bird as a signature to show who they are in a creative way. Molina is an AHS Needle and Senior Magazine editor who is joining the broadcasting team this year. Molina is involved in many activities, such as marching band as a drum major, concert band as a bass clarinet, speech and debate, AHS theater, international club, QSA, and journalism. They use each activity as a “creative outlet,” and enjoy participating in each. They most enjoy speech and marching band. “I like swinging my arms like a fool,” Molina said. Story by Alix Nath

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