In the nine years of her career at Harrisburg High School, Dr. Kathleen Cook has not only taught her students and helped them appreciate the fun of learning, but also worked hard to earn her doctorate degree. Three of her current students shared their favorite experiences in her classes. CJ White and Joci Nichols, juniors in her Advanced Placement United States History (APUSH) class, both feel that Dr. Cook makes class interactive with her discussions and group projects. She is also known for her good sense of humor. CJ recalled the time when watching videos about the presidents in class, the teacher joked about the cinematography; Cook also discussed the past dictators in a light-hearted manner with Joci. Kalia McKee, a sophomore in APUSH, told of her favorite aspect of Cook’s teaching: her willingness to be flexible with her students’ busy schedules while also holding them accountable. In her lessons Cook incorporates both traditional and customized learning styles to accommodate her students’ abilities. According to the juniors, she also goes in depth into historical themes, which allows students to make deeper connections and look at events with different perspectives.

Before Cook started teaching at Harrisburg High School, she “interned with the US Coast Guard in their policy and planning department and lived in Washington, D.C.” During this time she came to the conclusion that this field was not for her. Cook earned her Master’s degrees in both history and education as of May 2021. When she is not teaching in the high school, Cook acts as an adjunct teacher at the University of Sioux Falls and Augustana University. In response to the question, “What is the most challenging part of teaching?” Cook said there is not enough time in her schedule to make a more “in depth” lesson plan. She feels her “to-do list is never complete. There is always something that needs to be graded, lessons to be planned, or emails to answer.” With a PhD, Dr. Cook has enhanced her students’ learning abilities, pushing them to reach their potentials, making Harrisburg High School fortunate to have her.