Focus on learning brings teacher back
During Jackie Ortgies' first stint as a Lansing High School teacher, she called in sick on her last day of work.
Ortgies had a good excuse; she went into labor with her youngest daughter, Liz, while driving to Teacher Work Day in May 2004.
"I had lots of boys, especially, that were very concerned in May (asking), 'Are you sure you're not going to have the baby here?'" Ortgies said. "She waited until the very last minute."
For the next two years, Ortgies - or Mrs. O, as LHS students call her - was a stay-at-home mom to Liz and her older sister, Katie, now 5.
"It was fun. I enjoyed being home with the girls, but I really missed teaching," she said.
With teaching experience at LHS from 1999 to 2004 already on her resume, Ortgies returned in August to teach physical science and chemistry. In the spring, she'll add environmental science to that list.
Ortgies said she originally planned to teach science at a small college, but the year she spent in graduate school convinced her she should teach in high school.
Ortgies credits the "awesome staff" and students at LHS as the best part of her job.
"They're really good kids, and most of them seem to work really hard," she said. "We're fortunate that, in the Lansing school district, it seems like we don't have a lot of the discipline problems that other schools have, so we can really focus on learning."
Ortgies and her husband, Daryl, live in Lenexa. Their daughter Katie attends kindergarten in De Soto.