English instructor living his dreams

Katie Ardmore

Editor in Chief

Kase Johnstun is a man of opportunity. He has gone many places and done many things in his life because he never misses an opportunity when he sees one.

Johnstun, an English instructor at Pierce College Puyallup, discovered his life-long passion for writing at a young age.

“I’ve always been a writer. It started with poetry to girls in fifth grade,” he said. “I’ve just always written. Writing’s a lifelong thing.”

When he entered high school, Johnstun found inspiration in one of his English teachers.

“He put a lot of time into the class; he really cared,” Johnstun said. “It made me want to have that kind of energy.”

During high school, Johnstun decided he wanted to write and teach. So, after high school, he went on to Weber State University to earn his bachelor of arts degree. After that, he completed his master’s degree at Kansas State University.

Johnstun received more than educational experiences while at college. He studied abroad and did internships. He went to Central America to study Mexican and Costa Rican literature. Another time, Johnstun toured Europe to study the medieval torture chambers.

While working on his bachelor’s degree in Ogden, Utah, Johnstun worked for the Life Program. This program trains students with disabilities to get jobs and prepares them to be a part of the community.

Johnstun found a new kind of inspiration when he met his soon-to-be wife at Kansas State. She is also a writer, and they are a good fit for each other.

Johnstun and his wife recently had a baby boy, and Johnstun now finds himself juggling three aspects of life. He must focus on his teaching at Pierce, raising his child and finishing his schooling. He is still in school because, after finishing his master’s degree, Johnstun decided to earn his master of fine arts degree.

“You can teach with the M.A., but I did the M.F.A. for me,” he said.

Johnstun is nearly finished with the degree; he just has to complete the memoir-based thesis required to graduate.

“It was worth it,” Johnstun said.

Besides his extensive education, Johnstun has gotten a lot of work experience too. After college, he worked in journalism and publishing for seven years. In 2001, he took an internship in Dublin, Ireland, and he was there during 9/11. He said it was hard for him to watch the tragedy unfold from overseas, but he is glad he got the opportunity.

After that, Johnstun worked for a small publication in Salt Lake, then moved on to a Catholic News Service where he wrote a popular column about coming of age.

“I was a knucklehead in high school,” he said. “I hoped I could say something based on my experience to help teens out.”

After that job, Johnstun worked as an editor at a sports publishing company. He said that was the most intense job he ever had.

“I always thought I wanted to work in sports, but I never really wanted to. I’d rather be a fan,” he said.

Johnstun then worked as the managing editor for the Department of Defense’s Software Engineering Journal, CrossTalk, and worked a while for the Rainiers. After working all these different jobs, Johnstun realized he would rather be teaching.

“I had fun in publishing, but I have more fun in the classroom because I’m a people person,” he said. “I’m happy with what I’ve done in my life, but the classroom is the place for me.”

Johnstun is now happy to devote his time to teaching, but he still writes. He is finishing up two books he wrote so he can start looking for a publisher.

Johnstun has had a variety of experiences in his life so far, and he attributes them to his ability to take opportunities when he sees them. He encourages other students to do the same. He thinks students should travel and experience as many things as they can.

“It always comes down to taking opportunities,” he said. “I said yes to everything. If an opportunity came, I took it.”

16-9-english-teacher-kase-johnstun

 

The Puyallup Post is the award-winning student news of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2017. Twitter/Instagram @puyalluppost

Print Friendly

English instructor living his dreams

by Katie Ardmore time to read: 3 min
2