Life beyond the classroom

West High School teachers share their personal hobbies and interests outside of West


Sarah Bernick

Spanish teacher Stephanie Hansen proudly holds her go-to meal of chicken nuggets along with her favorite plant. Hansen explained how she ironically had the chicken nuggets at school as she was sharing with those around her. Not surprising, her care for others is always showing.

Sarah Bernick, Editor-in-Chief

Helping with everything they do, teachers are constantly working to provide the best high school education and experience that a student can receive. Staying up late to get grades in or waking up extra early, they are always working to fulfill the needs of their students. However, have you ever stopped to think about who these teachers are out of school or even in their earlier life?

Mrs. Hansen

Spanish teacher Stephanie Hansen is a ray of sunshine at West, as she has been teaching here for 18 years. Growing up in Davenport, Hansen attended Smart middle school and Davenport West High School. For college, Hansen went on to the University of Iowa to become a dentist, then decided on science, but ultimately chose Spanish which is what she finished out with. She shared that she had never even planned on Spanish besides speaking a little with clientele. Hansen’s first job as a teenager was babysitting, but other than that she was a waitress at Maid Rite in Davenport, Iowa. In high school, she participated in volleyball, softball, dance, tennis, and was also a football manager.

During her free time, Hansen enjoys shopping, although she doesn’t like to admit that. She also finds joy in spending time with her family and gardening around the house. A go-to meal for the Hansen family is always chicken nuggets with some sort of mac and cheese, however, they do enjoy grilling foods like chicken, hamburgers, and delicious plant based burgers. Hansen would much rather prefer a big brunch over a big dinner because if she doesn’t eat as much at night, then her skin is glowing in the morning! She considers herself a night owl, as she would much rather stay up late getting things done than waking up early. “My perfect night would be to come home from school, workout or walk the dog, eat a big dinner with friends and family, go to bed at 1 or 2 am, and then not have to wake up early in the morning.”

Mr. Flaherty 

Social studies teacher Joe Flaherty has been part of the West High School community for 10 years now. Growing up Catholic in Davenport, Iowa, Flaherty attended Davenport Assumption for high school. After graduating high school, he then went on to St. Ambrose University and received his undergraduate in secondary education, history, and special education. For his grad school he also went to St. Ambrose for a masters in education and leadership. As a student in high school, Flaherty played baseball, basketball, and football, along with being part of the student council. His first teenage job was working at Happy Joe’s making pizzas in which he really enjoyed. 

During his free time, Flaherty enjoys reading, fishing and going on walks. He would prefer to be alone rather than a large group to be able to take some time to himself. A go-to meal at home for Flaherty is pot roast because it’s easy and it’s delicious. At the moment, he considers himself the cook in the family. Like Hansen, he would also prefer a big brunch over dinner because he enjoys breakfast foods more. Flaherty’s favorite part of the day is the early morning because he finds peace in getting things set up and getting himself organized for the day which is also why he considers himself a morning person. Flaherty prides himself in having the talent of crossword puzzles, as he can complete them easily in a quick and speedy amount of time.

Mr. Yoder

Science teacher Brandon Yoder has been teaching at West for nine years. Starting out by student teaching at West, he then got a job and jumped right into it. Yoder grew up in Bettendorf and attended Bettendorf middle and high school. He then went on to St. Ambrose receiving his psychology degree, then to UNI for a biology degree, and finally having his masters in science education at UNI. Yoder’s very first job in high school was at Hyvee. As a student, he also played football and was a thrower for track and field.  “My favorite part of the school day is the second block because I’ve gotten all of the cobwebs in my brain from the first block and I’m just ready to go to the second block. I’m tired in the afternoon but also morning so I have to get that sweet spot.”

In his free time, Yoder enjoys golfing, playing soccer, and watching Netflix. His current favorite watch is “Modern Family” and “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” Yoder shares that he would also much rather spend time with friends and family than being by himself as he enjoys social interaction with others. His go-to meal is always chicken tetrazzini. He always has leftover rotisserie chicken in his fridge so it’s just a really simple and filling meal. Yoder would definitely consider himself the chef of the house, as he cooks 99% of the time. Even considering this delicious dinner, Yoder would still prefer a big brunch over a large dinner. 

Mrs. Coyne Logan 

Social Studies teacher Christine Coyne-Logan has been at West for eight years now, really loves it, and considers herself all red and white. Although she’s been at West for some time, Coyne-Logan was born in New York, then moved to California, Maryland, Iowa, and now Illinois in which she calls home. She completed her social sciences degree at Western Illinois University, and will soon have her masters by the end of this year in instructional design and technology. As a student, Coyne-Logan participated in soccer and tennis, along with drama as she shares she loves to talk. She explained that she was never really good at one single sport, but just wanted to experience as much as she could no matter what level her skills were at. Her favorite part of the school day is when kids are asking for help. She explains that in classes it’s easy for teachers to get lost in the front talking, but the best part is when kids are learning on their own and they need help and they aren’t afraid to ask. 

Outside of school, Coyne-Logan enjoys working out and gardening. She’s currently working on daffodils and other pretty scenic flowers. Along with that, she also grows tomatoes and all sorts of herbs like basil and chai that she enjoys cooking with. At home, her go to meal is curry. She shared that she loves sushi, Mexican foods, and just all types of curry. Coyne-Logan expressed how making it is a lot of fun because you have to get the right spices and you get to use coconut milk and all kinds of vegetables. She would prefer a big dinner over brunch, however you can never go wrong with breakfast foods. Coyne-Logan feels that a talent of hers is that she can talk to anyone. She does have the ability to worry as much about engaging in conversation so it’s really an advantage especially in the job she has. “I am not a morning person at all. I’m definitely a night person. However the older I’ve gotten the more I realize how important it is to seize the day, so I don’t mind getting up. If I get my stuff done then I can relax in the afternoon.”


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