Kirk Johnson

Kirk Johnson, Central Campus Broadcasting and Film instructor, has been inducted into the IHSSA Hall of Fame.

Kirk Johnson, a veteran DMPS teacher and Broadcasting and Film instructor at Central Campus, is being inducted into the Iowa High School Speech Association (IHSSA) Hall of Fame, a recognition of his exceptional contributions to speech education and the Des Moines community.

Johnson grew up on a farm in northwest Iowa, attended Iowa State University, where he majored in speech communication and education and minored in music, and spent his summers as a play director and carpenter at his home high school in Sheldon. In 1992, he started as a speech coach and classroom teacher at Hoover High School.

“When I started coaching speech activities, many of the people in the Hall of Fame were my mentors and they were very giving of their time and expertise to me as a novice coach,” he said.

Johnson helped students identify their audience, cultivate confidence, and refine their skills in a professional manner, emphasizing the value of effective communication. His influence extended to his involvement in committee work, judge certification, and hosting IHSSA contests. He was the director of speech and forensics at Hoover for eleven of his 15 years at the school.

Johnson left Hoover to work at Central Campus where he has served 17 more years as a teacher and the general manager of KDPS 88.1 FM, the student-run radio station. In his free time, Kirk earned a master’s degree in speech communication education from the University of Northern Iowa and taught at DMACC in the evenings and on weekends.

Johnson may never know who put this name forward for the honor. The nomination for induction into the IHSSA Hall of Fame is anonymous. But his 32 years of teaching have always been aimed at making a difference.

“I am humbled by it,” Johnson said. “Coaching speech and drama are fulfilling in a way that is not always measured in championships or wins and losses. I have a front row seat to the work ethic and personal growth of each student which is an incredible honor.”

Johnson will be honored at an IHSSA banquet on October 13, 2023.

If you are not involved in education but recognize Johnson, it may be from his participation in community theater productions and his active role in his church choir.

If you are a high school student interested in Broadcasting and Film, visit the Central Campus website for more information about the Information Technology and Arts Academy.


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