Where Are They Now – John Nagel – Class of 2013

John Nagel graduated from Fort Madison High School in 2013. During high school, he was involved in baseball, basketball, athletic enhancement, and track. John Nagel now works as an elementary physical education teacher at Storm Lake Community School District, where he also coaches basketball and volleyball. This summer, he is the head varsity coach of the Danville softball team.

Change of Plans

Originally, John wanted to go into fire science. After coaching at the youth level and loving it, he had a decision to make. John decided to go into education/coaching and he loves it. “I chose a career that I could see myself enjoying every day that I do it. Working with kids through physical activity and sports is awesome. I love getting to know my students and athletes and building those relationships for when they’re done with school/sports, which is another reason why I chose this career path. I had a lot of teachers and coaches as role models, and I want to be that guy for my students and/or athletes,” said Nagel.

Influenced by FMHS

John continues to be influenced from the teachers and coaches he had at Fort Madison High School. “So many staff members influenced me! Coach Doherty, Coach Schmitz, Coach Wilson, Coach Schneden, Coach Smith, Coach McGhghy, Coach Rump, Mr. Lamb, Mr. Mitchell, Mr. Buttjer, Mr. Bailey, Mr. Ehlers, Mr. Wenck, Mr. Huckabone, Mrs. Knustrom, Senor Zirkel, Trevor Pezley, etc. I still talk to 80% of these teachers and coaches to this day. That’s one thing that I’ve learned since high school: These guys are there to help and are willing to do anything to help their students even after high school. The best relationships that are built in high school are maintained after high school if you allow them to be,” said Nagel.

Photo by: Dana Royer

John Nagel believes that his involvement in high school has influenced his choice of careers. “FMHS made me realize that I want to be part of a school district like that. My involvement in sports made me realize that I could be the next “Coach Doherty, Schmitz, Wilson, etc.” Some of the lessons that I teach my students and athletes come from lessons I learned at FMHS from the great coaches that I had,” said Nagel.

In addition, John Nagel likes to stay active outside of work. “I enjoy physical activity, mostly through recreation leagues such as sand volleyball, slow pitch softball, flag football, spikeball, etc. I also enjoy spending time with my family and friends. It’s harder to find that free time with your friends now that everyone is out of high school and doing their own thing, so it’s always nice to find time for that,” said Nagel.

Favorite Memory at FMHS:

“Most of the memories that I have from FMHS are through sports. I’ll never forget the night we beat Mount Pleasant in basketball for the first time in 10 years. Another memory would have to be winning districts in baseball, and almost making it to state. It felt like those two teams had a small impact on bringing the community together, and putting FM on the map, which is bigger than sports. I had a pretty typical high school experience for a student-athlete. By that I mean, I played sports, hung out with my friends, and just did well enough in the classroom to get by and not get grounded,” said Nagel.

Advice for Current FMHS Students

“That’s a tough question because all students are different as far as interests, likes, and dislikes, but some general advice would be to be yourself. Find something you really enjoy doing, and do it. Try something that you think you might like, regardless of whether or not you think you’ll be good at it. You never know until you try. Don’t worry about what others think. High school is a difficult time for a lot of students because I think they’re still trying to figure themselves out, and there is so much pressure today to look and act a certain way, which makes it difficult for students to be themselves. It’s a lot easier to do this when everyone respects each other for who they are as a person. It only takes one person to stand up and make a difference. Being a high school student at FMHS was a great time for me, but I know it’s not that way for everyone. Students have so much power to change the culture of an entire school district. Don’t try to fit into a certain group when you can stand out, and do you,” said Nagel.

Photo by: Dana Royer

John’s Goals for the Future

“My goal is to eventually get back to the southeast Iowa area, and continue to teach and coach. Eventually, I’d like to teach at the high school level where I think I can relate to the students the best, and create a learning environment that allows success for all students, said Nagel.”

John’s Life Motto

“If I had to pick one motto or quote to live by, I think I’d choose: ‘There might be people out there that are more talented than you, but there’s no excuse for anyone to work harder than you.’ To me, this means that it doesn’t take talent to be the hardest worker. I use this a lot with my athletes and students,” said Nagel.

What Does FMCSD’s “Come Learn and Grow” Mean to You?

“To me, this means that learning is an everyday thing. You don’t just learn for one day. Learning and growing is a daily responsibility for everyone, especially educators. It’s our job to stay hungry for knowledge, and find ways to be better, and pass that onto our students,” said Nagel.

To read more about the reopening of schools in the fall, click here: https://www.fmcsd.org/2020/06/26/iowa-department-of-education-guidance-for-reopening-schools-in-the-fall/

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