Mr. Harken: Teacher and Coach


Sophia Cordoba

Mr. Harken poses with some AHS logos he painted for his classroom.

Among the many changes to Ames High this school year, AHS can welcome a new math teacher to the building. Mr. Harken is beginning his career here with a busy schedule, teaching Algebra I and II, as well as coaching girls basketball. 

Despite being new to Ames High, Mr. Harken has plenty of experience in both teaching and coaching. 16 years ago, he first taught in Olathe, Kansas. Later on, he taught in Johnston and coached both cross country and basketball in the Des Moines area. With experience from 3 different school districts under his belt, he is both excited and prepared to begin coaching the girl’s basketball team this winter. 

As a former fan of the Jordan era and an Iowa State graduate, Mr. Harken “enjoy[s] the community that basketball brings.” 

“I’m from a small town, so I love seeing the bleachers at any event. Volleyball, basketball, any sport, I love seeing the bleachers packed.” 

With the return of in-person class, he will be pleased to witness the excitement that the student section brings to each game. 

“I was really interested in coaching because it was a way to still reach and motivate students through a passion of mine, sports.”

Inspiring students plays a big role in Mr. Harken’s teaching philosophy as well. 

When asked what inspired him to teach, he said, “My high school psychology teacher was very influential for me. I even went back to him when I was deciding to switch my major from engineering to education.” 

He hopes to play a similar role for the students in his classes here at AHS. 

“I want my classroom to be a welcoming and open environment. We all have tough times so I want this to be a place to feel safe and welcome, and still, be challenged.”