Nancy Torkildson


Lucas Bleyle, Co-editor in Chief

Ever since she began swimming at the Ames High School Pool in the 1960’s, Nancy Torkildson knew she wanted to be a teacher.  

“When I started teaching there were still teachers here that I had had,” Torkildson said. She described having to call her former teachers, now fellow colleagues, by their first names as extremely strange.

She has taught Earth and Space Science all 29 years here. Along the way she described many favorite moments. She particularly cherished the all-day field trip to Marietta Mine, Peterson Pits, and other areas in the community to observe rocks and search for fossils.

A fond memory for the space aspect of her class was setting up telescopes with students in the football fields to observe the night sky and identify constellations. Central to all these experiences were the students.

“I love working with kids who maybe struggle with school or with science, and at the end of the year they find that they like science,” Torkildson said.

In her retirement Torkildson hopes to travel. She and her husband are “old school camping people,” she said. They are currently planning a trip around the world.

Over the years Torkildson has seen generations of students pass in and out of Ames High’s doors. She has watched them change over the years, especially recently, with the introduction of technology into the classroom. However, at the end of the day “high school students are high school students,” she said.

“There has been a lot of fun along the way but it’s time for younger people to take over,” Torkildson said.