Last Updated: 4/3/2020 1:20 AM

Welcome to the JCHS English Department!

"General Introduction Businessman and philanthropist W. Clement Stone claimed that “Definitiveness of purpose is the starting point of all achievement,” and standards provide that definition of purpose for each grade level. Standards should measure excellence, not just benchmark skills; therefore, the committee of Tennessee teachers, administrators, and higher education faculty developed a set of learning outcomes that embraces an overall expectation of 21st century literacy skills necessary to succeed in post-secondary and workforce arenas. Thus, critical and divergent thinking, problem solving, active listening, recognition of patterns and anomalies, and evaluation and questioning of source material are essential skills [in our courses]. Furthermore, these expectations reinforce the three ELA instructional shifts: regular practice with complex text and its academic vocabulary; reading and writing grounded in evidence from literary and informational text; and building knowledge through content rich literary and informational text" (TN.gov 2017).

Kayla Hensley
Heidi Kerley - Department Co-Chair
Teresa Niemann
Clarissa Schmal - Department Co-Chair
Heather Taylor

Clarissa Schmal

Greetings students and welcome to English Literature and Composition! My name is Clarissa Schmal and I am blessed to be working in the greatest career of all time. I earned a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary English Education from East Tennessee State University, a Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction from Appalachian State University, and National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Certification in English Language Arts Adolescence and Young Adulthood. I have been teaching and learning alongside amazing high school students for 25 years. After teaching and working in administration in Watauga County, I came home to where my career began, right here at Johnson County High School. Together we will discover the human experience through literature and share the opportunity for success through rigorous yet appropriate expectations and dedication to the tasks ahead. This course will expose students to classic and other significant works of literature, provide instruction that prepares for college composition, and emphasize effective writing, reading, speaking, listening, presenting and language skills. Students will also have an opportunity to discover their best selves by being open to the challenge. I look forward to getting to know each of you and what you have to teach me.

Heidi Kerley

Hello! My name is Heidi Kerley and I will be facilitating your English Literature and Composition IV course.  I have been with JCHS for the past three years and am very excited to be working with our seniors this year. My husband, Don Kerley, is also a teacher at JCHS.  We love living and working here in our hometown of Mountain City!

Mr. Kerley and I are both graduates of Johnson County High. I have a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from East Tennessee State University and a Master in the Art of Teaching from ETSU as well. I have worked in many schools in a variety of roles, and I am certified to teach pre-k through eighth grade, English and social studies in the middle grades, and high school English.

Our focus this year will be on postsecondary preparedness using anchor texts from predominantly British authors as well as current articles from various sources. We will explore the literary elements and devices throughout many pieces of literature, including but not limited to:  novels, short stories, drama, informational texts, and poetry. The use of technology will also be incorporated into the units. Writing is a major focus of the class. Students will write daily as well as develop essays and papers analyzing and relating to reading materials. Vocabulary and grammar will be reviewed and taught throughout the semester.

We have a full semester planned, and I am beyond thrilled to be spending a portion of your senior year with you!

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams!

Live the life you've imagined." ~ Thoreau

Kayla Hensley

Greetings, scholars! My name is Kayla Hensley, and I will be your eleventh grade English, AP Language & Composition, and Creative Writing teacher. I look forward to meeting and working with all of you in our class!

I earned a Bachelor's degree in English Secondary Education from East Tennessee State University, and I began teaching at JCHS in the fall of 2017. Writing and reading are two of my passions, and I am delighted that I get to share my enthusiasm for both with you all!

In eleventh grade English we will explore a variety of American literature, including one of my all time favorite novels, The Great Gatsby. Exploring literature will take us on a journey through America's rich and varied history, and we will read about the people and places (real and fictional) that make our country unique.

AP Language & Composition is a rigorous, reading and writing intensive  course equivalent to college freshman composition courses. In the course, we will explore and evaluate varying sources of text, including essays, speeches, and arguments. In studying masterful pieces of writing, we will advance our own writing. While the course is predominantly nonfiction based, fiction pieces will be woven in to ensure students encounter classic American literature.

Creative Writing is a year-long English elective in which we will practice and hone our writing craft. While we read the fictional works of others in English, in this class we will write our own stories, poems, and plays! This class is best suited for those who currently write for fun or for those who are interested in putting their creative ideas on paper.

In whatever class I have you in, I look forward to reading, writing, and learning with you!

Heather Taylor
Hello!  I am very happy to be an English teacher at Johnson County High School! Many years ago, I graduated from ETSU with a degree in Literature.  I then continued at ETSU and received my masters in teaching. I taught a few years in Bristol, Virginia before my time here.  I also taught some classes at Virginia Highlands Governor's School, ETSU's Upward Bound, and at Dobyns-Bennett Adult Education. I began my employment in Johnson County at the Middle School.  I love spending time with my family.  I also love reading, coffee, cats, and my job. “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies... The man who never reads lives only one.” -George R.R. Martin

Teresa Niemann

Hello all! My name is Teresa Niemann and I teach English Literature and Composition, along with ACT Prep and Reading RTI. I am very excited to be going into my fourth year of teaching at JCHS. I will be teaching sophomores and juniors mostly this year.  

I am originally from Florida, but have lived here 14 years. My husband is a retired Veteran and we have been married for 15 years.  I have four children, three have graduated from JCHS and my youngest is a freshman this year. My husband asked me, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I told him an English teacher. So I graduated from ETSU in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary English Education.

I am very excited about getting to know each of you and to see how much we can learn together. We will have a great year





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