​​​​​​Kirkholm honored with “Get Your Good Out” Weiss memorial award

IMG 0876JOHNSTON, Ia. (May 17, 2023) — Johnston High School art teacher Tyler Kirkholm was today awarded $1,000 as the winner of this year’s Daniel Weiss “Get Your Good Out” Memorial Award during a JHS staff meeting.

The award by the Johnston Community School Foundation recognizes a JHS educator or staff members working in art, drama, music or humanities who:

  • Has a demonstrated ability to encourage and challenge kids to think beyond high school
  • Encourages students to get out of their comfort zone and try different things
  • Makes their classroom a safe space for students to be who they are at all times
  • Has energy, enthusiasm, and a positive attitude that makes students excited to learn

Nominated by his student

Kirkholm, a clay teacher in the JHS art department, was nominated by JHS senior Ace Vaughn-Godfrey, who has had Kirkholm as a teacher since the eighth grade. The nomination shows what an impact Kirkholm has made on students’ lives, both academically — helping students find a career path — as well as personally.

“He’s a very compassionate person and truly cares about each and every one of his students,” Vaughn-Godfrey said. “He will encourage students to do the best they can but to also learn from mistakes in his classroom. Outside of the classroom, he will spend time with anyone who feels they need extra support. I’ve asked several times for support when my mental health was at a low, and he did absolutely anything and everything he could to help me and find ways to support me.”

Taking time to help

Kirkholm was Vaughn-Godfrey’s mentor for JUMP (Johnston yoUth Mentoring Program) and would always bring the best herbal tea. He always made time to talk and help struggling students. 

“In the classroom, he’s helped me feel included and welcome and while I do stand out, he makes me feel like I belong there,”  Vaughn-Godfrey said. “I told Mr. Kirkholm that I was not good at clay and that I was never going to take it. However, he did convince me to take it after one time of talking. I’ve struggled with making 3D art, but he’s shown me he is willing to take any time he has and devote it to helping me and any other student struggling.” 

The art department is taking a trip to Italy this summer and Vaughn-Godfrey will be on that trip, thanks to Kirkholm. “Without him, I wouldn’t have something so amazing and wonderful to look forward to this summer,” Vaughn-Godfrey said.

The Daniel Weiss “Get Your Good Out” Memorial Award is in memory of Daniel Weiss, a highly-regarded JHS educator who taught and mentored students for more than 30 years. He refused to overlook or accept subpar performance or poor behavior in any student, and believed there is good in every individual. His life and his legacy challenge us to: “Get Your Good Out.”

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