Meet the people behind the
Millard South Language Arts Department
English 9, English 9 Literacy Enrichment, Creative Writing
Tessa Adams has been teaching at Millard South High School since 2004. Since arriving in Omaha, she and her husband Lew have had three amazing children: Caelan, Camden, and Amelia. They all love and enjoy their fearless German short-hair, Daisy. She received her secondary education degree from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, and she received her reading specialist and master's degree from the University of Nebraska in Omaha. Currently, Mrs. Adams teaches creative writing and English 9 while co-sponsoring the environmental club. In her spare time, she enjoys anything involving her children. When left to her own devices, she appreciates time with friends, live music, reading good books, writing, and running
English 9, Honors English 9, English 10
Candace Ahrens teaches English 9, Honors English 9, and English 10. She likes Mexican restaurants and enjoys her sister's company.
Drama I, Drama II, Speech, Theatre Appreciation, Theatre Technology
Mrs. Baker has been at the Director of Theatre for 21 years at Millard South High School. Before that, she spent six years as one of the Secondary Education Directors at the Emmy Gifford Children’s Theatre (Now The Rose). Originally from California, Mrs. Baker got her Bachelor’s degree in Performance and Costume Design from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and “back in the day” spent many years as a professional actress for theatre, film, and television on both coasts and in the Midwest. Mrs. Baker has done many feature films as a Costumer. She also has a Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Theatre Education and a Master’s Degree in Theatre Curriculum and Instruction. She has been named Teacher of the Year four times: once by the Millard Education Foundation, once by the Nebraska Chapter of the Educational Theatre Association, and once The Nebraska Speech Communication and Theatre Association, and lastly by the Omaha Chamber of Commerce and Arts on The Green. In 2015 Millard South was awarded the Outstanding School Award as one of the top 3 high school theatre departments in the nation. She is Past-President of Nebraska Thespians, a division of the Educational Theatre Association. She has helped Millard South win 3 State Championships in One Act Play in the last 10 years. Millard South students have also been named Best Actor or Actress in class A for many years. Mrs. Baker helped found the All Millard Theatre Festival and has taught many students who are currently working professionals in the industry, appearing in films, Television, Broadway and as designers and theatre technicians. Her husband is an actor/writer/producer, and she adores her 11 year old and 7 year old sons.
English 10, English 10 Literacy Enrichment, English 11
Ms. Bass is new to Millard South after teaching for two years at Lexington High school in Lexington, MO. She earned her B.A. in English and Secondary Education from William Jewell College in Liberty, MO and is currently working on her her Master’s in English from University of Nebraska-Omaha. Currently, she teaches English 11 and English 10 Differentiated Instruction. In her free time, Ms. Bass enjoys traveling, going to concerts, relaxing at the lake, and spending time with her family.
Academy, Advanced Debate, Debate I, English 11
James Constantino joined Millard South in 2011 after a decade as an adjunct professor at various local colleges. He is the head Debate coach and teaches dual credit English 11 courses. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Journalism and a Master's degree in English Literature from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His family loves to be involved in music and community service.
English 9, English 9 Literacy Enrichment, English 11 Literacy Enrichment
Mr. Denson is a Reading Specialist and English teacher at Millard South. Mr. Denson has been at Millard South for 24 years. He has been teaching for 34 total years. Mr. Denson is a freshman football coach and the varsity head coach for wrestling. Mr. Denson was named the National High School Coach of the Year for Wrestling in 2015. The team went undefeated in 2015-16 including a Metro Championship, A State Championship, and A State Dual Championship.The team has won back to back championships and has been undefeated for two straight years which is also an ongoing a class A record. As a coach, Mr. Denson’s teams have won 6 Individual State Championships and 6 State Runner-up finishes. His teams have won 10 Metro Championships. In the Last 14 years, the teams have finished in the top 5, 13 times. Mr. Denson has five children. Katie, who graduated from MS in 2001 is a supervisor at AAA. Aaron, who graduated in 2006, finished as a 4 time finalist and 3 time state champion for Millard South. He was a National Champion for UNO in 2011. Aaron is married to Jacquie (Albertson) who graduated from MS and was a member of the dance team. Aaron lives in St. Louis and is a personal trainer. He also has started his own supplement company called Top Tier. Son Morgan graduated in 2009 from MS. Morgan was a 4 time state placer and 2 time state champion for MS. He was a varsity wrestler for Maryville University in St. Louis for 4 straight years. Morgan graduated from Maryville University last year and is now working in Kansas City. Daughter Hayley graduated from Millard South in 2015 and is presently a student at Metro Community College. Daughter Hannah will be a Freshman at Millard South this year. She will be involved in Cross Country and Track. Wife Jill is a 2nd grade teacher at Bryan Elementary. She has been a teacher in the district for nearly 30 years.
Mary Kay Desjardins
English 10, English 10 Literacy Enrichment
Mary Kay Desjardins has been happily teaching Patriots since 2011. She has two undergraduate degrees from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and is pursuing her Masters in English. Ms. D has four children: Taylor, Jake, Veronica, and Quinn, and two slobbery dogs. She loves them all. In her spare time, Ms. Desjardins likes to sing, act, read, and socialize with her large circle of family and friends.
Honors English 10, English 11
Holly Hartel teaches Honors English 10 and English 11. She has cats, kids, and occasionally hosts squirrels in her home.
English 9, Honors English 9
Mrs. Hon has been teaching at Millard South since 2007. While she was initially hired as a biology teacher, she now teaches English 9 and Honors English 9. She earned her undergraduate degree at UNO in Secondary Education with endorsements in Biology and English. Mrs. Hon also holds her masters degree from UNO in Educational Administration. Mrs. Hon is married to Grant and they love spending time with her two sons, Silas and Owen. As a family, they enjoy camping, fishing, crafting, exercising, and taking walks (or runs) to the park with their two dogs, Moxie and Buck. Mrs. Hon and her husband love traveling for the sake of eating; true foodies!!! Mrs. Hon has a weak spot for puppies, loves the color purple, and has a serious sweet tooth! She is always looking forward to meeting new students and helping them grow!!! Cheers to a great year ahead!
English 9, Forensics, Speech
Ms. Johnson joined Millard South in 2014. She currently teaches English 9, Speech and Forensics. Ms. Johnson is the head coach of the Millard South Forensics team. She has an undergraduate degree in Speech Communications with a double emphasis in Public Relations and Corporate/Community Relations from Wayne State College. Ms. Johnson earned her master's degree in Teaching with a secondary Language Arts emphasis from College of Saint Mary. Ms. Johnson also owns her own cosmetic business which let's her help others feel beautiful on the inside and out. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and her 2 nieces
Advanced Journalism, AP English Language & Composition, Intro To Journalism
Mrs. Kaldahl joined the Millard South staff in 1997. She received her undergraduate degree in journalism at the University of Nebraska Lincoln in 1991 and her Master's in English from UNO in 2001. Mrs. Kaldahl teaches Advanced Journalism, AP Language & Composition, Intro to Journalism and Intro to Photojournalism. Mrs. Kaldahl is a National Board Certified teacher. In her free time, she enjoys performing in community theatre productions and spending time with her husband and daughters Vivian and Molly.
21st Century Media Literacy, AP English Language & Composition, English 10, Literacy For Life I
Mr. Kanago is in his seventh year here at Millard South. He currently teaches English 10, AP Lang, 21st Century Media, and Literature for Life. Prior to his life as a Patriot, Mr. Kanago attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for his BA in English and Political Science, UNO for his Masters in English, and Saint Louis University for his PhD coursework in American Literature. Mr. Kanago loves spending time with his wife, Heather, and two kids, Henry and Vivienne. He rides his bike whenever possible.
Academic Seminar, Research Methods
Mr. Kerkman is in his silver anniversary as a teacher at twenty-five years, including nineteen years here at Millard South. Currently, he teaches Academic Seminar and Research Methods, but has taught courses such as: American Literature, 21st Century Media, Creative Writing, 8th Grade Language Arts, English 9, English 10, English 12, and Psychology. Prior to teaching here, Mr. Kerkman taught in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. He graduated from UNL in 1992 with degrees in English and Psychology. Mr.Kerkman finished his Masters at UNO in December 2000. In 2005, 2011, and 2015, he was named Nebraska Softball Coach of the Year and has also led the MSHS girls' softball team to five state championships. He also serves as an Assistant Activities Director and Language Arts Department Head. In his spare time, Mr. Kerkman enjoys his public speaking engagements and watching sports, but most importantly he enjoys spending time with his wife and his three daughters, Kalani, Mikenna, and Halle. The “dog whisperer” also spoils his two dogs, Husker and Bailey.
English 9, English 10
Mr. Kirkland loves teaching at Millard South! Mr. Kirkland is interested in nearly everything and answers lots of tech questions from teachers, students, and parents. He has a few degrees, including a master’s in teaching. Mr. Kirkland and his wife regularly find themselves traveling together and revel in doing so. They have two family members, both of whom are cats. Mr. Kirkland is interested in nearly everything and loves discussing all these things. He eats too much, sleeps too little, and doesn't dance enough.
English 11, Global Perspective
Mrs. Martin began teaching at Millard South in 2004 after completing her student teaching experiences at Millard West and Kiewit Middle School. She is a graduate of Nebraska Weslyan University where she earned degrees in English and social studies, and she earned her teaching credentials at the College of Saint Mary. Prior to coming to Millard South, Mrs. Martin worked in the corporate world in human resources. She is currently teaching English 11 and Global Perspectives, as well as sponsoring Diversity Club. She is the proud mother of two very sweet little girls, Ellie and Brynn. When away from school she spends her free time playing with the girls and hanging out with her husband, T.J., who is a teacher and football coach at Millard South.
Mrs. Mertl joined Millard South in 2015 and currently advises the MSHS yearbook, The Patriot. In the past, she has taught a wide variety of English courses. Mrs. Mertl has her bachelor's degree in Journalism and her master's degree in Secondary Education with an emphasis in writing. When not working with yearbook students, she enjoys being a mom to her son Jacob, and walking, camping, and boating with her family and Golden Retriever, Rue, and new puppy, Effie.
Contemporary Literature, Honors English 10, Intro To Photojournalism
With master's degrees in both English and Education, Mrs. Joanne Miller joined the Millard South staff in 2009 and teaches in the Early College High School program with classes in Honors English 10, Contemporary Literature, and Photojournalism. She has moved to more English classes after 25 years in journalism/yearbooks. She has been an award-winning yearbook representative and adviser who has taught at such prestigious yearbook conferences as the San Diego national yearbook workshop and the Columbia Scholastic Press Association conference. Yearbooks she's advised have earned titles, including a dozen state titles, a CSPA Silver Crown, several All-American ratings, and a Pacemaker finalist designation. She's also served on the Nebraska Scholastic Press Association Board, has been a national yearbook judge, and was the 2009 Nebraska Journalism Adviser of the Year. She came to Millard South after 8 years as the journalism teacher at Millard West.
English 9, English 9 Literacy Enrichment
Mrs. Murphy is new to Millard South this year and excited to be a Patriot! Mrs. Murphy grew up in South Dakota, eventually moving to Iowa. Mrs. Murphy has been teaching for 14 years starting in Afton, Iowa and was at Creston High School for 12 years. She has taught 7th and 8th grade writing, English 9, 10, American Literature, British Literature, Humanities, Creative Writing, and sponsored both school’s newspapers and yearbooks. Mrs. Murphy received her undergraduate degree from Northwest Missouri State University in Secondary English Education, has graduate hours in writing and journalism from the University of Iowa, and recently earned her Master’s Degree in Clinical Counseling from Bellevue University. When she is not at school, Mrs. Murphy enjoys spending time with her wife, Amy, and their four children David, Lauren, Matthew,and Riley playing games, swimming, biking, reading, hiking, going places, cooking and playing with Nerf guns in the backyard! Mrs. Murphy also enjoys traveling, the theater, reading, writing, music, kayaking, golfing, disc golfing, and a variety of things.
Honors English 9, Literature And Film
Mrs. Weidenhamer, a 1982 Millard South graduate, has been teaching since August 1990 at Millard South, where she started as Ms. Pettit. She received her B.S. in Secondary Education, a B.A. in German and English, and an M.S. in Secondary Education from the University of Nebraska-Omaha, plus 41 graduate credit hours in various areas from a variety of educational institutions. Mrs. Weidenhamer teaches Honors English 9 and Literature and Film. She has also taught Career English, College Prep Composition, Composition and Literature, English 9, English 10, Global Perspectives, Literacy for Life I and II, Mass Media, Speech, German I, and German II. She balances her life as a teacher and mother of two active children with numerous hobbies, which include: reading, canoeing, backpacking, cross country and downhill skiing, camping, and dance-momming.
English 10, English 11
Mrs. Wolf began teaching at Millard South in 2009. She earned her B.A. in Language Arts and Education from College of St. Mary and her M.S. in Education from Doane College. Currently, she teaches English 10 and English 11 and is a co-sponsor for National Honor Society. Mrs. Wolfe’s favorite part about teaching is all the fascinating things she learns from her students each day. In her free time, Mrs. Wolfe enjoys traveling, fashion, and chasing around her four cats. She is also the world’s biggest Michigan Wolverines football and basketball fan.
AP English Language & Composition, AP English Literature & Composition
Ms Wormington came to Millard South as a teacher in 2005 after graduating from Millard South in 1995. She teaches AP Literature and AP Language, coaches the Slam Poetry team, and sponsors the Gay/Straight Alliance. She has two clever and stubborn daughters who helpfully provide the perfect combination of joy and terror to keep Wormington from stagnating. She also enjoys yoga, neighborhood-walks, social media, existential meanderings, and being ironic.
The Best Department Ever
Our Support Staff
English 10, English 10 Literacy Enrichment, Speech
English 9 Literacy Enrichment
English 9, English 9 Literacy Enrichment, Speech
English 10, English 10 Literacy Enrichment
English 11, English 11 Literacy Enrichment
Where to go from here?
This is the homepage of the Millard South Language Arts Department, aka the Millard South English Department.