Meet Mr. Christansen

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Mr. Christanen teaching one of his math classes.

John Sohn, Journalist

Donald Christansen (commonly known as JC) is a new addition to our Oly staff, already making a huge impact on the lives of OHS students. Mr. Christansen is a new math teacher, football coach, and head wrestling coach. He has been a teacher for five and a half years and decided to teach because of his love of coaching the football team at Hoquiam High School and his passion for math. “I’ve always loved math,” says Christansen.

The presence of Olympia in Christansen’s life as he was growing up in Montesano and the culture and community that he experienced in Olympia is what led him to this position. As he followed the coaching pipeline, the opportunity to coach in Olympia was given to him which has put his foot in the door to be a part of a bigger community at Olympia. “I love the Olympia community, I love what Olympia’s about, and Olympia has always had high standards in terms of academics and athletics.”

Paul Rae, Head of the Math Department, says “I think he’s awesome! He has come in here and has already been super dynamic and fun to work with. I feel he has become a real positive addition to our math department.” Rae notes that “he is very professional, he is really in tune with students, and he has that coaching aspect that helps him make connections really well with students outside of the classroom and I think that helps make connections really well inside the classroom.”

Christansen’s goal for this year is to “create a community within the classroom every day of people that enjoy mathematics.” He states that “math is the world, it encompasses everything around us, a lot of times people think that math is just about the numbers and it’s not, math is actually the study of problem solving.” He also adds that “we’ve always conceptualized math as just whether or not you can add and subtract but it’s not, that’s just one of the tools that you use in math.”

Michael Rae, High School Student and Football Player, says “I really enjoy how Mr. Christensen teaches…his class is for sure my favorite out of my whole schedule.” Michael also notes that “JC has a very friendly and welcoming personality. I’ve always liked his vibe. He sometimes goes on little tangents about his life and I personally enjoy hearing about him. It’s not something you see very many teachers do nowadays.” In terms of Christansen as a coach, Michael says that “JC is the best line coach I’ve ever had. He’s always got great drills for us to do on the field and always helps us. He goes over film with us O-Line and gives us tips and things to improve upon.” Michael is “super glad to have JC as a teacher and coach.”

Christansen recalls early on in his life when he was constantly bullied for being the bigger kid and the nerd for playing games like Pokemon or Yu-Gi-Oh. “People would do stuff to my locker and my football gear and I actually quit because somebody peed on my locker and the coach wouldn’t do anything about it.” Christansen did not have a good experience when he started out but that all changed when he started doing other sports which led him to make more friends. His friends pushed and encouraged him to play football again and in turn, he had a good football career in Montesano and the opportunity to play football at Eastern Washington University.

Then, Christansen’s life changed when he took the football coaching position at Hoquiam. “I realized that I needed to grow up, I started to become a role model, and I fell in love with coaching.” Christansen notes that “one thing that people don’t understand about coaching is the impact that you make on people’s lives.” He reflects on his school experience and all the teachers and coaches that have made a difference in his life. “I still stay in contact with them, I see those guys at coaches clinics all the time and we gravitate to each other, and it just shows the impact that they made on my life and that’s the impact that I want to make on students.

“The support from the Olympia community is amazing” notes Christansen as he recalls walking through the halls and being encouraged by students and staff. “It’s a great place to be, I love coaching here. I said it a few times but this is my retirement job. This is the place that I’ve always wanted to be and now that I’m here, I don’t want to be anywhere else.”