New Freeman Family Member: Coach Kim Johnson


Riley Speidell

Staff Writer


From coaching cheerleading to wedding photography, Kim Johnson is enthusiastic about everything she does.  Coach Kim Johnson is the new JV cheerleading coach at Freeman and has officially started her first season with the Freeman Family.  Although the season has been delayed and shortened due to COVID restrictions, this coach is ready to get the season started.

With a team of mostly freshmen, Coach Johnson has been eager to see the improvements her team will make over the next few months and throughout their cheerleading futures.  “One goal with the JV program as a whole is to produce great senior cheerleaders both in character and athleticism,” said Coach Johnson.  One of the freshmen on the JV team, Ava Hare, described her new coach as, “very helpful and uplifting.”

Varsity cheer coach Emily Walthall is thrilled to have Coach Johnson as part of her team for this season.  Coach Walthall said, “I think [Johnson] is very kind, caring, and dedicated as a coach […] I knew that she was the best fit for the program even if she is newer to cheerleading.”

Coach Johnson began cheering in middle school and continued the sport through high school, but she is new to the teaching side of cheerleading.  Johnson has been “actively [seeking] out different training materials via videos or conferences that she can attend and has picked up [coaching] pretty quickly,” said Coach Walthall.

While cheerleading is a physical activity, attitude plays a major role in the success of the team.  Coach Johnson and her team will be focusing on creating positive bonds between the teammates.  “Of course, [we are] building a really strong community and friendships because there is so much isolation […] so hopefully this can be an outlet for healthy socialization,”  Johnson said.  

Coach Kim Johnson with the JV cheer team. (Photo: Emily Walthall)

As a new coach, Johnson is grateful to be working with the Freeman team.  She said, “Cheerleading has a reputation of producing cattiness and drama and some kind of a negative culture a lot of the time, and so far Freeman cheer seems to be the opposite […] it’s just an amazing community”  Through getting to know other Freeman staff, students, and families, Coach Johnson has observed the “strong values” of the school and its surrounding community.

In addition to being a coach, Johnson is also the owner of Kim Johnson Photo, a small wedding photography business.  “I love that I can have an impact on other peoples’ lives while having control over how much I work and what clients I take […] I just love having that control over my life.” Johnson also enjoys the weddings themselves.   “I love it […] I get to eat cake and dance every weekend during wedding season,” said Johnson.

Although there are many different veins of photography, wedding photography naturally felt like the right path for Johnson to follow.  Johnson attended Liberty University, a Christian college, and “there were many opportunities for weddings” through her connection with the university, said Johnson.  Given that she and her husband live in a renovated 1967 Airstream RV, Johnson said wedding photography also made the most sense with their traveling lifestyle.  “I could book [the weddings] a year out and know where I need to be,” Johnson said.

Coach Johnson wanted to share her photography with youth, so she started an online photography course for about 1200 high school girls at the beginning of the pandemic.

Cheerleading and wedding photography do not seem to have much in common at face value.  However, Coach Johnson has noticed that both her jobs have created a new level of accountability for herself.  Johnson noticed in her line of work that putting thought into her social media posts and how she treats each client will benefit her business in the future.  This mentality applies to both Johnson’s photography business and her coaching.  “If I work hard, I see results and that is something that is very true in athletics […] and something I have definitely learned through my business.”

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