Knowing Naomi Pickens


Naomi Pickens and her three children ready for their first day of the school year.

A day in the life of Naomi Pickens is always different and always eventful. Whether she is trying to keep up with her three kids or grasp the attention of her high school students. She tries her best to keep a positive attitude and spread the joy of Jesus.

  Pickens works as a family and consumer science teacher at Marquette Academy High School in Ottawa and has made an impact on her students and the school as a whole. 

Pickens’ sewing student Addie McConnaughhay said, “I feel like Mrs. Pickens is really one of those teachers who truly cares about her students.” 

Many skills are taught in Pickens’ classes including, but not limited to, sewing on buttons, cooking eggs, and learning how to take on life with a positive and meaningful outlook. Pickens’ classroom is also used as a judgment-free safe haven for many of her students.

People may ask “how did she get here?” because Pickens was born and raised in the state of Kansas. She was raised in Olathe, Kansas. This was where she met her future husband John Pickens while they were both in preschool. Pickens attended Olathe South High School where she found her life interest in studying family and consumer sciences. 

Pickens then continued on her education at a collegiate level. She enrolled at Midamerica Nazarene University where she received her bachelor’s degree in family and consumer science.

After many years of education, Pickens began student teaching in a suburb of Shawnee. Pickens and her family of four soon moved out of Kansas and into Ottawa, Illinois, 2015. After moving to Ottawa, the Pickens family of four grew to a family of five in the year 2017.

Shortly after the move, Pickens began a job at Illinois Valley Community College where she taught Microsoft Office Professional 1 and Keyboarding from the years 2016-2018. When Pickens was asked if she enjoyed her time at IV she responded, “I for sure had a positive experience at IV and I enjoyed my time.”

Pickens now teaches full time at Marquette Academy where she instructs a wide range of classes. A few examples of classes that she teaches include sewing, foods, independent living, and computer applications. When asked about her teaching style Pickens responded: “I like to have fun and my classroom is pretty relaxed. I think all students can learn while also enjoying it”

When not teaching, Pickens attends Crossbridge Community Church of the Nazarene where she enjoys serving in multiple capacities. She also loves spending quality time with her three children and her husband. Pickens also loves people and believes there is good in everyone.

Pickens is a multifaceted woman with strong midwest roots. Her passions are translated to her students through a laid back and positive atmosphere that she provides in the classroom.