Johnson Named Moore County's Teacher of the Year
Johnson said she got her first exposure to the profession when she took a course as a junior in high school entitled "cadet teaching."
This course allowed students to go into the elementary schools and assist teachers with various duties.
She remembered her supervising teacher stating that she was a "natural." She liked the experience so much that she re-enrolled in the class her senior year and continued to pursue her "calling" in college.
Originally from Indiana, Johnson decided to move to Moore County to be closer to her sister and her family.
During her five years as a teacher, she admitted to having thoughts of another career at times, but "there was constantly a little voice inside me that kept me going," she said. She now proudly says that she "made it over the hump" and is a "life-long educator."
Bilingual Book Club
Two years ago, Johnson began a bilingual book club for Spanish-speaking families at her school. The book club meets monthly to share and discuss literature that the families have chosen. In conjunction with the school's English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher, she also works with an initiative called LEAP, which is a free program for Spanish-speaking families who wish to learn English.
Johnson devotes one night a week to this program with the ESL teacher teaching the English language and Johnson working with their children on English skills.
She also is a part of an inclusion team at her school. Inclusion is a process in which exceptional children (disabilities) are integrated into the regular classroom for many activities.
"I have been assisted by a wonderful EC teacher who serves as my co-teacher," she said. "Together we plan lessons, modify for varying ability levels and co-teach the material. This process has taught me a great deal about what I believe as a teacher.
"I believe that every child deserves the right to learn with his or her peers in a classroom that is not only free of negativity, but also celebrates the strengths that each child has."
Johnson is a National Board of Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) certified teacher and a past Star Award winner for the school district.
Dr. Anita Alpenfels, the executive director of human resources for the school system, announced that Johnson was the 20006-2007 Teacher of Year during a banquet on May 4.
"This is such a great county," Johnson said after receiving the award. "There are so many great teachers here that I am just very honored to have been chosen to represent you."
Johnson will now go on to compete for one of the eight regional Teachers of the Year in North Carolina. Judging at this level includes a portfolio, interviews, a formal speech and a group activity.
These eight winners will go on to compete for State Teacher of the Year, which is announced next spring.
The State Teacher of the Year is given a year off from the classroom to serve as an ambassador for public schools and the teaching profession and act in an advisory capacity to the State Board of Education.
Fox Named Alternate
Katrina Fox of Sandhills Farm Life Elementary School was selected as the Alternate Teacher of the Year.
Fox is a fourth-grade teacher with seven years of experience in the classroom.
"First and foremost, I genuinely respect and sincerely care for each child. The children should, in turn, recognize this respect, love and care -- and then it becomes a mutual respect and admiration. Once the children feel and understand I care about their academics, as well as their well-being, they give their very best each day they enter into my classroom."
Johnson, Fox and individual school Teachers of the Year were also recognized at the annual Teacher of the Year Banquet.
They are Gail Henkel of Aberdeen Elementary, Mary Wannall of Aberdeen Primary, Susan Smith of Academy Heights Elementary, Sara Webster of Cameron Elementary, Whitney Irwin of Carthage Elementary, Melinda Zumwalt of Elise Middle, Amanda Oldham of Highfalls Elementary, Aaron Dye of New Century Middle, Laura Giles of North Moore High, Pat Cheek of Pinckney Academy, Stuart Shore of Pinecrest High, Mary Kundinger of Pinehurst Elementary, Clarkie Hussey of Robbins Elementary;
Velma McLellan of Southern Middle, Debbie Bare of Southern Pines Elementary, Danielle Duncan of Southern Pines Primary, Robin Calcutt of Union Pines High, Sherry Hull of West End Elementary, Greg Pilson of West Pine Middle, and Gail Wilson of Westmoore Elemen-tary.
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