Springfield, MO—Johnson’s desire for teaching was ignited while working as a drill sergeant at a boot camp prison where he taught a job acquisition resume skills course. Since earning his education degree, he has taught Spanish for 22 years. Before joining SPS in 2011, he was the head men’s basketball coach at Labette Community College. He retired from coaching in 2019 to concentrate on the classroom and to ensure that underrepresented youth can see someone who looks like them and shares a similar background. Johnson is dedicated to being the person for his students that he needed when he was growing up.
Incorporating American Sign Language into teaching Spanish, to reach his kinesthetic learners, is just one way he differentiates his instruction for his students. Whether he is in his classroom or on a court working with students from CHS’ feeder schools, offering free basketball training, Johnson is teaching the students he encounters to be positive, productive students, citizens, and family members. A firm believer in giving students grace, Johnson helps connect students to the world outside of the classroom by providing them with a vast array of cultural knowledge of Latin American identity and history.
Johnson was selected as Teacher of the Year from five finalists that included Shannon Bossing, Harrison Elementary; Betsy Cannella, Kickapoo High School; Cary Sikes, Gray Elementary; and Michelle Slominsky, Sequiota Elementary. The finalist were selected from over 220 nominees.
The Teacher of the Year and the remaining finalists will be recognized during a banquet hosted by Foundation for Springfield Public Schools in August.
Johnson will go on to compete for Regional Teacher of the Year, sponsored by Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.