Language arts instructor wants 'students to be more than what they see in the mirror'
SEATTLE - Susan Johnson, a language arts teacher at Cle Elum-Roslyn High School, was named 2009 Washington Teacher of the Year at a press conference this morning.
State Superintendent Terry Bergeson convened the nine regional finalists at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, where the announcement was made. The winner's identity had been kept confidential until the morning ceremony.
In announcing Johnson's award, Bergeson lauded the high school teacher for her ability to engage each of her students, and to help them connect writing and literature to the world they experience every day.
'Susan has a truly holistic approach to education, and her care and compassion for each and every student who enters her classroom have enriched the lives of a generation of young people,' Bergeson said. 'I am very proud to have Susan representing all of the wonderful teachers in our state in the coming year.'
In his letter of support for Johnson, Boyd Keyser, Cle Elum-Roslyn principal, wrote, 'We are a better staff and a better school because of Susan.'
Keyser's admiration for Johnson is personal as well as professional. His daughter struggled as a writer early in high school, but under Johnson's guidance became a proficient writer and fell in love with literature. Today, she is a college student studying to become a secondary English teacher.
'Like Mrs. Johnson, (my daughter) wants to inspire students to be more than they see in the mirror,' Keyser wrote. 'She wants to challenge their thinking on the big issues that authors throughout the ages have explored. She wants to bring the joy of being good at something into the life of young people. In reality, she wants to be like her hero, Mrs. Johnson.'
In addition to her teaching duties, Johnson teaches English courses for the Central Washington University Cornerstone program. A dual enrollment program that offers highly capable students the opportunity to take rigorous college courses while in high school. Johnson is an adjunct professor at Central Washington University and serves as co-director of the Central Washington Writing Project.
State Teacher of the Year Johnson will be considered for national Teacher of the Year, which is awarded by the Council of Chief State School Officers. The next U.S. president will announce the winner in a special ceremony at the White House in the spring.
As the Washington Teacher of the Year, Johnson will serve as an ambassador for the teaching profession in 2009 while maintaining her duties at Cle Elum-Roslyn High School.
The Teacher of the Year program is made possible through the support of many organizations, including the Beresford Company, founding sponsor of the program.
The 2009 Teacher of the Year was selected by a former state teacher of the year and representatives from the following organizations: the Association of Washington School Principals; Washington Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development; Washington Education Association; Washington School Public Relations Association; Washington State School Directors' Association; Washington Association of School Administrators; and the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.