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Massachusetts native Colleen Johnson named Columbia’s top teacher

Colleen Johnson is one of those fortunate people who enjoys their job. Johnson is Teacher of the Year at Columbia Elementary School.

Colleen Johnson teaches first graders at Columbia Elementary School.

Johnson’s teaching career started at Madison Elementary School in 2001, where she taught first grade for three years. She was transferred to Columbia when the new school opened in 2004 and taught kindergarten for one year.

“I have taught first grade at Columbia ever since 2005. It is my favorite grade,” Johnson said.

Johnson’s hometown is Framingham, Mass., a suburb of Boston. She graduated from Framingham State College with a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and food science. “I returned to college after staying at home with my three children and received an elementary teaching degree from Athens State University in 2001,” she said.

Johnson hesitated about naming one student that she considers most memorable. “I can’t pick just one. I have worked with many students who are from difficult home situations. They may not have the emotional, academic and financial help that other students have,” she said.

However, teachers do make a difference. “With a lot of love, encouragement, extra time and effort from the teacher, these students can succeed, feel confident and love coming to school,” Johnson said.

Students aren’t the only ones who enjoy coming to school. “There are so many things that I love about teaching. I love to motivate students to achieve,” she said.

She finds her first-grade students as “so much fun to work with. They want to please the teacher most of the time. I love the enthusiasm, excitement and sense of wonder that young children possess.”

She and her husband Brad have been married for 27 years. He works as an engineer and project manager at Sparta, Inc. Their children are Julie Johnson, 25, who works as a nurse practitioner, Kelly Johnson, 23, also a teacher, and Eric Johnson, 20, a student at the University of Alabama.

Before the school year closes, teachers on the 11 campuses of Madison City Schools vote for a peer as Teacher of the Year.

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