Sterling Middle School teacher Janette Johnson has been named the recipient of the Shenandoah University Teacher of the Year Award.
Johnson has spent her entire 39-year career teaching health and physical education at Sterling Middle School. As her award was announced at the Loudoun County School Board meeting on Tuesday, she told board members that she “sort of felt like an imposter.”
“I thank my lucky stars everyday that the parents of Sterling Park have entrusted their children to me because they’ve taught me far more than I’ve taught them,” she said.
Each year, Shenandoah University recognizes a Loudoun County Public Schools teacher for excellence in the specialized areas of education. Teachers are nominated by their peers and students, as well as by parents, parent-teacher organizations and administrators.
In Johnson’s nomination packet, she was described as a “pillar of SMS and the Sterling Park Community,” and “one who repeatedly performs above and beyond expectations.”
During her tenure at Sterling Middle School, she has stayed busy in and outside of the classroom to help students and colleagues. For more than 10 years, Johnson spearheaded “Project Graduation” for all Loudoun’s public high schools, funded by a grant she secured from the Claude Moore Charitable Foundation. She authored and implemented the school system’s Family Life Education curriculum for eighth grade, and authored and piloted the mental health curriculum for all eighth graders in the school district.
She is a founding member of the Sterling Middle School Advisory Committee, which provides each student with an advisor for their entire middle school career, and she often mentors new teachers at the school.
The list of volunteer activities she’s been involved in over the years is long, and includes: three years of participation in the NFL Play 60 program with the Washington Redskins; more than 35 years of providing intramural sports opportunities; and more than 10 years of coordinating Hoops for Heart. She has also worked with LINK to fill the food pantry for the summer, helped students fill Easter baskets for senior citizens at Heritage Hall and helped students fill Christmas stockings for children at Inova Loudoun Hospital.
She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education from the University of Georgia, a master’s degree in physical education from the University of California, Berkeley, and has completed more than 40 hours of additional graduate study with George Mason University and the University of Virginia’s College at Wise.
The Teacher of the Year Award is sponsored by Shenandoah University’s School of Education & Human Development Office of Education Outreach, which provides courses for Loudoun County Public Schools, including Teachers for Tomorrow and initial teacher licensure and recertification courses.