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Teaching invigorates Granite educator

Fourth-grade students Logan Rainey, Alex Penfold and Emily Pearson work on a project with their teacher, Joan Johnson at Fox Hills Elementary School.
Fourth-grade students Logan Rainey, Alex Penfold and Emily Pearson work on a project with their teacher, Joan Johnson at Fox Hills Elementary School.
Amanda Lucidon, Deseret Morning News

She shows up early, leaves late, is a strong advocate for students and a positive example to colleagues. And she loves her work.

Those are just a few of the reasons Joan Johnson was named the 2004 Granite School District Teacher of the Year.

From the beginning, Johnson's mother — also a teacher — impressed the importance of education upon her and her siblings. She was raised viewing teaching as an honored profession.

Now, with a master's degree and endorsements in English as a second language and gifted education, she is a skilled educator teaching fourth grade at Fox Hills Elementary.

Fox Hills principal Paul Shepherd said, on a professional level, Johnson is an expert at teaching writing. She has instructed staff within the district and school on writing, and has conducted training for different school networks. She also teaches courses for the University of Phoenix.

Shepherd said Johnson is highly knowledgable about the science of teaching. She has the ability to relate to and communicate with students, discerning what their needs are and determining what she can do to address those needs, he said.

"For her the job is serving kids," Shepherd said. "She will speak out for them publicly, in a political setting, and in the classroom — extending herself in every way that she can to make sure that they learn."

Her students' appreciation was evident last year when former students nominated her for the Excel Foundation Award, the Granite Education Foundation's award for outstanding teaching. From more than 800 nominations, Johnson was chosen to receive the award, which included $1,000 for her school.

"I believe that every good teacher is a compilation of those that came before," Johnson said. "I have worked with a lot of good teachers and people that inspire me."

But Shepherd said Johnson herself is as inspiring as she is pleasant and genuine, and always positive.

"She is someone you listen to when she stands up and says 'this is how I think it should be done,' " Shepherd said.

"This is what keeps you young," said Johnson. "In education you are always learning and always going — it invigorates me."


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