If you had asked Old Kings Elementary School teacher Stacy Johnson a few years ago what kind of educator she aspired to be, she would have told you that she was motivated to be the kind of teacher she'd want for her own children.
When Johnson transitioned three years ago from teaching a general first grade class to becoming an ESE support facilitator working with striving readers, she realized these students required a different kind of teacher.
"They require a teacher who specializes in effective intervention instruction, has strong literacy knowledge and is mixed with love, patience and encouragement," Johnson wrote in her essay for the Teacher of the Year award.
Johnson is from South Daytona. She graduated from Spruce Creek High School and received her bachelor's and master's degrees in in Emotional Disturbances/Learning Disabilities from Florida State University.
She has been a teacher for 23 years, the last six years at OKES. Since 2019 she has worked with students from prekindergarten through first grade who require reading intervention.
"I am humbled with the knowledge that my job can change the trajectory of a student’s life, as being able to read gives students opportunities to be successful in school and beyond."
— STACY JOHNSON
"She assesses students’ needs and provides individual and small group instruction. Her passion to reach every student at any cost is what makes her stand out," OKES Principal Nicole Critcher wrote in her Teacher of the Year recommendation for Johnson.
Since 2019, Johnson has taken several courses and earned several certificates in reading intervention.
"I am humbled with the knowledge that my job can change the trajectory of a student’s life, as being able to read gives students opportunities to be successful in school and beyond," she wrote.
She shares what she learned with other teachers.
"I began seeing more growth with my students as did their teachers," she wrote. "They became interested in what I was doing and wanted to see what they could do in their classrooms to help their students."
In the past year, she enrolled in UF's graduate level dyslexia certificate program as a steppingstone to earn a Ph.D or Ed.D.
"Nothing brings me more joy than witnessing my students progress," she wrote. "My goal is for my students to no longer need sustained, intensive intervention after first grade, because research shows that it can take four times longer to remediate a struggling reader in fourth grade compared to a student receiving early intervention in kindergarten or first grade."
Critcher said Johnson "tutors students before and after school and even outside of school. Her drive to better understand reading disabilities is what drives her to discover strategies that work best for each student."