Shenandoah University presented its Teacher of the Year Award to Janette Johnson, health & physical education teacher (PE) at Sterling Middle School (SMS), during the Loudoun County School Board meeting on Tuesday, May 24.
Johnson was honored as a “rare gem” and a “pillar of SMS and the Sterling Park Community,” as “one who repeatedly performs above and beyond expectations,” and as a “dedicated teacher who truly cares about her students and their parents.”
Each year, Shenandoah University recognizes a Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) teacher for excellence in the specialized areas of education. 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.
Teachers recognized by this award have dedicated at least five years of service to the students of Loudoun County and are nominated by their peers and students as well as by parents, parent-teacher organizations and administrators.
Johnson was selected from a group of 11 finalists who were honored at a reception on May 19, at the university’s Northern Virginia Campus-Scholar Plaza in Leesburg, Virginia.
Johnson arrived at SMS in 1977 and since then, has dedicated her entire 39 years of teaching to the school. In addition to her duties as a health & PE teacher, she has served as chair of the Health & PE Department for more than 10 years and as a wellness ambassador for more than five years. Prior to her time at SMS, she taught classes in history, sociology and the psychology of sport at the University of California, Berkeley, for one year.
For more than 10 years, Johnson spearheaded “Project Graduation” for all LCPS high schools, funded by a grant she secured from the Claude Moore Charitable Foundation. She authored and implemented the school district’s Family Life Education curriculum for eighth grade, and authored and piloted the mental health curriculum for all eighth graders in the district as well.
Johnson is a founding member of the SMS Advisory Committee, which provides each SMS student with an advisor for their entire middle school career, and she continually serves as a mentor for new teachers at the school. She has been published in “Who’s Who in Education” and was nominated as “Volunteer of the Year” for Park View High School.
Her dedication to SMS and to her community is evident in a long list of volunteer activities and accomplishments from throughout the years including: 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. For more than 20 years, Johnson has encouraged and assisted her students in participating in four community service projects per year. She has 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.
Johnson has been an integral part of many talent and variety shows at SMS, and has served as a sponsor of Step Team, Break Dance and Student Council. She helped incorporate the “First Tee” program at SMS and coordinates with the Sterling Golf Club to offer an after-school golf program. Johnson has also worked with the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Department to provide an Internet Safety and Drug Education program to parents, and has served on the SMS Parent Teachers and Students Association (PTSA) Executive Board and as a PTSA officer.
Johnson 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.