Awarded was Amy Johnston, a health and physical education teacher at Shawnee High School.
Amy Johnston, a health and physical education teacher at Shawnee High School, is the 2019–20 Lenape Regional High School District Teacher of the Year. A 12-year veteran of the district, Johnston also has coached numerous sports at Shawnee, including girls’ soccer, winter track and field and lacrosse.
The LRHSD Teacher of the Year designation is extra special for Johnston, who was once a student in not only the same district, but also the same high school where she now teaches. She is a 2002 Shawnee High School graduate.
“It is both humbling and an honor to be recognized as Teacher of the Year,” Johnston said. “As a former student of the district, I have been fortunate to be able to work alongside
some of the same amazing teachers who taught me, as well as impressive new colleagues, all of whom continue to help me grow and become the teacher and person I am today. I would not be receiving this award without all of the support and guidance from family, friends, colleagues and students.”
Colleagues who nominated Johnston for Teacher of the Year praised her “student- centered and energetic classroom, where students feed off of her enthusiasm and passion.” They also characterized her as a “true team player and caring person, who is willing to help out any student or staff member with any request.”
Johnston has contributed to several district initiatives, including the District Wellness Fair, the Shawnee Student Wellness Fair, No Place for Hate, Defy the Issue, the #notevenonce Program, the Shawnee Staff Day of Service and the Senior Day of Service. She has served as a leader to champion many of these initiatives.
She led efforts to launch the Shawnee Staff Day of Service, energizing and encouraging staff to participate in a day of service to the Shawnee community. She also took the lead to develop the Renegade Wellness Newsletter to support staff members with their personal health and wellness, and she helped develop the #notevenonce Program at Shawnee, taking the initiative to partner with the Medford Police Department to help students realize the impact of opiates on their community.
The #notevenonce Program is one of many initiatives supported by LRHSD’s Defy the Issue campaign that aims to educate district families and residents of all ages about the dangers of illegal drug and alcohol use and to provide support for young people by empowering them to DEFY the pressures of using such substances. With Johnston’s help, Shawnee piloted #notevenonce in 2017, and then the school introduced it to all seniors in the spring of 2018 and to freshmen this past fall.
“Ms. Johnston’s involvement with this program is one example of how she is always looking to move the health curriculum forward; she takes cues from what is going on in our society and issues our students are either facing or may likely face in the future,” said LRHSD Superintendent Carol Birnbohm, Ed.D. “I commend her for always striving to offer our students an education that will truly add value to their lives and help them thrive now and in the future.”
Johnston earned a bachelor’s degree in health and physical education with a teaching certification from Rowan University in 2006. She earned a master’s degree in teaching and learning: technology integration from Nova Southeastern University in 2015.
She resides in Tabernacle with her husband, Mike, who also works at Shawnee in the Technology Department as a woodworking and drafting teacher, and her children, Addison, 5, and Avery, 3.