Assistant Principal Nancy Johnson: Students must feel safe, loved to reach their potential

Published 8:53 am Thursday, November 17, 2022

Lake Charles native Nancy Johnson, 40, has happily dedicated 18 years of her life to education.

Johnson graduated from McNeese State University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education in 2005. She furthered her education by receiving her Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership in 2010, also from McNeese.

She began her career at St. John Elementary teaching fourth grade. However, much of her career consists of work as a curriculum coordinator. She spent two years at Kaufman Elementary and seven years at Cypress Cove Elementary as their curriculum coordinator.

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She then went on to take on the role of assistant principal at Fairview Elementary. She has been there for five years.

Johnson found herself inspired to become an educator during her time in school. “I was fortunate to have so many amazing teachers throughout my childhood,” she explained.

She recalled one particular teacher that planted the seed of inspiration.

“However, I remember being in fourth grade at Prien Lake Elementary and my teacher, Mrs. Grindol, gave us an opportunity to teach a lesson to the class,” she said. “I loved every minute of it and from that point forward, I knew I wanted to teach.”

Just like those who taught her, Johnson derives joy from seeing Calcasieu Parish students flourish. “I love seeing the growth in students – academically, behaviorally, and socially,” she said.  “As an administrator, my favorite place to be during the day is the classroom.”

“Seeing students working together, persevering through the hard content is exciting, and hearing from former students that you’ve made a difference in their life makes the job worth it.”

She stated that she has positively grown throughout her career with the help of her students. “I can remember being 22 years old and welcoming my first class of fourth graders. I grew so much that year right alongside them.”

“They helped me to be a better listener and communicator, and I learned quickly that every day was a fresh start with the chance to be better than yesterday,” she said. “ In my role as an administrator, they always have a way of reminding me that they are kids; kids who are still growing, learning, adjusting, adapting, and overcoming so many obstacles.”

For Johnson, it is paramount that teachers build healthy relationships with their students. She believes this is the best way to curate a healthy learning environment. “I truly believe all kids can learn, but not without taking time to build a relationship with every child you teach,” she said. “Students must feel safe and loved to reach their potential. With the commitment from their teacher, the sky is the limit.”

Helping students reach their full potential is beneficial to the community as a whole. “We have to continue to invest in them every day, and we have to find ways to inspire and motivate them to be their best,” she continued. “Showing them that they matter is key. Helping them find their passion and giving them the tools necessary to be successful is our job.”

Johnson wants current and former teachers to remember that “teaching is a calling and a passion.”

“Kids need someone who will show up for them daily, prepared and willing to go the extra mile,” she explained. “Every day is a new day with a new opportunity to be great.”