Reprinted here in its entirety.
Teresa Johnson feels good about her new position as
principal of Pleasant Valley Elementary School — in a way she feels as
though she is closer to her roots.
“Even though I’m new
to Pleasant Valley and I don’t know many people out here, I feel like
this is a good place for me to be because I went to Weaver and my
great-grandparents and my grandmother were from Piedmont,” said
Johnson, who has studied her family’s genealogy. “I feel good about
being here and I’m looking forward to many years.”
At the June 19
Board of Education meeting, the Calhoun County School Board approved
Johnson’s appointment as principal. Though she doesn’t officially begin
her job until July 1, she was at her new school the very next day.
Calhoun County Superintendent Judy Stiefel joined her on her first trip.
felt I needed to go out and go with her to the school,” said Stiefel.
“I had talked to the bookkeeper the day before and mentioned we were
coming and she said, ‘Would you like for me to let some of the teachers
know?’ and I said yes, that it would be great for some of them to meet
her. We walked into the media center and there were 50 folks. There
were teachers, there were aides, there were custodians, the president
of the PTO and his wife were there. I felt like that showed that that
school is the supportive school we knew it to be.”
believes Johnson’s warm welcome is a sign of healing at the school,
given the tension after the school board’s March decision to
discontinue then principal Susan Gaines’ contract.
Johnson felt very welcomed by the group and looks forward to working with them for many years.
coming in to a good situation,” she said of the school’s high test
scores and academic excellence. “It’s not like I’m having to go in and
fix things, it’s just like I’m having to come in and help the school
continue to do well and maybe help them do some of this healing and
A desire to serve in administration developed in
Johnson over the past several years. She has spent the past two years
at White Plains Elementary as the assistant principal. Though she has
always loved being in the classroom with children, she feels
administration is where she is needed. There, she can help the school
improve and grow, while still being a part of the lives of her students.
do feel like you are stretching out your hands and you’re able to be
more involved with children’s lives and teachers and community members.
It just broadens it,” she said.
Johnson received her bachelor’s
in elementary education from Jacksonville State University in 1990. Her
master’s in elementary education came from the University of Alabama in
1995, and last year she received an education specialist degree in
educational leadership from JSU.
Continuous learning is important to her, and she plans someday to continue on and earn her doctorate.
began her time at JSU after a junior-year transfer from Lipscomb
University in Nashville where she had met her husband, Alvin. The two
have been married for 22 years and have a son, Randy, who is now a
student at JSU.
Her time spent in the classroom as a student has
given her tools needed to teach other teachers. Reading is particularly
important to her and when the Alabama Reading Initiative began, she was
chosen as one of the first trainers, presenting the plan to other
teachers around the state.
She and her family currently live in
Oxford, but she hopes to move closer to her new job next summer, once
the hectic pace of her first year on the job is past and she is able to
take the time.
“My mother lives in Alexandria. I am a Calhoun
County girl,” said Johnson. “I don’t want move and take on this new
job. Maybe next summer.”
About Jennifer Bachus
Jennifer Bacchus is a staff writer at The Jacksonville
News. She can be reached at 256-435-5021 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
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