Government and social studies teacher Joshua Johnson inspires and transforms the lives of his students at Oakland Junior High School.
For that, he was awarded as the Teacher of the Year in a surprise presentation Tuesday morning.
In Publishers Clearing House fashion, Sam’s Club officials surprised Johnson in his classroom with a $1,000 check for his school or classroom and a $50 gift card to the store for personal use.
Johnson said he was shocked and a bit stunned when he found out he was selected as the teacher of the year because he was not aware he had been nominated.
He is excited about the $1,000 check that will go toward Oakland.
“We plan on using it for our social studies department, perhaps to buy supplies or materials,” Johnson said.
“I believe you have to connect with students first and support them as much as you can,” Johnson said. “I also believe you have to put forth a great deal of time and passion into your teaching — students are smart enough to know if you care.”
Peter Laguna, the store’s business manager, said store patrons were invited to nominate a teacher by filling out a form and dropping it in the store’s ballot box.
Joan Drake, the mother of two of Johnson’s students, nominated him because she said he motivated students to become great learners and turned around their desire to learn, Laguna said.
Johnson also is eligible to apply for the Sam’s Club state teacher of the year award.
“Her nominating me is the nicest thing a parent has done for me,” Johnson said. “She has raised two wonderful daughters, and I can’t begin to thank her enough for her act of kindness.”