Position: Eighth Grade Social Studies Teacher
School: Lawrence C. Cross Middle School
School District: Amphitheater School District
City, State: Tucson, Arizona
About the Nominee: Wendy Johnson was nominated by a family member, Susan Manion. This is the second year Ms. Johnson has been nominated for LifeChanger of the Year. She was previously nominated in 2015-16.
Although she is a younger teacher, Ms. Johnson has an incredible legacy. She has her Masters in Marriage and Family Development, which has played a tremendous part in her ability to reach her students at whatever level they are at. She provides a safe place for them, regardless of any outside influences, and she takes each student into her heart, where they stay. Ms. Johnson always tells students to follow their dreams, no matter what. This came to fruition recently when one of her former students wound up in the quarter finals of "America's Got Talent" during this current season. Ms. Johnson had encouraged him while he was in her sixth grade class to follow his passion in music and never give up. Although he did not win the grand prize, he achieved national recognition and a sense of pride with his perseverance and drive. His community is confident that he will continue to sustain his efforts with this achievement. As for Ms. Johnson, she was as proud as she could be, campaigning for votes on Facebook and everywhere else that she could, as well as remaining one of his biggest cheerleaders throughout the process.
Today, Ms. Johnson continues finding unique ways to broaden her students' world by researching and bringing the latest technology into the classroom. She loves her school and feels that she has found her home here, where she is nurtured and encouraged in the same way that she cares for her students. Ms. Johnson is currently working on a fundraising project to get electronic teaching modules for each of her students. To provide a module for each student is expensive, but Ms. Johnson is tackling this challenge relentlessly because she wants her students to have every advantage in this competitive world. So far, she has raised about half of the money needed, and she expects to have enough to buy the program by the end of 2016.
There are many teachers out there who are just as committed to their students as Ms. Johnson, but she is the one closest to Ms. Manion's heart.