Coweta VFW district chooses Johnson as Teacher of the Year


The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) 5th District has named Willis Road Elementary School 5th grade teacher Eve Johnson as its 2014 Citizenship Education Teacher of the Year.

Johnson, who teaches social studies and English, was selected by the both the Coweta County VFW Post 2667 and the Georgia VFW 5th District for the Citizenship Education Teachers’ Award.  The award was presented to Johnson by local VFW Commander Warren Park and other dignitaries at a Willis Road faculty meeting on Dec. 10, said Coweta County School System spokesman Dean Jackson.

“Johnson has taught for 20 years in 4th and 5th grades, originally in Jesup, and for the last nine years at Willis Road,” Jackson said. ”As the district winner, Johnson is a nominee for VFW’s state-level Teachers’ Award in January.”

The VFW’s award recognizes teachers at the elementary, middle and high school levels for an exemplary commitment to teaching American history, citizenship and patriotism to their students. Teachers whose curriculum focuses on citizenship education topics for at least half of the school day in a classroom environment can be nominated. 

Jackson said fellow Willis Road teacher Kelly Zern nominated Johnson for the award. Zern and Johnson co-teach at the east Coweta school, with Zern teaching math and science and Johnson teaching reading and social studies to their 5th grade students.

“She really wants her students to understand the time period they’re studying,” said Zern. “She brings it to life for them.”

Johnson arranges visits by military veterans to discuss their service, or by people who can share first-hand what life was like during World War II. She incorporates social studies lessons across the curriculum, asking students to write letters as a historical persona, for example, or assigning stories or novels that align with the historical era they are studying, said Jackson.
“I see our students go to her class each day and return with a passion for history,” said Zern. 

“I was thrilled by Kelly’s nomination and by the award,” said Johnson.  “As I told the presenters from the VFW, teaching these children about citizenship and the past is one of the most important things I can do in life.  They are our future, our future leaders and fellow citizens. They need to have an idea of ethics and who we are and how we’ve gotten to be the way we are as a nation.”

VFW’s District 5 includes Newnan’s Post 2667 and 15 other chapters across the west central Georgia region, including posts in Columbus, Macon, Peachtree City, Fayetteville, LaGrange, Griffin, and Warm Springs.