For the Weekly Record Herald
TIPP CITY — The Tippecanoe Educational Endowment named Melissa Johnson as the 2015-2016 Teacher of the Year. As an intervention specialist at Tipp City’s Nevin Coppock Elementary School, servicing students with special needs, Johnson has a genuine love for education, teaching and children.
“She is a true professional who is passionate, dedicated and determined,” Superintendent Dr. Gretta Kumpf said. “She is inspirational and an inspiration especially to the students she serves and their families who frequently refer to her as a blessing in their life. One mother refers to Melissa as a true miracle.”
That mother is nominator Megan Schaurer. She credits Johnson with her son Carson’s progress and transformation. In her nomination letter, she wrote, “Because of Melissa’s instruction, patience and connection to Carson, he can identify all letters, and sounds. He can write words and sentences and read at a beginner level…tasks that might not have been attainable at this point. Melissa has given Carson the confidence he needs to be successful by finding his strengths and using them to help him overcome his weaknesses.”
“As a current teacher myself, I know how difficult this can be, especially when working with children with special needs,” said Schaurer. Johnson also makes time to provide daily communication to parents so that parents have a connection to their children’s school day. She offers “amazing and thought-provoking suggestions to overcome issues that arise.”
Johnson works with more than 20 other children on a daily basis and never loses her focus or smile.
Dr. Kumpf says, “She is a remarkable and devoted teacher who always goes out of her way for her students” and creates a sense of community that makes her students feel included.
“It is such an honor to be recognized for doing what I love,” said a very humbled Johnson.
Other nominees included Deron Brown, high school teacher; Fred Gillenwater, middle school teacher; Pam McCullough, elementary teacher; and Scott Snyder, high school teacher.
Johnson has served as a summer school teacher for 15 years. She runs the Extended School Year Program that helps children with special needs during the summer so that they do not regress. She also teaches Sunday school at her church.