Figure 1Johnson Family - Corey & Stephen Johnson with Ruby & Roxy

by Newport Public Schools

The Newport Public School District announced its 2020-21 Teacher of the Year with a surprise visit at its virtual end of the year high school faculty meeting. The recipient of this honor, Corey Johnson, is a Technology and Music teacher at Rogers High School. 

Diane Sheehan, Supervisor of the Arts at Newport Public Schools nominated Corey Johnson for this honor stating,  “It’s a very simple premise. Corey Johnson inspires all students to learn. She uses creative ways to make learning accessible to her students with compassion. Corey makes everyone feel special, never doubting their success.” 

Newport Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Colleen Burns Jermain remarked “Congratulations to Corey Johnson – her spirit, talents, and drive to always give her best to her students is outstanding and makes her “one of a kind”. We are so fortunate to have her in the Newport Public Schools’ family. Go, Corey!”

Kimberly Behan, Ed.D., Assistant Superintendent and Chair of the Newport Teacher of the Year selection committee commented, ” The Teacher of the Year Committee were thrilled to move Corey forward as the Newport 2021 Teacher of the Year.  Corey has been instrumental as one of Newport’s Technology Leads in supporting professional development with distance learning.  Corey’s patient, creative, and nurturing style was a perfect fit to support the educators with the latest research to make instruction engaging.”

Jared Vance, Rogers High School Principal remarked “Corey is an amazing educator who is compassionate  and conscientious. She represents Rogers High School and the entire Newport School Community well. I am thrilled for Corey to receive this honor!”

The District Teacher of the Year (DTOY) role has been expanded to provide more opportunities for DTOYs to share their expertise, participate in the DTOY selection process at the district level, form collaborative learning communities with fellow DTOYs, and honor their success in an effort to inspire other educators.

The 2020-2021 DTOY Roles include: present and/or attend the Fall Educator Achieving Excellence Conference; Participate as a panel member in the district’s selection of the 2020-2021 DTOY; Serve in leadership role(s) representing educators within the district; Participate in the Senior Pinning ceremony at the district to honor senior students who have been accepted to approved RI education programs; Attend an all-day DTOY cohort professional learning session with a leadership staff member; Serve as a mentor for the district’s 2021-2022 DTOY; Contribute a blog entry to the Commissioner’s weekly Field Memo and the RIDE website;  Attend Award ceremony and reception at the Educator Recognition WaterFire Celebration; Engage in DTOY professional development and leadership training cohort;  Network with other DTOYs  and veteran TOYs through social media (Twitter chats, Facebook groups) and other engagement sessions.  Additional opportunities include, apply to be the 2022 State Teacher of the Year; apply to represent Rhode Island to be the National Teacher of the Year and present on area/topic of expertise at local/state workshops and/or conferences.

Corey will be recognized and honored at the Newport Public Education Foundations’s An Evening for Education, currently planned for Friday, September 18, 2020 at Sail Newport. Corey will be also be recognized with other 2020-2021 Teachers of the Year at Rhode Island Department of Education’s Educator Water Fire Recognition Event, Saturday, October 17, 2020.

Having a dual certification as a Technology and Music teacher at Rogers High School in Newport Rhode Island since September 2004, Corey Johnson presently is part of the Technology Integration Team where she is a Tech Lead.  This requires coordinating and leading the district professional development in supporting technology and integration at Rogers High School as well as the entire School District acquiring input on grants, curriculums, and all programs.

With Corey’s vast knowledge base of technology she is able to offer her Music Production 1 and 2 courses, a designed program and curriculum in a digital arena combining music and computer skills. In addition, she is teaching the Essentials of Computer Technology students, exposing them to the entire gamut of basic computer operations, components, functions, processing, and software applications relevant to students’ lives.  Corey’s career began in 2004 when she taught general music at the elementary level and transitioned quickly to teaching courses in everything from Guitar, Chorus, Ukulele and Popular Music in the upper grades.

When Corey Johnson is not teaching Music Production classes or Technology courses, you often find her communicating with colleagues taking on positions of leadership within the district such as professional development sessions. Especially during the COVID19 epidemic, sending the district into quarantine and questioning how the steep learning curve of online learning was to be accomplished, Corey’s far-reach in helping other educators as well administrators who needed to understand the latest research served truly as an ambassador from students to educators.

Corey Johnson in every sense of the word has earned respect and admiration by serving as a role model for her students and always having the best interests of students in her mind. When dealing with Newport’s diverse and vibrant school population, Corey took it upon herself to single handedly learn Spanish so she was able to communicate with students on a one-to-one basis, understanding their needs and instruction.

Corey and her husband, Steve, who is also a music teacher and musician, have two children. Once again, Congratulations to Corey Johnson on being Newport’s 2020 Teacher of the Year.

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