Lisa Johnson teaches a 5th/6th grade gifted class at Coyote Trail Elementary. She has been teaching for two decades.
Johnson was born in Phoenix and attended the UofA—she started out as a psychology major. She says her experience as a camp counselor led her to teaching.
“I really enjoyed being in nature and sharing that with the kids,” she explains. Johnson realized that she wanted to continue in a career where she could work with kids and “share my love of learning with them.”
Johnson still loves to learn and to be out in nature. She enjoys hiking and cycling, and she says she is always looking for new ideas and novel ways to teach concepts and make learning fun for her students.
“I am constantly looking for things to bring into the classroom,” Johnson says. She says she strives to create lessons that are “meaningful for the real world.”
Johnson is a bookworm, too. She enjoys reading historical fiction and cites Gary Paulsen and Roald Dahl as two of her favorite authors.Johnson was nominated by students Lauren and Matthew. They note that Johnson is fun and creative, and that she assigns projects that encourage them and their classmates to “think deeper and express our imagination.”
“She lets us take the reins of the classroom and allows us to make decisions. Our teacher is great because she respects us and listens to our opinions to make the classroom a better place for learning,” they write.
Johnson says she tries to get students to push themselves into the “uncomfortable zone.” She urges them to challenge themselves and remember that mistakes offer chances to learn.
“One of the problems gifted students tend to have is they search for perfectionism,” she shares. Johnson hopes to create an atmosphere where students are not afraid to try new things and learn from mistakes.
Johnson says she feels very fortunate in her career. “This is just a great experience for me, to get up every day and work with students and do a job that I love,” she says.