During their second week of school, students in Karen Johnson’s classroom learned about the world from the outside looking in. To get a better …
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During their second week of school, students in Karen Johnson’s classroom learned about the world from the outside looking in.
To get a better understanding of how the earth’s atmosphere works, Johnson, a sixth-grade science and engineering teacher at STEM Magnet Lab School, helped her students create their own three-dimensional biosphere.
Those who know Johnson and the hands-on-approach she has brought into her Adams 12 Five Star Schools classrooms for 22 years, said it comes as no surprise that she was selected as a finalist for the 2013 Colorado Teacher of the Year Award.
“She just builds this collaborative community where everyone is a participant and valued by what they put into the group,” STEM Magnet Lab School Principal Penny Eucker said. “It’s not about her, even though she’s the mastermind and facilitator. Every student feels they are somehow critical to the classroom.”
Lynn Bamberry, Colorado Department of Education competitive grants and awards director, said Johnson is one of four candidates being considered for the award. A committee of representatives from several statewide education organizations and institutions narrowed the field of 30 nominees last month. Although a final determination will not made until late October, Eucker said she is confident Johnson will come out on top.
When the Colorado Department of Education asked Eucker if she endorsed Johnson’s nomination, she said, “If she does not win, there’s not justice in this world.”
“Even though she has this huge dimension in the external world, when she walks into a classroom of her own students, she makes every minute count,” Eucker said. “You see this bright energy in every one of her students that come into her classroom because they know it’s going to be amazing.
Johnson said she did not anticipate receiving the Colorado Teacher of the Year distinction.
“I’ve been teaching for a long time, and I guess I feel confident in what I’m doing. But looking at the caliber of that, I was surprised that I would have been chosen for being a finalist for the award,” Johnson said.
This is not the first time an Adams 12 teacher has been recognized as Colorado Teacher of the Year. Two years ago, Holstrom Option K-8 teacher Michelle Pierson received the award.
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