, Muskogee, OK

March 5, 2013

Irving educator teacher of year

First-grade teacher followed in mother’s footsteps

By Cathy Spaulding
Phoenix Staff Writer

— Time in her mother’s classroom sparked a lifetime of teaching for Irving Elementary School first grade teacher Angela Johnson.

She hasn’t stopped since.

“She teaches in everything she does,” Irving Elementary Principal Kim Fleak said. “There’s not a moment when she’s not teaching. She could be teaching a child in the cafeteria in the way she reminds them in how they act.”

Johnson, 44, faced a pleasant interruption in her teaching Monday afternoon when Muskogee Public School honored her as MPS 2013 Teacher of the Year.

Superintendent Mike Garde and MPS officials walked in on an afternoon awards assembly to surprise Johnson with bouquets of flowers. Johnson’s husband, Greg Johnson, followed with his own bouquet and hugs.

“Oh my God, I’m just overwhelmed,” Angela Johnson said. “It’s a great honor to have my peers choose me for this honor. Muskogee is a large district and we have lots of great teachers here.”

This is the second year in a row a teacher from Irving was named MPS teacher of the year. Irving kindergarten teacher Lisa Lamont was the district’s 2012 Teacher of the Year and was a finalist for State Teacher of the Year.

Johnson has taught at Muskogee Public Schools for 14 years. She spent five years teaching kindergarten at Irving, then five years as reading coach at Cherokee Elementary before returning to Irving four years ago.

“I just love the students here. They’re so loving and caring,” she said. “Every day they great me with a hug. I see to it that I meet them every morning at the door with a smile and a ‘How are you today?’”

Johnson said her mother taught at Hilldale school for 28 years. She said she used to spend time in her mother’s classroom, “helping her get set up.”

“It was a wonderful time,” she said.

After graduating from Hilldale High School, Johnson earned her degree from Northeastern State University. She said she interned for Delphia Webb, a third-grade teacher at Tony Goetz Elementary, whom she called her mentor.

“She taught me about classroom management, how to involve students and how to get along with co-workers,” Johnson said.

Johnson also inspires others.

Grant Foreman Elementary first grade teacher Karen Hixon said Johnson “has a way with children.”

“She’s just an outstanding teacher,” Hixon said. “I’ve stolen a lot of ideas from her.”

“She works nonstop,” Johnson’s husband, Greg Johnson, said. “She stays at school until 4:30 or 5 p.m., then continues on with preparing for the next day. She’s very caring about the kids in her class.”

Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or