Salem High School teacher named Virginia Teacher of the Year

SALEM, Va. (WDBJ7) - An English teacher in one hometown is back in the classroom with a new title – Virginia Teacher of the Year.

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The hallways of Salem High School were full of happy dances and hugs as students and staff congratulated Andrea Johnson.

“You could just hear it all throughout. I was in history and we were still cheering," high school senior Diara White said.

The students celebrated when they learned the news Monday, but had to wait to congratulate Johnson until she returned to the classroom two days later.

"She's just a great teacher, just great," senior Tyler Williams said.

“I'm so excited, overwhelmed, nervous, joyful, all of the feelings at once," Johnson said.

Johnson has been teaching English to seniors for six years. Students said she is a legacy in the hallways; everyone wants to be enrolled in her class.

"Everyone knows that Ms. Johnson is awesome. Even if you're a freshman and you haven't had her yet, you want her," White said.

Hands-on activities and enthusiasm help Johnson bring her curriculum to life.

“She just like brings that energy to the classroom, where it's like you're in there and you're learning," Williams said.

It's a passion inspired by the young minds she teaches.

"I told them this morning, I shine because I love what I do with them. They make me shine. I want to get better every day for them," Johnson said.

Johnson is excited to be a voice for teachers in the Commonwealth.

"I'm just one of many amazing teachers in this building so I'm excited to bring the spotlight not only to what I’m doing but we're doing here at Salem City Schools," Johnson said.

Johnson will go on to compete for the National Teacher of the Year title for 2020. She will be up against teachers from all 50 states, U.S. territories, D.C. and the Department of Defense Education Activity.

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