Johnson “fell in love” with social work while taking introductory classes at EKU, then when she worked with clients, she said she fell in love with the opportunity to give back through her profession. Her position with Henry County Public Schools is particularly rewarding for her.
“I grew up and I’m from here and I wanted to give back to my community and I also felt comfortable here,” Johnson said. “And starting from my very first day, everybody was very open and welcoming; everyone has been over-the-top nice. And it’s neat to come back to my own high school and work with some of my former teachers and administrators, and even some of my classmates who are now teaching here.”
While Johnson has a specific caseload of students that she works with in each school in the district, she welcomes the opportunity to be an additional resource for students, teachers and parents. Johnson focuses primarily on helping students develop social and emotional skills.
“With elementary students I help them learn more appropriate ways to handle anger and frustration, how to deal with it, and how to better communicate about it when they are feeling angry or frustrated, Johnson said. “For middle and high school students, I’m more of a mentor with them - someone who can relate to them, because I’m not too far removed from their school experience.”
Johnson can also refer students to outside services if needed – for therapy, crisis situations, medication services, as well as out-or in-patient treatment for mental health or addiction. And although she’s only been on the job for a short while, she is already making progress with getting to know her students and their families.
“I just love already the connections and relationships I’m building with the kiddos at the elementary, all the way up to the seniors at the high school,” Johnson said “I think they already see me as a positive influence they can reach out to.”
Johnson said many of the students and families feel like they already know her because of her father, Mark Johnson. Mark was a longtime teacher and coach at Henry County High School, before becoming the principal at Campbellsburg Elementary School, the position from which he recently retired.
“Dad had such a positive impact on so many students, I think they feel like they have some sort of continuing connection with him through me,” Johnson said. “A lot of parents have told me that they are so excited to know I am his daughter, because Dad was a great influence on their kids at school.”
If parents or students would like to speak to Johnson, the best method is by email as she travels between schools each day. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I’m just so happy to be working in the district I grew up in,” Johnson added “It feels like home.”