Educator of the week

Sonya Johnston 
Second Street Elementary

Los Angeles Unified School District
Favorite Subjects to teach: All Subjects

Passionate and devoted towards developing the future wave of technical talent, Ms. Sonya Johnston has been a proud teacher at Second Street Elementary school for the past 28 years. Since an early age, Ms. Johnston’s interests were drawn towards education, discovering her passion for education through one of her everlasting role models. "My 5th grade elementary teacher was my inspiration, she made learning fun and I still remember the things we did in class."

Ms. Johnston pursued her teaching preparation through her high school and college years. She attended and graduated from California State University, Los Angeles and Grand Canyon University. When asked why she chose to become a teacher, she cheerfully replied, "I loved learning and helping students and others learn,” something that she continues to implement every day. Like many educators, Ms. Johnston is constantly looking for new and exciting ways of inspiring and motivating her students towards a brighter future, expressing the importance of learning through experience and dialogue.

One valuable resource that the educators at Second Street Elementary utilized was a science lab that allowed students to learn about science and math in a fun and exciting way. Unfortunately, due to difficult times, there were no more funds available to continue to run the lab, and their science center was disbanded. However, Sonya witnessed first-hand the impact the lab had on the students and decided that it would be up to her and her fellow colleagues to continue this momentum in a different way. With the help of her fellow 5th grade teachers, they decided to try and continue the excitement with an annual science fair. Since then, Second Street Elementary has been organizing and implementing their annual science fair for the past 12 years.

In addition to her great work at Second Street Elementary, Ms. Johnston has served as a teacher ambassador for Great Minds in STEM™ and the STEM-Up™ initiative for the past six years. In 2011, she participated in the first STEM-Up™ Elementary School Teacher Summer Workshop. Through that workshop, she was able to gain various resources and techniques that have assisted her and the school in continuing their goals of exciting students about math and science. “For the past two years, we have added a new project for our students that involves building houses out of newspaper, providing valuable teamwork and problem solving experiences.”

This year, Ms. Johnston is focused on improving and expanding the science fair at her beloved school, and continue to implement their paper house building project. Additionally, her goals are to continue to find additional ways to get students involved in activities that promote ways for them to think about careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

During her spare time, Ms. Johnston enjoys implementing some of her favorite hobbies which include reading and learning about genealogy.

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