A high school English teacher in Salem has been named the Virginia Teacher of the Year.
Andrea Carson Johnson, who teaches 12th-grade English at Salem High School, was honored during a ceremony at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts on Monday.
“I am looking forward to being the ambassador for my school system, for the teachers that I work with, and for all of the teachers of Virginia,” Johnson said. “I tell my students that anything worth doing is worth doing well, and teaching is perhaps the most important thing worth doing well.”
Johnson, a graduate of the University of Virginia and Virginia Commonwealth University, started teaching in Suffolk in 2011. She moved to Salem in 2014, teaching at Andrew Lewis Middle School and Salem High School. Now, she’s exclusively at Salem’s high school and leads the school’s English department.
A committee made up of professional and educational associations, along with the business community, interviewed candidates and chose Johnson as this year’s winner. The announcement was made by Gov. Ralph Northam, first lady Pamela Northam and the state superintendent of public instruction, James Lane.
Last year’s Virginia Teacher of the Year, Rodney Robinson, went on to be named National Teacher of the Year, the third time a Virginia educator has earned the honor.
Johnson is now in the running for National Teacher of the Year. That announcement is expected to be made in the spring.
The other finalists for Virginia Teacher of the Year were:
- Gregory Patrick Lyndaker, a psychology teacher at Henrico High in Henrico County (Region 1);
- Rachel Kathryn Thompson, a Spanish teacher at Princess Anne High in Virginia Beach (Region 2);
- Latasha Marlene Lee, a choral music teacher at Northumberland Middle and Northumberland High in Northumberland County (Region 3);
- Jennifer Renee Rodgers, a social sciences and global studies teacher at Dominion High in Loudoun County (Region 4);
- Amy Marie Mallow, a second-grade teacher at Huddleston Elementary in Bedford County (Region 5);
- Sarah Lea Deel, a science teacher at Marion Senior High in Smyth County (Region 7); and
- Michelle Rae Howell, a special education teacher at LaCrosse Elementary in Mecklenburg County (Region 8).