NEW BUFFALO — New Buffalo Elementary’s Erica Johnson has been selected as SHAPE Michigan Elementary Teacher of the Year.
NBES Principal Adam Bowen revealed the award during the school’s Monday, Nov. 9, morning announcements. SHAPE stands for Society of Health and Physical Educators.
“We always knew this teacher was special and that was really great at what she does, but now she has that official title,” he said. “On behalf of New Buffalo Elementary I would like to congratulate Mrs. Johnson who has been named the Michigan SHAPE Elementary Teacher of the Year.”
Bowen also thanked fifth-grader Massimo Mancini for helping him with the application process that led to the honor.
Appearing via the Zoom announcement, Johnson gave credit to “the kids and the staff I work with.”
“I am blessed to come here to work and teach all of you and work with all of you,” she said.
Bowen said Johnson will be recognized at the virtual (via Zoom) SHAPE Michigan awards ceremony set for 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 19.
“When you see Mrs. Johnson this week, please be sure to congratulate her. This is a very special award and only one teacher in the whole state of Michigan is chosen each year for this distinguished honor.,” he said.
Bowen said New Buffalo Elementary pupils are lucky that Johnson shares her knowledge in the area of physical education every day.
“She provides fun, exciting and engaging activities that promote physical and healthy choices for you,” he said, later adding that Johnson has a positive attitude and “truly lives the way that she teaches all of you to be.”
“We are very proud of the work that Erica does and look to making the Elementary Teacher of the Year Award to her,” SHAPE-Michigan Executive Director Dr. Debra S. Berkey stated in a release on the award. “We hope to ‘see’ you on November 19 in a few short weeks.”
New Buffalo Area Schools Superintendent Dr. Jeff Leslie praised Johnson for her “very well-deserved” honor during the Nov. 9 Board of Education meeting, later noting “she’s even got me eating better.”
“The kids love her, she does an amazing job, just very creative, very high-energy,” he added.
Johnson thanked the school board and district administration “for providing the resources that I’ve had here at New Buffalo.”
“It’s amazing to work here.”
She also gave credit to “my principal” (Bowen) for “inspiring me to be great.”
Leslie also said New Buffalo Elementary School is slated to officially be recognized as a National Blue Ribbon award recipient during a Zoom ceremony on Friday, Nov. 13.
Also during the Nov. 9 meeting, the Board of Education:
• Voted to employ Noah Sharum (a 2018 New Buffalo High School graduate) in the position of Computer Technician, pending background approval.
Leslie said Sharum did a lot of repairs and troubleshooting for the technology department when he was a high school student.
• Approved the following winter coaching assignments: Jason Haskins, Middle School Basketball (boys); Nathan Jones, Middle School Basketball (boys); Nathaniel Tripp, Varsity Basketball (boys); Karen Muckey-Martinez, Varsity Cheer; Scott Syme, Varsity Basketball (girls); Jason Haskins, Middle School Basketball (girls); Jessica Conrad, Middle School Basketball (girls).