Jessica Johnson, February’s Teacher of the Month has been teaching at Medart Elementary School since August 2003.Ms. Johnson graduated from Flagler College in 2003 with a Bachelor’s degree and went on to earn her Master’s degree from Florida State University. Fortunately for Wakulla County schools, Ms. Johnson decided to return to Wakulla, where she grew up, accepting a second grade teaching position at Medart Elementary. She holds state certification in the areas of Elementary Education, ESOL, and Ed Leadership.
Teaching is more than a job, it is a passion for Ms. Johnson. She takes great pride in facilitating students to be their best. Ms. Johnson shares, “I believe that each and every child should be encouraged on a daily basis. The more students trust and respect their teacher, the more likely they are to succeed. It is crucial to give every child the same opportunities to learn. The moment you see a child ‘get it’ makes this job worth every second.”
Ms. Johnson stays very active in programs outside the classroom as chairperson and teacher for the Camp TEAM after school program, and serves as an active member with Relay for Life, Technology/Computer Lab, Yearbook, and Delta Kappa Gamma sorority.
Medart Principal Sharon Kemp adds, “Jessica Johnson is an exceptional teacher. Her dedication to the education of her students is evident in her careful planning, the materials that she creates, and the clear manner in which she delivers instruction. She has distinguished herself as a leader at Medart Elementary School. Jessica is a very warm and caring person. Her students and colleagues love and admire her. Jessica Johnson is truly a great asset to our school and we are very blessed to have her.”
Karen Amison Sherrod, Wakulla Middle School’s 6th grade teacher, has dedicated 21 years of service to the district and is now the February Teacher of the Month. Growing up and graduating from high school in Apalachicola, Florida she pursued and completed her formal education at the University of South Florida and Florida State University. After graduation, she began her career teaching at Shadeville Elementary then transferred to Wakulla Middle School in 2002. In 1999, Mrs. Sherrod furthered her education earning her Master’s degree and is currently certified in Primary Ed, Elementary Ed, and Middle Grades Integrated.
Mrs. Sherrod feels every day is unique and considers herself the luckiest woman on the face of this earth. She commented, “I recently received an email from a former student, a grown man, which began with ‘Hello to the best teacher in the whole world’ and ended with ‘my second mom.’ It’s for these moments and my children – I teach.”
Principal Mike Barwick adds, “Mrs. Sherrod’s greatest attribute is her genuine care for her students. It’s why she comes to work every day and her students know this. They understand that she cares that they learn to their maximum potential. You can see this every day in her lessons and her daily interactions with their students. Her students know that she will accept nothing less than their best effort every day.”
Colleen Altenburg, Wakulla Educational Center’s Food Service Manager moved to Wakulla after the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina. She began as a food service sub in 2005, and quickly worked her way up through the ranks as a school food service manager in 2011.
Mrs. Altenburg attended school in Wisconsin. She owned and operated her own day care facility for fourteen year. Upon her selection as a Wakulla food service employee she became an active member of School Food Service Association and is currently the president-elect of the association.
Colleen takes pleasure in her job, hearing the laughter of the children, and watching their faces as they try out their independence. Affectionately known as Mrs. C. she shares, “One of the most amusing moments came when a student came into the kitchen with their teacher to ask me a question which was, 'Mrs. C, is that hamburger gravy deer meat? It was good!’ They think they are real big and don’t want your help. Little people… big hearts.”
Food Service Director Gail Mathers adds, “Mrs. Colleen Altenburg worked as the baker and cashier at Medart Elementary School prior to moving into her current position as Cafeteria Manager at WEC. Her up-beat personality and can-do attitude are positive assets that have enabled her to be successful in each position. She is dedicated, organized, and a problem solver. Most impressive is Mrs. Altenburg’s interaction with the children. The children look forward to seeing ‘Ms. Colleen’ every day. She treats each child as if they were her own, sprinkling humor and compassion throughout the lunch line while throwing in a touch of firmness when needed. Recognizing that good habits start young, she goes above and beyond with her beautiful decorations and made from scratch dishes to encourage and excite the pre-school children to eat a variety of items. Mrs. Altenburg has an outstanding work ethic; she genuinely cares about the children and takes pride in knowing that she has had a positive impact in their young lives. The Food Service Department is very fortunate to have an individual of Mrs. Altenburg’s caliber as a part of the team.”
Superintendent David Miller and the Wakulla County School Board applaud the positive influence and genuine commitment these employees bring to the District as well as the passion they display on behalf of the students, schools, the profession of education and communities they serve.