For nearly six decades now Bloomfield Public Schools teacher and reading tutor Sandra Johnson has taught and mentored generations of students.
“Most of my career has been here because, I think Bloomfield has also been innovative it’s given me opportunity to do a variety of career path experiences,” Johnson said.
The now 80 year old works as a reading tutor at Metacomet Elementary school, allowing her to continue the passionate she started when John F. Kennedy was president, classrooms looked a little different and the communities around her were changing.
“At that time we had 30 kids in a classroom we had two and half hours in the day,” Johnson said.
She added, “it was not very integrated as most communities in that time. So over the years by 1960, 1970, there began to be a transition where the town became more diverse”.
The twin daughter of Russian immigrants and 1982 state teacher of the year went on to teach at three schools in the district while finding time to also train student teachers at universities like St. Joseph’s University.
Despite all the changes she has witnessed over the years, one thing has remained the same and that is her belief in the value of education.
“I’ve always felt that children have worth and value, and that parents want their kids to learn,” Johnson said.
She retired in June of 1998 but missed teaching too much and was back by September of that year.
“Everyday I learn something from her on a personal and professional level,” reading consultant Erin Guarino said.
“She is so positive, so welcoming, she doesn’t ever get flustered she is wonderful with all of the students,” principal Jocelyn Poglitsch said.
It is that positive energy the three time breast cancer survivor says keeps her going.
“In saying okay this is what I have, this is what I need to deal. I’m not going to worry about the what ifs, I am going to work with that I have and what the future will hold,” Johnson said.
And if you are wondering when she plans to fully retire, the 80 year old says she is just not there yet but it will probably be in the few years.