Associate teachers at Madison HS, Ross ES recognized

Miguel Garcia thought he was in trouble.

As he heard his name over the all-school announcement at Madison High School on Thursday morning, followed by a “please come to the front office immediately,” Garcia assumed the worst.

But the real reason behind the announcement was that he was named the Achieve 180 Dedicated Associate Teacher of the Month for May.

“It sounded so serious, and I thought ‘Oh, what have I done now,’” Garcia said. “But it’s an honor, and I am so thankful to be a part of the family here at Madison High School.”

Garcia has been a Dedicated Associate Teacher at Madison for two years, and Principal Carlotta Brown said he is dedicated to the school in more ways than one.

“We don’t think of him as a sub, we think of him as a teacher around this school,” Brown said. “He does everything that is asked of him. He volunteers, he’s really focused, he works with our band, he works with our students. We love him.”

Earlier that morning at Ross Elementary School, Larita Johnson got her own surprise as the Associate Teacher of the Month for May. The retired teacher worked in the classroom for 32 years, many of them at Ross Elementary, before serving as an Associate Teacher. Now, according to Principal Treasure West, she is a vital part of that campus.

“[Students] love having her around and we love having her around,” West said. “The culture of our school would not be the same without her. No matter the assignment she gets, she handles each one with grace.”

Known for “giving 100 percent” in everything she does, Johnson has taught generations of Ross Elementary students. Many of her students today are the children of people she taught in the past. For her part, Johnson is just glad to be a part of the Ross Elementary community.

“I’m just so excited and so, so surprised,” she said. “I will treasure this forever.”