This educator spotlight on Ms. Rosalyn Johnson, a current paraprofessional pursuing her goal of becoming a licensed teacher through our Teacher Pathway program, is featured in “Along the Pathway”, our monthly Teacher Pathway newsletter. Each edition features updates regarding the Teacher Pathway program, participant and community partner spotlights, and programming goals our mentees are working towards that will support them in becoming dynamic educators in local classrooms. To receive the newsletter in your inbox each month, please email email@example.com.
Las Vegas native Rosalyn Johnson has been on a life-long mission to make an impact on her community through education. “People from my community already view me as a teacher… Do you know why? Because of all of the compassion and love I show to my students and their families. They recognize my passion and my eagerness to teach their children new things and give them the experiences that I had growing up as a product of the Clark County School District (CCSD), ” says Johnson. As a former employee of the Economic Opportunity Board, a local community action agency committed to eliminating poverty, Ms. Rosalyn began to develop her identity as an educator in her positions as both a teacher’s assistant and later as a classroom teacher.
The importance of equitable access for all students in Southern Nevada is a matter which was close to home for Rosalyn and her family. Her son Kelvin was diagnosed with a learning disability when he was in kindergarten and she soon realized that she would need to advocate for and support him through his educational journey. Armed with the education she received from Early Childhood Education courses at the College of Southern Nevada and her first assignment with CCSD in a Special Learning Development classroom, she committed herself to supporting him in areas where he struggled. In addition to his mother, Kelvin had another educator advocating for him to reach his full potential as a student, his first-grade teacher Mrs. Campbell. Little did Rosalyn know she had a cheerleader in Mrs. Campbell as well. She was the one who suggested that Rosalyn return to school to earn her bachelor’s degree and become a licensed educator. “She was my support and encouragement for most of his elementary school years.” Much like Mrs. Campbell, Rosalyn is determined to always be remembered for her contributions and dedication to her students.
Both Rosalyn and her son Kelvin continued on their journeys in CCSD – him pursuing high school graduation and her striving to achieve her goal of teaching in a classroom of her very own. Seeing her son ultimately transition out of an Individualized Education Plan and graduate with his diploma was an incredible testament to the impact support from educators of all varieties can have on a student. “When working with children with disabilities, I have learned to respect them just like any other child. I have used my knowledge to make special accommodations and modifications when and where they are needed,” says Rosalyn.
When asked what motivates her to bring her best to her students and the learning environments she teaches in every day, Rosalyn shared “I want to create long-lasting and meaningful relationships in my community. The community I come from needs people like me, someone who cares about their children, their livelihood, and positive outcomes.” This approach also allows her to learn from her students as well, which is her favorite aspect of being a teacher.
When she began her career as an educator, she set a goal to ensure a practice of inclusion for every child who comes across her path, no matter their background and abilities. Rosalyn believes her role in a student’s development is to be a cornerstone in their system of support, providing them with the foundation each and every individual child needs to learn and thrive while fostering a strong relationship that connects to that child’s academic and home life.
When asked what advice she would give her peers who are looking to answer the calling to become an educator, but who may have faced challenges and barriers on their journey to do so, Rosalyn provided the following words of wisdom: “When life gives you lemons, create a lemonade stand!!! Collect any resources available to you and run with them. Always use your resources to your advantage.”
The Journey Continues
Though well on her way, Rosalyn knows that her journey continues. “It is essential for me as an educator to have professional development because there are always opportunities to learn something new. When you are required to teach children, you need to be present in all of their experiences, do not pick and choose what parts you want to show up for,” says Rosalyn. One professional development that has been incredibly beneficial to her career has been her participation in the Public Education Foundation’s Teacher Pathway program. “My experience has been wonderful. I have a mentor who cares, listens, and offers good solutions to any issues I may have. Thank you, Public Education Foundation, for your willingness to support educators such as myself.”
We applaud Ms. Rosalyn Johnson for rising to the challenge of being an impactful educator in her community and are excited to see where this journey takes her!