Claes Nobel Educators of the Year
NSHSS is pleased to highlight our 2013 Claes Nobel Educators of the Year, presented to ten exemplary educators who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to preparing students for success in college and in life. These ten educators are among NSHSS’s student-nominated Claes Nobel Educators of Distinction program that recognizes educators who model best practices in teaching, are a positive influence for students and peers, and who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and excellence in education, as well as community engagement. Since the inception of the Educators of Distinction program in 2004, NSHSS has recognized more than 38,000 educators worldwide.
Ms. Erin Johnston
Social Studies Educator
South Caldwell High School, Hudson, NC
Ms. Erin Johnston was recently honored at the NSHSS member event held at The Carter Center in Atlanta as one of the 2013 Top Ten Claes Nobel Educators of the Year. In addition to teaching AP Psychology, AP European History, Honors World Cultures, and Freshmen Seminar, Ms. Johnston has also served as the Social Studies Curriculum Coordinator, Varsity Girls’ Tennis Coach, Prom Coordinator, and Homecoming Director. Ms. Johnston serves as the faculty advisor for Model UN and the Student Council. Having experience in volunteering abroad, social justice initiatives, and multimedia educational engagement, Ms. Johnston has also presented at multiple conferences such as the Southeastern Association of Educational Studies Conference, the North Carolina Council for Social Studies Conference, and the Appalachian State University International Outreach Program. Ms. Johnston has a Master of Arts in Economics and Entrepreneurship Education from the University of Delaware, a Master of Arts in Political Science from Appalachian State University, and she is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Leadership Studies from North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University.
After a poverty stricken childhood, Ms. Johnston’s teaching philosophy is rooted in the “transformative power of education.” Ms. Johnston creates an atmosphere that magnifies positivity and diminishes negativity. She strives to establish a nonjudgmental environment in which students are comfortable being themselves. Aware that teacher-student relationships are commonly some students’ only positive adult interaction, Ms. Johnston believes “the greatest thing we can do as educators is to let students know we genuinely care and to empower them to believe they are capable of more than they think.”
Ms. Johnston’s nominating student writes, “Ms. Johnston is the most amazing woman I have ever met. She does so much for not only our community, but for the world, and of course, her students. She is always there when you need someone to talk to, but she will also tell you exactly how it is. She is awesome!” Another one of Ms. Johnston’s student’s writes, “You care in a world that doesn’t. You reach in a world that doesn’t. You live fully in a world that doesn’t. You believe in something in a world that doesn’t... people see you. They’ll remember people like you, people who would move a mountain for what they stand for.”