Virginia Assocation of Journalism Teachers & Advisers

JEA Names Chantilly Principal Adminsitrator of the Year

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PRESS RELEASE:

JEA HONORS JOHNSON WITH JEA ADMINISTRATOR OF THE YEAR AWARD

August 27, 2014

The Journalism Education Association has named Teresa Johnson of Manassas, Virginia, the 2014 JEA Administrator of the Year Award honoree. JEA presents this award to school administrators who have modeled support of scholastic journalism. Johnson will be recognized Nov. 8 at the JEA/NSPA Fall National High School Journalism Convention in Washington, D.C.

Johnson met the criteria for the honor while serving as both a vice principal and for the past three years as principal of Chantilly (Virginia) High School.

“As principal she has been a model of support for the First Amendment rights of student journalists,” wrote nominator Mary Kay Downes, MJE, the school’s yearbook adviser. “She meets regularly with the editors of all programs and they know she is behind them all the way. She has made it clear both inside and outside of the building that there is no prior review conducted at Chantilly High School. As FCPS (Fairfax County Public Schools) is the 11th largest school district in the nation, her support is an important model to our other high schools of the importance of journalism.”

Chantilly has more than 300 staff members under Johnson’s guidance. As assistant principal she oversaw the English Department, which includes the largest number of journalism sections in the district. She also has a strong background in special education.

“She gets it,” journalism teacher Bretton Zinger, MJE, wrote. “She gets why students should be given the freedom and power to make decisions. She gets why it is a bad idea for administrators to step in as ‘the adults,’ as if they are qualified and educated enough to make content decisions over publications they do not advise, just as it would be a bad idea for them to step onto the football field and call some plays. She simply gets it.”

Founded in 1924, JEA supports free and responsible scholastic journalism by providing resources and educational opportunities, by promoting professionalism, by encouraging and rewarding student excellence and teacher achievement, and by fostering an atmosphere which encompasses diversity yet builds unity. It is headquartered at Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas.

In March of 2014, SIPA named Johnson their administrator of the year.  You can view her acceptance speech here.

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