(Stanton) -- Former students of a late, beloved educator are keeping her memory alive with a special award.
Leanne Johnson, a 4th grade instructor at Stanton Elementary School, recently received the Mabel Griffith Excellence in Teaching Award. Johnson is the second recipient of the award named in honor of Mabel Griffith, a teacher in the former Coburg Consolidated School District from 1921 to 1969. Members of the Coburg Historical Association established the award to pay tribute to Griffith, and to honor other elementary teachers for their commitment to students and their profession. A 1996 Stanton High School graduate, Johnson has taught in the district for the past 10 years. She tells KMA News she was surprised to receive the award last week in a presentation during Picture Day.
"My students had just been outside," said Johnson. "We'd been taking pictures, and I was getting on a couple of them about coming back into the room appropriately into the building, and there were people with suits here, and you know, try to act your best. Then, I was kind of giving an earful to a couple of students when they called my name. So, it was pretty shocking, but it was pretty exciting at the same time."
Johnson says her family has connections to the former Coburg district.
"My uncles and aunts went to the Coburg school," she said. "My dad's family kind of lived out in the area. I know some people that went there. Some of the people that came and presented the award, I have some family ties to. It was pretty neat. It's an honor."
Vicki Hume, a 5th grade instructor in the Essex School District, was last year's awardee. A Red Oak School District elementary instructor is expected to be next year's recipient.