JACKSBORO, TN (WLAF) – Eagle Tire Pros salutes one Campbell County educator every week here on WLAF showcasing their outstanding efforts and thanking them for those efforts. We’ve all had that teacher who inspired us or helped in some way knowing that teachers make a difference in students lives each and every day. For many students, having a teacher who cares and goes that extra mile can be the difference in a successful education and graduation.

Jacksboro Elementary School Physical Education instructor Gillian Giffen Johnson is a member of the Milligan University Hall of Fame, Class of 2021.

Not many students have an All-American instructing their Physical Education class, but the youngsters at Jacksboro Elementary School do. Gillian Johnson, a two-time Cross Country All-American at Milligan University, is in her fifth year of teaching, third at JES.

Johnson’s career ended up on a different path than previously planned. Her areas of focus were originally Exercise Science, Exercise Physiology and Cardiac Rehab while graduating from Milligan for her undergraduate degree, and her Masters degree was earned at the University of Tennessee. “There just weren’t a lot of jobs out there,” said Johnson.

To nominate a teacher for teacher of the week honors, please send your nomination to  wlaf@1450wlaf.com 

While coaching cross country and track during college, an observant professor stepped in to offer a career suggestion; teaching school. “I was a little surprised by his observation, but I realized that I do love coaching and kids,” said Johnson.

Gillian Johnson taught her first two years at Valley View Elementary School.

“A door closed, and another opened. I realized God’s plan is more than what I could have imagined,” added Johnson.

The new path took her to LMU to earn her teaching license, and she also met Damon Johnson through mutual friends while participating in the same program at Knoxville, her hometown. He became her husband, and she became a teacher. Damon is from Campbell County, and now, she, he and their two children, Harper and Callum, live at Jacksboro.

Johnson explains that helping kids learn to enjoy movement and physical activity all the while teaching them how it can benefit them is what she likes best about teaching. “There’s a team atmosphere in teaching P.E., and it’s where students learn to get along and work as a team and figure out how to resolve conflicts. I love it,” said Johnson.

 While at Milligan, Johnson was four-time Appalachian Athletic Conference champion and Runner of the Year. 

“Teaching went through a rough stretch (COVID), but teaching is at the core of what we do. I enjoy working in Campbell County Schools where there are so many good teachers and students. There’s a lot of joy in what we do here,” said Johnson.

“I still enjoy running when I get the time, and my family and I are involved with our AWANA program at Mount Paran Baptist Church. I’ve worked hard for my accomplishments, and they have shaped me into the teacher I am today. My faith has too,” said Johnson.

Every Thursday, WLAF’s Charlotte Underwood features the WLAF – Eagle Tire Pros teacher of the week. That educator also receives a free oil change from Eagle Tire Pros. To nominate a teacher for teacher of the week honors, please send your nomination to  wlaf@1450wlaf.com (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 03/09/2023-6AM)