|Horizon remembers Johnson fondly|
|Local Content - Local News|
|Written by Trevor Busch|
|Wednesday, 06 February 2013 18:26|
Regarded by many in the community as an outstanding educator and a visionary leader, former Horizon School Division educator and superintendent Eric Johnson passed away last week following a long battle with a rare form of cancer.
“Eric served the communities within Horizon School Division as one of the finest teachers and visionary leaders many had the privilege of knowing,” said Horizon Supr. Cheryl Gilmore.
“In his role as a teacher, school administrator, and superintendent he never failed to engage everyone with his great sense of humour, sharp mind, and propensity for fun. His time in Taber School Division and subsequently Horizon School Division is marked by his unwavering commitment to putting kids first.”
Born in Taber in 1947, Johnson received his education degrees from the University of Lethbridge and San Diego State University, and started his teaching career in 1972 at W.R. Myers High School.
“Past students and colleagues reflect on his incredible ability to involve students in their learning, keep their interest, and set high standards,” said Gilmore.
“He expected a lot from his students and gave everything that he could in return. He was always involved in student activities outside of class, such as Reach for the Top and student council. An educator who genuinely enjoyed being with students, he had what appeared to be endless energy and abundant enthusiasm.”
Johnson assumed a vice-principal position at Taber Junior High (now D.A. Ferguson) for the 1983-1984 school year, and the following year at W.R. Myers High School.
After three years of being a part of a dynamic administration team with Guy Tetrault, Johnson assumed the principal position in 1987.
“Eric was a highly visible principal known for his classroom ‘walk-throughs’ where he would touch base with staff and students daily,” said Gilmore. “He always had his hand and heart on the pulse of the school caring about collective well-being and individual success.”
Renowned for his participation in assemblies and “pep rallies”, Johnson was game for wrestling in mud and “rolling with the Stones” in air bands.
Johnson became the superintendent of Horizon School Division in 1996 and served for 10 years in this capacity, before retiring in 2006. Johnson remained active in the field of education as a teacher and leader even after his retirement, working with Taber and District Community Adult Learning assisting with pre-apprenticeship training and tutoring. Willing to provide his expertise, he also served a few short-term leaves as a principal and completed contract work with Alberta Education.
“His vision of building a quality system with people who care deeply and make a difference in the lives of students remains with Horizon School Division to this day,” said Gilmore. “Eric was one of the most committed educators imaginable, but it should also be noted that while he served education his family was central to his mind and heart.”
Most recently, Johnson was honoured by Horizon School Division last year when the new board room in the division office was designated as the Eric Johnson Room.
Johnson’s funeral service was held last Friday at the LDS Stake Centre in Taber.
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