Vaile Elementary Schools’ Tori Johnson wins RCS Teacher of the Year

RICHMOND, Ind. — Tori Johnson kept her head low as she took her turn to be recognized May 3 at Richmond Community Schools’ 25th-annual Celebration of Excellence.

A fourth-grade teacher at Vaile Elementary School, Johnson was one of 10 teachers representing their respective schools as finalists for the RCS District Teacher of the Year Award.

‘A very reluctant winner’:Richmond native Sharita Ware named Indiana Teacher of the Year

She stood to the side and listened as RCS Interim Chief Human Resources Officer Aleasia Stewart read one of Johnson’s letters of recommendation to Civic Hall’s packed crowd. Words like “committed,” “inspiring” and “purposeful” were rattled off, and the letter ended describing Johnson’s smile as “contagious.”

That smile was a little sheepish as the crowd applauded her, almost as if she felt she didn’t deserve to be there.

She listened to a few more teacher introductions before the climax of the evening. Johnson still had that self-conscious look on her face as Stewart made the announcement. Then, her jaw dropped.

“The RCS 2022 District Teacher of the Year is Tori Johnson.”

Vaile Elementary teacher Tori Johnson's jaw drops after learning she won the Richmond Community Schools Teacher of the Year Award May 3, 2022, at RCS' 25th-annual Celebration of Excellence.

She couldn’t believe it. Even as her colleagues congratulated her and everyone in attendance gave her a near minute-long standing ovation, her jaw was still on the floor. She was still speechless when she sat back down, so Stewart said something for her.

“Tori says ‘Thank you’ by her expression.”

Related:Richmond Business Professionals of America students prepare for national competition

Leave a Comment