Salem educator named 2020 Virginia Teacher of the Year

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Andrea Carson Johnson

Andrea Carson Johnson, a 12th-grade English teacher at Salem High School, was recently named 2020 Virginia Teacher of the Year during a recognition ceremony at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond.

Johnson was selected from the eight regional winners announced last month and is now the commonwealth’s nominee for 2020 National Teacher of the Year.

Johnson, the Region 6 Teacher of the Year, was named Virginia’s top teacher after being interviewed by a committee that included representatives of professional and educational associations and the business community. Governor Ralph Northam, first lady Pamela Northam and Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane made the announcement.

“I am looking forward to being the ambassador for my school system, for the teachers that I work with and for all of the teachers of Virginia,” Johnson said. “I tell my students that anything worth doing is worth doing well and teaching is perhaps the most important thing worth doing well.”

Johnson began her teaching career in 2011 at Lakeland High in Suffolk. In 2014, she began teaching English at Andrew Lewis Middle. She now teaches exclusively at the high school, where she has served as the chair of the English department since 2017.

She earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Virginia and a Master of Science from Virginia Commonwealth University. She began her career in education at the Airfield 4-H Educational Center in Wakefield, and completed the EducateVA Career Switcher Program through the Virginia Community College System to become a classroom teacher.

As the 2020 Virginia Teacher of the Year, Johnson received monetary awards from Allen, Allen, Allen & Allen law firm, Dominion Energy Services Inc. and other sponsors. She also received a membership to VMFA, educational opportunities from several public and private colleges and universities, tickets to Kings Dominion, flowers from Coleman Brothers Flowers Inc. and Kroger Lombardy, an engraved plaque from Bunkie Trinite Trophies Inc., a gift basket from Sauer’s Brand Inc., overnight accommodations at the Delta Hotels by Marriott Richmond Downtown and an engraved crystal apple.

Regional Teachers of the Year also received gifts from corporate sponsors.

The 2020 National Teacher of the Year will be announced next spring at a White House ceremony. Three previous Virginia teachers — B. Philip Bigler, the 1998 Virginia Teacher of the Year; Mary V. Bicouvaris, the 1989 Virginia Teacher of the Year; and Rodney A. Robinson, the 2019 Virginia Teacher of the Year — went on to be named National Teachers of the Year.


  • Submitted by Charles B. Pyle, Virginia Department of Education Director of Media Relations

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