At the 2022 State of the School Address on Monday, February 28th, Linda Johnson addressed our ICS Families and informed them that she will be retiring at the end of the 2021-22 school year. Words cannot express how grateful the Faculty & Staff and countless ICS Families of past present are for your 24 years of service at ICS. WE love YOU to the moon and back.
“Once a Warrior, always a Warrior.”
Read her full statement below:
"In the past 13 years, I have spoken for chapels, concerts, award ceremonies, dramas, musicals, and State of the School Addresses. I always feel comfortable talking to my Immanuel family, but I find this speech to be extremely difficult.
From the age of 5 I knew that I wanted to be a teacher. Throughout my educational years, my passion never changed and looking back on my teaching and principal career, I am grateful that the Lord decided to fill my life with chapters of making a difference in the lives of others. Reflecting on 28 years in education, 24 at ICS and 4 at public school in the 70's, my heart is filled with gratitude.
Reading is my passion! Growing up with a librarian as my mother, I learned to love reading at a young age. I enjoy all types of genres, but two of my favorite books are "The Last Lecture" and "Tuesdays with Morrie." Both books are written by men who share their life lessons at the end of their lives. They are short reads filled with exceptional lessons that pertain to the best way to live life! Even though I am not dying or at the end of my life, I am RETIRING. It is my prayer that I have left an imprint during my time at ICS and I don't have to wait until the end of my life to share my secrets.
Because I grew up in a military family, I am familiar with being raised to respect authority. I often tease about growing up with manners and the importance of showing them and that has been my expectation for the students, staff, and members of the school community. At the principal/parent coffee the other morning, one of the parents said that her husband told her that I must have grown up in a military family because of the high standards I hold and how I run the school. I take that as a
compliment and I believe it was meant as such.
Being at Immanuel for 24 years has been the greatest blessing in my life. The ability to teach, mentor, model, instruct and pray for the students each morning and many times during the day has fulfilled a childhood dream. In the book the Last Lecture, the author's central theme is to follow your childhood dream and never allow the brick walls to stop you from achieving what you are called to do. Brick walls pop up in our lives to show us how badly we want something and to what great lengths we will go to get them. I remember telling my parents that I wanted to be a teacher and they felt that maybe I was destined for something greater. A job that made more money or had more prestige was their thinking. . I remember telling them that a teacher has the greatest role in every profession or job there is in the world. They touch the future of children and may never see how it all turns out but they played such a valuable role. . I am so glad that I went with my calling- to teach.
Becoming a Christian at the age of 17 transformed my entire life. My relationship with the Lord became the focal point of how I live my life and the mother, wife, teacher, and principal that I would eventually become. The love that was bestowed on me from the Lord is freely given and has been given day after day in my profession and personal life. I always love first and discipline second. I often say I love with one arm, discipline with the other and bring them in for a hug. The students know I love them because I use their name to bless them and discipline them . Even though I run a tight ship and expect the elementary children to walk in lines quietly through the hallways, the best part of my day is when I am way at the other end of the hallway and they see me and shout out “ Hi Mrs. Johnson, how is your day? Love you.”
We often talk about the curriculum that we use at ICS. I say that the teachers are the curriculum because they bring the written page to life. Yes, we have books and a curriculum we use in each grade level- a plan to follow so that there are no gaps from grade level to grade level. Even more important is the curriculum that sets us apart from other schools - the Bible. It is filled with wisdom and a plan of action to follow for success in life. In the book "Tuesdays with Morrie '', when his student was interviewing him on his deathbed, he asked him if he had regrets. He said, “ Yes, being a professor who writes curriculum on the pages of books, my greatest regret was feeling badly when I didn't get the entire lesson in with my goals and objectives.” He regretted that because he felt the student wouldn't be foundationally ready for the next level. His student responded and said, "I learned more from watching you live then your curriculum."
I have been a recipient of your love, your support, your prayers, your friendship, your generosity, your kindness, and even your judgment, but the most precious thing in life you have given me is your children. I have loved them as my own and that will never change. The tears that have been shed in my office over deaths, divorces, marriages, babies, the victories, and the failures will be forever etched in my memory. Each one of you have played a role in my life at Immanuel Christian School and it has been my honor to play a part in your lives and the lives of your children.
I often quote my favorite scripture as it applies to others and now that it applies to me, it is heartbreaking. Jeremiah 6:16 "Stand at the crossroads, look both ways, ask for the ancient path (God's way), the good way, walk in it and you will have rest for your soul." I began asking when my husband retired two years ago, is it time Lord? No was the answer for the past two years, but when I asked it this year, it was 'It is". My husband has been patiently waiting, my 90-year-old mother and 93-year-old mother-in-law as well look forward to spending time together. I know in my heart I could work until I was 70 years old, but is that what God wants? I can close my fists and do what I want, or I can open my hands, ready to catch- ready to learn about the next chapter, another analogy I use with the children at school.
As of July 1st, my address will no longer be 1201 Hawkins, but my cell phone will not change. So many of you have it! Call it, text it and I will answer...The OLD GUARD may be standing down, but I will never cease praying, loving and encouraging my Immanuel family. I close with familiar words " I love you to the moon and back. "
Much love, Linda Johnson"