Peggy Johnson accompanies students in her classroom at St. Rose School in Northeast Portland. Johnson has been a teacher since 1971 and recently was lauded as educator of the week by K103 radio and Concordia University. (Courtesy St. Rose School)
Peggy Johnson accompanies students in her classroom at St. Rose School in Northeast Portland. Johnson has been a teacher since 1971 and recently was lauded as educator of the week by K103 radio and Concordia University. (Courtesy St. Rose School)
On Jan. 5, the third- grade teacher at St. Rose School in Northeast Portland, Peggy Johnson, was honored as educator of the week by K103 radio and Concordia University. The Catholic school veteran has taught since 1971, spending her first year at St. Peter School, the next 14 at St. Charles and the rest at St. Rose School (formerly Archbishop Howard School).

Johnson thrives on seeing children help others, setting them up with a foundation in service. Her third-graders lead an annual food drive for St. Vincent de Paul — singing songs that encourage donations in every classroom. Later, they coordinate a clothing drive for Northwest Children’s Outreach, culminating in a field trip to help sort donations and learn how the operation works. Within the span of a school year, St. Rose third-graders visit Providence Child Center several times to share time and friendship with medically fragile youths. 

Music drives home much of Johnson’s third-grade curriculum. “We sing nearly every day — patriotic songs, songs for math, science, social studies, seasons, holidays and faith. When the class breaks out in song on their own, my own heart just sings.”

Every year, third- and fourth-graders put on a musical for the school, as well as for friends and family.

“What I love about Peggy is her genuine warmth and love for all her students — and her great ability to find what is special about each student and then tirelessly work to bring it out,” said Ralph Nelson, artist in residence. “Her classroom is full of music, full of ideas, full of learning and frankly a fun place for everyone.”