Sampson Independent

Johnson is the right choice

Chairwoman Linda Brunson and the Clinton City Board of Education did a good day’s work when they selected Dr. Wesley Johnson to be new leader of the school system Wednesday afternoon.

While the deliberations took a while, the outcome rests squarely in the win column for students, teachers and the community, and that translates into a victory for a school board that has found itself in unfamiliar territory of late: on a bitter battleground of personal agendas rather than on solid footing as a cohesive board intent on doing what is right, firstly for children and secondly for staff.

But the unanimous vote for Johnson shows a melding of minds and a renewed determination to find common ground, particularly on things of such great magnitude, like finding the right leader to move a really good school system into the great category.

We believe Johnson has the ability to do just that.

We’ve watched him grow over the last two decades into the superb administrator we believe him to be. We first got a glimpse of Johnson as a high school math teacher down at Union. Students loved him, were drawn to his affable personality and his keen sense of knowledge in the subjects he was trying to excite them about. He did just that, exciting them in such a way that they wanted to absorb the lessons he was teaching.

Much the same could be said of his time at Roseboro-Salemburg Middle School, where Johnson was for four years, before being moved to Hobbton Middle School as an assistant principal. It was there that Johnson cut his teeth on the administrative side of the educational ball, learning from some of the best leaders in Sampson County Schools.

He was so impressive in that administrative job that it didn’t take long for him to move from an assistant to a principal, first at Hobbton Middle and finally at Hobbton High, where he gained the respect of his colleagues and earned the title day after day in the trenches as he worked for students in every way one could imagine.

But we knew Johnson wouldn’t stay at Hobbton High that long. His skills, his personality and his wealth of knowledge were too important to the school system. Then superintendent Dr. Ethan Lenker saw it, too, and eventually moved him into the central office where his growth in the educational field could be used not for just one school but for an entire system.

And Johnson did not disappoint. From his position as director of digital learning to his eventual appointment as an assistant superintendent in the county system, Johnson has proved himself capable of every job he’s been given and an asset to students and staff throughout Sampson County.

We have worked with Johnson on many projects through the years, and we’ve watched him grow. Without doubt we’ve been impressed and have rooted for his advancement from day one.

That’s why news that he was to become the city schools superintendent was so welcomed. We know what he is capable of, and we are thrilled that his capabilities will be used for the good of Clinton City Schools.

We know Johnson isn’t perfect, and we understand that he will make mistakes along the way as he finds his own footing in his first superintendency. But who wouldn’t?

What’s most important is that we know that Johnson will work as hard as anyone possibly can to make Clinton City Schools the best it can be; that he will put the best interest of all students first; that he will give his Board of Education solid advice born out of a wisdom and understanding of students in 2018 and education in an ever-changing climate.

We can’t wait to see him in action.