Tuesday, May 09, 2017

EDITORIAL >> Jim Johnson left big legacy

Former Jacksonville High School Principal Jim Johnson, 68, passed away April 28 in Rogers, where he was assistant superintendent of secondary education for many years. Johnson then worked for the Arkansas Department of Education, training and consulting educators throughout the state.

Most of us remember him as the towering principal (in more ways than one) at Jacksonville High School from 1984 until 1994. He was only 36 when he became principal, and he made a difference in the lives of thousands of students. As his family wrote in Johnson’s obituary, “He cherished his time as a Red Devil. He was dedicated to serving and mentoring his faculty and ‘kids.’”

He was also director of secondary education in the Pulaski County Special School District from 1994 until 2002, when he was assistant superintendent for eight years.

Jim Johnson was old school. He was born in Memphis to a family of modest means. He made you feel you were a valued member of society, either as a student, faculty member, neighbor or friend. He loved his family, he enjoyed life and believed in a solid education to prepare young people for productive lives.

He was proud of his many successes at Jacksonville High School and was happy to share them with The Leader. He loved Jacksonville and asked to be buried here.

The family has set up the Jim Johnson Memorial Scholarship fund to be given each year to a graduating senior at Jacksonville High School who will go into the field of education. Donations can be made at First Arkansas Bank and Trust.

What a fitting honor for a wonderful educator whose legacy lives on in the lives of thousands of graduates all over Arkansas.