Meet 2022 Crystal Apple winner Mark Johnson!
As part of Teacher Appreciation Week, NBC15 is excited to announce our Crystal Apple winners, including Mr. Mark Johnson from Reedsburg! The Crystal Apple award recognizes teachers who touch the lives of students in extra special ways. NBC15 received almost 650 nominations from 164 schools in southern Wisconsin.
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - In Reedsburg, Mr. Johnson is teaching his students skills that will help them for the rest of their lives.
After graduating from Reedsburg High School in 1989, Mr. Johnson started his career as a golf professional. He returned 22 years ago to coach the Reedsburg golf team and started working for Able-Trek tours, helping people with special needs. Then the special education job opened up.
“They said, ‘We know how you coach golf and we know what you can do and would you like it?’ And I said I would love it,” Mr. Johnson said. “They have so many talents that we just don’t let them take advantage of, and their talents are amazing, and so the fact that they get to display them here will hopefully work to where they’re displaying them out in the community.”
“He’s a good teacher. He’s been my pal for... since I came,” Mr. Johnson’s student Skyler McGowan said.
Mr. Johnson takes his students shopping every week. They learn to budget, make meals and do the accounting when the day is done.
Most Fridays for the past three years, Mr. Johnson’s classroom is transformed into a take-out restaurant for staff called “The Tasty Tater.”
“We just started talking abut doing a baked potato and baked potato bar with all the toppings, and we started that three years ago and it was such a success that we ran with it,” Mr. Johnson said. “It’s been great and the staff loves it and it’s a way for my students to interact with the staff.”
The students also make deliveries to teachers in their building and at the district administrative office.
They use some of the money they earn to celebrate their success, like a recent group bowling trip.
Mr. Johnson is also teaching his students to give back. This year, they’re using part of the proceeds from the restaurant to make a $200 donation to Special Olympics.
“It’s gratifying, it’s so gratifying to see them smile, to see something they can do, and to be able to take that and run with that and to know they might use those skills for the rest of their life. That is just it’s more gratifying doing this than any other thing in my life,” Mr. Johnson said.
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