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Students Thank, Recognize WHS Teacher

In their time teaching and mentoring, many educators develop special bonds with students. No teacher is a greater example of this than Waller High School (WHS) UIL Academic Coordinator Scotty Johnson. After years of teaching, a group of seniors wanted to give a special thanks to Johnson for all his work and passion in helping them grow. Class of 2021 graduates William Misak, Cole Holladay, Julian Juarez, Kathy Castillo, Jenny Chiem, Anna Sherar, Ingrid Machuca, and Ashton Steffey collaborated to honor Johnson.

“A lot of us have met Mr. Johnson as early as elementary school,” Holladay said. “So he has been part of our lives for a really long time. Once we got to high school that connection grew and is by far one of the best things I’ve experienced. He works so hard every day.”

Johnson joined Waller ISD (WISD) in 1999 and focused on building the best UIL Academic program in the state. Many students were first introduced to Johnson through various Advanced Academic programs such as UIL, Odyssey of the Mind, and Academic Pentathlon. At first, Johnson was the only academic coach and instructed students in every UIL event. Since then, many WHS teachers have volunteered their time to become UIL coaches including Brittany Ortega, Tyler Sullivan, Melanie Miller, and Nicholas Reichert. In his time, Johnson has led WHS UIL in winning six District sweepstakes, 101 individual District championships, 79 team District championships, four individual State Championships, and three team State Championships.

“We are very fortunate to have Mr. Johnson,” Principal Stephanie Fletcher said. “He doesn’t like the spotlight but he is the students’ biggest cheerleader and always celebrates them.”

In recalling the impact Johnson had on their lives, many students remembered moments where he went to great lengths to support and encourage them.

“When the pandemic first hit, Mr. Johnson organized a parade where he and the other UIL coaches went to each of our houses just to cheer us on and deliver our UIL t-shirt,” Holladay said. “We didn’t even compete that year because of COVID and a lot of us were struggling but that was a huge light in my life at that point.”

The last two school years, Johnson also taught Computer Science. While teaching remotely, he went above and beyond to help students learn the material, including answering emails at 3 a.m. 

“There were a lot of kids who were struggling with the program and Mr. Johnson would go to their houses to tutor them, drop off learning material, and help in whatever way needed,” Juarez said.

Johnson’s enthusiasm is known among UIL teams across the state. Several UIL coaches and students from other schools know of his reputation and request to meet him at competitions.

“From a fellow coach, just watch him work one day and you have all the inspiration you need to do anything in life,” Sullivan said. “He gives me inspiration every day to try a little harder.”