CCA assistant principal earns Patriot Award

Jessica Schladebeck

When Samantha Johnson learned one of the high school teachers she worked with was going to be deployed overseas, she did everything in her power to help him prepare.

Johnson, a York Haven resident who serves as the assistant principal of the statewide cyber charter school, Commonwealth Connections Academy, was recently recognized by The Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, an office of U.S. Department of Defense with its Patriot Award. The award is earned by those supervisors who offer outstanding support for their employees serving in the National Guard.

Johnson was nominated by high school social studies teacher Daniel Kysela, who also serves as a specialist first class with the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. She said she never wanted Kysela, who is currently serving overseas and will be for the next year, to worry for his job.

"I'm just so very grateful to those who choose to serve our country," she said. "Those men and women should not be awarded with a fear of unemployment, they should not have to face any kind of insecurity in that regard."

Support: Kysela, who teaches students in grades 9 through 12, also teaches elective classes in criminal investigations and homeland security and supervises the academy's National Honor Society, where he often directly connects with his students.

"Here it will have a direct impact on our students," Johnson said, noting Kysela would drive to different offices to have face-to-face meetings with the honors pupils.

"He had the opportunity to speak with some of the people who are taking over his duties," she said. "We also made it clear that these positions were temporary because when Daniel does come back, we want him to resume his work here."

In addition to covering Kysela's role on a temporary basis, Johnson said she also tried to alleviate any type of concern he may have had prior to leaving.

"There’s a great deal of stress that’s associated with being active duty," she said. "I just wanted to work with him and allay some of his fears. I wanted to offer the assurance that we trust and believe in him as an upstanding citizen, and we want to celebrate and reward him and all those who serve."

To reinforce that support, Dr. Maurice “Reese” Flurie, CEO at Commonwealth Connections Academy, signed the ESGR’s “Statement of Support for the Guard and Reserve,” which states the academy's commitment to serving its military employees and families.

Jim Astor of the ESGR presents Assistant Principal Samantha Johnson with the Patriot Award

“Our school fully supports our colleagues who serve in the military,” Flurie said in a press release. “We find that Guard members, reservists and veterans make excellent employees. We are proud to have them working at CCA.”

— Reach Jessica Schladebeck at