Northeastern teacher honored as 'tireless advocate' for school music

Northeastern strings and orchestra teacher Brenda Johnson was chosen as the York County winner for the Teacher Impact Awards, highlighting exemplary teachers for more than a decade.

A Northeastern teacher, chosen for her "tireless" advocacy for school music, is York County's winner for the annual Teacher Impact Awards.

For more than a decade, York City-based Rotary District 7390 has awarded teachers in its seven counties for their dedication to students and the community.

“We believe that teachers, especially the top excellent teachers, are often unrecognized and not sufficiently praised for all they do for their students," said Rotary project chair Janice Black, in a recent news release.

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In partnership with Harrisburg-based public radio news station WITF, the Rotary selected Brenda Johnson, a 25-year teacher of strings and orchestra for grades 4-12 in Northeastern School District as the county's only winner.

Winners also were chosen for each of the other six counties: Adams, Dauphin, Cumberland, Lancaster, Lebanon and Perry out of about 250 nominations.

In an excerpt from her nomination, Gretchen Dekker, of Conewago Township, called Johnson "one of these extraordinary teachers."

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"She is a dedicated instructor, a tireless advocate for school music and a visionary who has brought not only musical joy, but also the satisfaction of personal mastery and the pleasures of teamwork to so many students," Dekker wrote.

She said Johnson has brought in professional soloists and ensembles to work with the students and for many years has run a summer group at her home to keep students playing when school was not in session.

Johnson also won the Pennsylvania-Delaware String Teachers Association's Orchestra Director of the Year Award in May.

Since schedules were delayed with COVID-19, the news station plans to air a program featuring the teachers in November. A banquet celebrating the 2020 and 2021 winners will be held in May.