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It wasn’t just all about the science: Barbara Johnson, where science and humanity met


By Kay Boothe


Barbara Johnson was a teacher. She was teacher but she was so much more. She was a mentor, a friend, a Mom, a confidante. She was a shoulder to cry on and a cheerleader for so many generations of youth in Houston County.

Barbara taught for both Latexo ISD and later Grapeland ISD. She taught science. She was the cheerleading sponsor, she was a class sponsor, she did whatever she could do to help her community. And she did it with a smile and with tremendous pride.

Barbara Johnson was fierce. And fearless. She would go toe to toe with anyone that she felt was not acting in the best interest of any child. Parents, administration, other kids, didn’t matter. If she felt s child was being slighted she was there to fight for them.

She loved Houston County, its people and the potential she saw in all of the youth here. This was her home.

If Houston County was her home, Grapeland basketball was her passion. The woman loved watching the Sandies and Sandiettes playing. Win or lose she was there. Handbag with untouched cross stitch sitting next to her. Long after she could no longer physically teach full time, she still went to the games to cheer her beloved Grapeland on.

Barbara was one of those rare individuals that could enable a student to see their own possibilities through science.

She lived for the spark. That moment that a student was working an experiment or taking part in a classroom discussion and then all of the sudden it became real to them. They questioned, they wanted to know what happened next. That is the spark. And she commented on more than one occasion that when that happened, it was awesome.

She wrote letters of recommendation, she even went with students to tour colleges or universities. Whatever they needed to make the next step.

Did everyone of her students love her? No, she demanded a lot from them. But they did respect her, and with the passing of time, they often came back and thanked her. Because she was a teacher and so much more. She will be missed. To Will, Jennifer and Tommy, Barbara’s kids, thank you. Thank You for sharing the extraordinary woman you called Mom.