Leslie Johnson

Leslie Johnson


Leslie was raised along the New Jersey shore and moved Ponte Vedra Beach in 1989 to raise her family. Leslie holds a Child Developmental Associate from the Childcare Education Institute at the University of Cincinnati. Before joining Collage Day School, Leslie spent over a decade as a lead teacher at Christ Church Preschool. Additionally, she taught at The Keystone-Mainspring Academy teaching children with varying exceptionalities. Leslie believes in the power of music to educate and enjoys using music daily in her classroom. She is a licensed instructor with “Music Together LLC.” Outside of work, Leslie enjoys spending time with her family, especially her young grandson Finn.

Why I Decided to Become a Teacher:

Growing up, I always stayed busy babysitting, working as a lifeguard and a camp counselor. I was always a magnet to little kids! I love being silly and enjoy the reaction it brings to children. Many times, when growing up I was told, “you need to be a teacher.” When I was a freshman in college I started as an Elementary Education major, but I took a little detour. When I became a Mom to my two boys, I continued to enjoy being surrounded by my children and the neighborhood kids too. Some of my favorite parts of motherhood included being “homeroom-mom,” a PTO member and countless volunteer events. As life tends to do, my love for children and school came full circle as I moved towards a career in education later in life. I probably wouldn’t have appreciated it as much as I do now if I hadn’t taken the long road!

How Teaching Has Changed Me:

Teaching has changed me in so many ways! I always gravitated to the struggling learner, and I love taking the time to figure out how they learn. Discovering how children see the world has given me the tools to be a stronger teacher. Students can be the “best teacher” if you pay attention to what they are telling you. My first year in teaching I quickly learned what worked, and what didn’t work, through the kids reactions. They are the best, innocent, critics. My teaching style developed over the years to reflect this “kid taught” style. Each year I work on gaining their trust, making myself as re-forcing as possible, creating a fun and safe learning environment. Every year you feel you will never get a class you will love as much as the class that is moving on, but sure enough, it happens again, year after year. I now have former students who are in high school and college “friending” me on social media!

Favorite Parts of Being a Teacher:

My favorite parts of teaching happen every day. The morning smiles, warm hugs, the occasional mistake of a student calling you “mom” which tells me they feel comfortable and safe, the offer of help from a student when they notice you need it, and a warm small hand voluntarily placed in mine. I love seeing a child grow more confident during the school year as he uses the tools learned in the classroom to step out of his comfort zone and then discover it was fun! There’s nothing greater than watching a child have a “light bulb” moment and they realize they can do the material they had once struggled with. Life is not boring in the classroom and no two days are alike. Though I may leave at the end of the day worn out, I always look forward to returning the next day and giving it my best shot! And of course, seeing those first morning smiles when my babies return …