Educator Spotlight: Cerritos Johnson

  • Student Services Coordinator
  • Tupelo Career-Technical Center
  • Tupelo School District

Why did you become a teacher?

My college plans didn’t begin with teaching. I was in need of a job, and I began to substitute for the Tupelo Public School District. After about six months of working as a substitute, I realized I had a passion for teaching. It was at that time I changed my major to education. 

How do you motivate your students?

I motivate my students by first building a relationship with them. I show them that I care and want them to be successful. This makes all the difference in the world.

What advice would you give first-year teachers?

I encourage first-year teachers to focus on building those relationships with their students so they can see how that support impacts every student and his or her work ethic.

What has been your greatest success as a teacher?

My greatest success as a teacher comes when I see my students succeed. As a student services coordinator, one of my primary responsibilities is to work with students who have not passed the state test. I tutor these students — including seniors — in the testing area they have failed. When I’m able to help a senior graduate once he or she passes the state test, it’s the greatest success ever! This feeling is unimaginable and makes teaching worth every second!


Connections is the magazine for K-12 career and technical education (CTE) in Mississippi. The biannual publication features students, educators, schools, and organizations from approximately 50 career pathways across 16 career clusters. This Mississippi Department of Education publication is produced by the Research and Curriculum Unit at Mississippi State University. Issues are disseminated in print and electronic forms in May and December each year.

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