Since November 1996, Bonnie Johnson has been making memories, forming friendships and building a long-lasting legacy as a teacher aide at Pine View. Many students and teachers recall her as sweet, caring and helpful — a wonderful friend and mentor. However, for Johnson, the time has come to retire her work as a teacher aide and enjoy her life in retirement. Johnson’s two decades at Pine View have been very memorable for her and many others in her presence.
Before becoming a teacher aide, Johnson lived in Kentucky and went to college to pursue cosmetology and became a hair stylist. She soon attained this dream of hers and later decided to start a family. In 1985, she gave birth to her daughter and soon after moved to Florida with her husband. Johnson saw Pine View as a wonderful school for her daughter and decided to bring her in 1996 as a sixth grader.
A few months into the school year, Johnson’s daughter notified her that Pine View needed help in the media center. Johnson quickly responded with interest and thus began her full-time career as a teacher aide. “After my first year of working, I asked Largo [former principal of Pine View] if the job would still be available for the upcoming year. He told me if I wanted it, it’s mine. I really enjoyed working at Pine View, so I decided I would continue that,” Johnson said.
Ever since, Johnson has loved her job with all of her heart. By working closely with students at Pine View, she has gotten to know many of them, still remembering them even after they graduate. “When kids come back after graduation and visit me, it brings me so much happiness and contentment,” Johnson said.
Pine View alumna Paola Piascik was very close to Johnson and remembers her as one of the most memorable staff members at Pine View. “She just loves the students. She would take time out of her day to actually see how we were doing and check in. She is just one of the sweetest people you will ever meet, and even when I came back to Pine View to visit, she talked to me for a while. I, and everyone else, just loves her,” Piascik said.
And for the younger students still at Pine View, Johnson says she loves being there for them and watching them grow each year. “Kids growing and blossoming — I love seeing that. I love seeing all of their maturity and spirit. It really makes me happy.”
Upon retiring, Johnson will live a relaxed life full of love, hobbies and happiness. She plans on venturing into her loves for plants, animals (birds in particular) and traveling. “I’m just going to be enjoying life,” she said.
Leaving Pine View after 21 years is not the easiest thing to do; however, Johnson finds the positives in every situation. “It is very sad, however I have loved all the time I’ve spent working with the kids,” she said. “I can understand children and where they’re coming from. It has really opened my eyes.”
According to Johnson, she cannot choose a favorite memory from her two decades at Pine View. However, she has loved all of the teachers, staff and students and will continue to do so even after she retires. And, they all love her back just as much. Teacher aide and friend of Johnson Diana Mumma said, “I’ve worked with her for many years — I and the kids love her. She is such a good person and friend, and I am very sad to see her go.”