2024 Regional Teacher of the Year

Holly Johnson of the Tenino School District

Holly Johnson believes in being a pillar of positive support for special needs students and their families.

TUMWATER – June 20, 2023 – Capital Region Educational Service District (ESD) 113 has named Holly Johnson as its 2024 Regional Teacher of the Year. Johnson is a Special Education Teacher in the Tenino School District.

As an educator of children with disabilities, Johnson believes her primary purpose is to remove barriers for her students and their families. She has had to wear many hats as her program is not disability specific. Because of this, she has become an expert in adapting her teaching methods and supports to a wide variety of students.

She knows that parents of children with disabilities often face greater challenges in raising and finding support for their children. She aims to be that support. No matter how small an accomplishment for her students may be, Johnson is guaranteed to be celebrating it. To her, there’s an importance in informing parents about the good days their child has in class as often as possible.

The selection committee chose Johnson for this award because she is a dedicated teacher who meets students where they are and supports them in any way she can to move them forward. They also praise her ability to attend to the particular abilities and disabilities of each student while working with other adults to maintain a positive classroom experience for all.

The Capital Region ESD 113 Regional Teacher of the Year serves as one of nine candidates chosen by their respective ESDs, who will be considered for Washington State Teacher of the Year.  The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction will select and announce the state winner this fall.


  • Holly Johnson is a special education teacher at Parkside Elementary in the Tenino School District.
  • She is the only self-contained special education teacher in her building.
  • She pitched the idea for “Ready! for Kindergarten” to her district and now leads the workshops which aid parents whose children will soon be attending kindergarten while also providing childcare and dinner during the event. This has increased enrollment.
  • During the pandemic, she made porch drop-offs to families of materials that online learning could not provide.
  • She has written and received grants from Donors Choose and the Squaxin Island Tribe several times to acquire sensory and hands-on learning materials for her classroom that help meet the needs of her students.


  • “Holly builds positive relationships with our students and their families in and out of the school setting. She goes above and beyond the job description in helping the child and family. Holly does many things behind the scenes to help children be successful and feel good about themselves while working closely with the family, other service providers, healthcare providers, and the larger support community. She provides hope to families facing many challenges." – Brock Williams, Parkside Elementary School Principal
  • "She enthusiastically had a plan, not only for what my son could accomplish with help but for who he was and what he loved. She saw my son fully as the individual he is and came to meet him happily where he was at. Mrs. Johnson threw herself into new research and techniques that she could use to help my son. He never sat disengaged, unloved, or unnoticed during his entire time in her classroom. This gift allowed me peace of mind, which is something a mother of a disabled child doesn't always have." – Andrea Corcoran, Parent

For more information

About Capital Region ESD 113

The purpose of Capital Region ESD 113 is to ensure excellent and equitable education for all students through service and collaboration. Led by Superintendent Dr. Dana Anderson, ESD 113 provides services for 44 school districts, one tribal compact school, and approved private schools in Thurston, Mason, Lewis, Grays Harbor, and Pacific counties. Our goal areas include closing gaps, growing people, influencing change, and eradicating racism.


Kristen Jaudon, APR
Senior Director
Communications, Government Relations & Public Engagement