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Community Foundation honors educators

By: Bonnie Davis Guy
Freelance Writer

The Johnson County Community Foundation (JCCF) hosted an awards reception at the Johnson County Library to honor those outstanding educators who had been instrumental in shaping the lives of many of the county’s youth. JCCF is responsible for scholarships awarded to many deserving area students who will be attending college after graduation. Scholarships provided by the foundation were announced in May at the Senior Awards Dinner and will be officially awarded to the recipients in July. For several years now, JCCF has given these scholarships in honor or memory of deserving, outstanding educators in Johnson County. The focus of this awards reception was on the educators who inspired the scholarships.
Foundation board member, Coach Russell Love, announced Harvey Burniston, the first educator to be honored. Burniston has worked for many years with the Johnson County High School FFA, greenhouses, and hydroponics program. He has touched the lives of countless students. Inspiring many with quotes such as “It is your attitude not your aptitude that will determine your altitude in life.” Burniston retired in 2011 after teaching more than 30 years. Since then, he’s turned his attention toward his business, Mountain View Nursery. With this in mind, Coach Love presented Burniston with an engraved shovel. He also presented him with an outstanding educator certificate.
JCCF board member Barbara Henson announced the next outstanding educator award recipient, Bev McKinney. McKinney began her teaching career in Headstart, then moved onto elementary but finally found her niche as a middle school teacher for some 22 years. She is now very active in Gamma Mu, Positive Thinkers, quilting, and still volunteers at Mountain City Elementary with their reading program.
JCCF Board Member John Mast was next to speak and he honored Minnie Miller. Miller is a native of Johnson County and is a graduate of ETSU. Mast said Miller had served both as an educator and in numerous roles at central office including being the first Director of Curriculum. Miller was responsible for the start of the Presidential Awards Ceremony for outstanding students. She also was instrumental in the renovations at both Doe Elementary and Laurel Elementary and the building of Roan Creek Elementary. Mast stated he was not only very pleased but also honored to present Miller with an Outstanding Educator Certificate.
Jane Ann McGee, JCCF Board Member stated she had been asked to present the next award to Mr. Eric Taylor. Because she had never worked with Taylor, McGee decided to do some homework on him, interviewing past students and teachers. She said the most common words used to describe Taylor were honest, hardworking, a great role model and a respectful administrator.

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