Sheryl Johnson likes to tell her students that no math problem is unsolvable.
"Math is a struggle for a lot of students, so I really enjoy helping them, watching them grow, and seeing them become successful," Johnson says.
Johnson's patience and ability to motivate her students is one reason she's been named the recipient of the 2014 Earl C. and Doris F. Helms Excellence in Teaching Endowment at JCC. Selected by fellow instructors in the JCC Faculty Association, Johnson received a $1,000 stipend in recognition for her excellence in the classroom.
Johnson is the math lab administrator at JCC. A JCC instructor for the past 14 years, she has a bachelor's degree in education with a major in math and a minor in English. She has a total of 30 years teaching experience in both subjects. "It's definitely an unusual combination, but it has served me well," she says.
Johnson said her teaching career has been a rewarding experience.
"It's very rewarding when students come back to see you and tell what they're doing, whether they are working or are at a four-year college," she says. "It makes you feel good that you've had a positive impact on their lives."
In addition to her teaching, Johnson has also been a leader among her peers at the college. She is a former president and current vice president of the JCC Faculty Association, and she has written curriculum and textbooks for college math and English courses.
Johnson has also judged senior projects in local high schools, served as director of the Girl Scouts for Johnston County for three years, and is a member of the National Association of Developmental Education (NADE) and the State Employees Association of North Carolina (SEANC).
Instructor Jean Stowers said Johnson is dedicated to education and student performance. "Sheryl is knowledgeable and enthusiastic, and she is always prepared to teach and assist her students," Stowers said. "With quiet dignity, she also represents her colleagues professionally as an officer in the Faculty Association. An educator, a mentor and a leader, she succeeds in the classroom, the workplace, and the community."
Johnson said she appreciated the recognition and vote of confidence from her fellow instructors at JCC. "I really like the close knit environment at JCC," she says. "I enjoy working with my colleagues, and having relationships that allow us to share and support one another."
Johnson lives in Raleigh. She and her husband have four grown children and four grandchildren.