Remembering Former Principal, Board Member

She spent her life dedicated to education. Funeral services are set for longtime Tyler Independent School District board member and Elementary School President Gladys Johnson. We set out to pay tribute to this woman who spent 47 years in education.

Gladys had a radiant smile, a smile she shared with everyone she met. "[I'll] miss the energy, excitement, that bubbly personality that she always had," said Austin Elementary Principal Cynthia Williams.

Johnson was a person that people loved to be around.

"She loved her family greatly. Her husband was an educator. Served as President of Texas College," said Brad Spradlin, Tyler Independent School Board President.

A longtime educator, Gladys served as principal, teacher, coach and then a TISD trustee for 7 years.

"She had a huge heart for children and ensuring that they were educated and given every opportunity to succeed. She was very dedicated as a board member. She worked very hard," said Spradlin.

During her last term on the board, they won the 2005 Outstanding Texas School Board of the Year.

"We were the best School Board of Texas that year; which we were very proud of, and very glad that Mrs. Johnson was a part of that," said Spradlin.

While on the board, Mrs. Johnson used the experience of her years as a principal. From 1984 to 1995 at Austin Elementary in August when the new Austin opened, the school's library was named in her honor.

"She always talked about the importance of caring for children and the families and helping them to grow and learn and achieve and the library just represents that. That is where we find our books, that is where we read, that is where we gain knowledge. It is just fitting for the library to be dedicated in her honor," said Williams.

"Gladys put her mark in TISD in several different ways. She did a lot to improve the neighborhood around Austin Elementary to ensure a safe environment," said Spradlin, "She also encouraged parents to be involved in their children's education. Also, she was adamant that the look of the new schools be timeless. The exterior of the building and in her words had to have education written all over them. That is exactly what the board did."

Gladys A. Johnson died Saturday afternoon, January 5, 2008. She was 78 years old.

"You always felt much better after having a conversation with Mrs. Johnson. You always felt like you could go out and conquer the world. She just had that type of personality. She was a wonderful person," said Williams.

Services for Gladys Johnson are set for Saturday at 11 a.m. at Miles Chapel CME Church in Tyler.

Danielle Capper, Reporting.