As a wife, mother of three active girls, a Toledo Public School Literacy Coach, and an integral community member, Katina Johnson is often pulled in many direction. But when you do what you love, you never work a day in your life.
The early chapters
Johnson has always been very passionate about God, children and reading. She says that some of her fondest memories from childhood are of her and her mother lounging around and reading Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie books. Considering those cherished moments, it’s no surprise that her early love of books inspired her adult life.
Johnson says she can’t not be passionate about helping those who struggle with reading. After spending more than 14 years teachingkindergarten and 1st grade, she landed her dream job as a Literacy Coach, and enjoys every challenge and triumph in that important role.
“The journey of taking a kid with no reading skills from a non-reader to a reader is the best part of my job,” says Johnson.
The transformation in that journey is so inspiring that former parents and students often reach out to her to thank her—frequently, former students say they wouldn’t be where they are today if it wasn’t for her help. Those moments define her both as an educator and a woman.
Striking a balance
Johnson’s role as a mother is also performed with passion. Her daughters— Najah, 18, Nia, 15, and Aliyah, 13— are active in school and sports, with her oldest getting ready for college. As a close-knit family, they stay busy with track meets, games, activities, volunteering and banquets.
How does Johnson balance all of this? “Sometimes I don’t,” Johnson admitted. “Sometimes it’s too much. Author Lysa TerKeurst talks about priority blessings, so I try to focus on prioritizing my activities— though I always try to do it all. ”
While Johnson’s daughters often serve alongside her as volunteers, their schedules are not always compatible— forcing Johnson to prioritize. Recently, one of her daughter’s track meets fell on Claire’s Day— an annual children’s book festival. Johnson made the difficult decision of missing the meet to support her students who were receiving honors and awards for improved reading— a major confidence boost.
“I do what I love,” says Johnson. “Everyday is a day to wake up a reader.”