Black History Month

Join ABC30 in celebrating Black History Month with a look at the remarkable life of Tulare educator Flora Johnson.
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Flora Johnson


Flora Johnson was born to a family of nine children in Altus, Oklahoma. Her parents separated when she was very young. She attended segregated schools. Her mother worked in the fields and cleaned houses. The family moved to California in 1958 hoping to find a better life. Flora Johnson lived in Corcoran before coming to Tulare in 1960. She picked potatoes and planted cotton. She often saw school busses drive by as she worked in the fields. She did not feel smart or capable. She lacked self-esteem. Flora's teacher encouraged her. This would give her a boost! Flora graduated from Tulare Union High School in 1963. She later attended College Of Sequoias, earning her A.A. degree in Business Administration. She began as a Pre-school Teacher at Lincoln School in 1976. She credits mentors for encouraging her to pursue higher education. She graduated from Fresno State with a BS degree in Child Development and a life-time teaching credential. She was a classroom teacher for 21 years, a vice principal for 8, and a principal for 2. During her time as a classroom teacher she was a Mentor teacher for the Oakland School District, a master teacher for the BEST program (Beginning Educators Support Team), in the Elk Grove School District and an Elk Grove School District's Teacher of the Year. Flora retired in 2007, from the position of Elementary School Principal, where she managed a year round school with 1,150 K - 6 grade students. Flora believes in the power of influence and the impact we can have on the life of a child.

She retired in 2007 after more than 30 years in education and returned to Tulare, California where her vision of an afterschool tutoring program called "Grandma's House" unfolded. She realized she had to do something when a colleague said, "you're old enough to retire but too young to do nothing." Using the old African Proverb: "It takes a village to raise a child" Grandma's House became a reality. She has striven to build that village through community partnerships that support the work that she does with children. Partnerships such as: Tulare Regional Medical Center, Foodlink, AARP, Read for Life, and others. Since 2008, Grandma's House volunteers have provided academic support in reading, English language arts, and math for at-risk students in grades K-6. More than 300 students have been tutored at Grandma's House. Johnson credits her success to the many people that were put in her pathway who believed in her. "As far back as I can remember, starting with my mother, I have been inspired by others through their love, support, encouragement and resources that they provided for me. I believe that a person is the sum total of his life's experiences; the good, the bad, and the ugly. It can either make you bitter or better. I chose, with the help of so many, God first, to be better. I believe that to whom which is given, much is required," Flora Johnson.

Grandma's House
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