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More than a Name: The Legacy of Scott Johnson

Press Release|
Shane Mauldin|
Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Scott Johnson

McKinney, Texas – Scott Johnson, namesake of Johnson Middle school and well-respected McKinney educator, died Sunday at the age of 84. In his passing, he left behind a 35-year legacy in McKinney ISD.

Born and raised near Tioga, Texas, Johnson graduated from Collinsville High School and then went on to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from the University of North Texas when it was still known as North Texas State College and then North Texas State University.

He began his education career in McKinney ISD in 1957 and—to the benefit of McKinney ISD students—never left. Over the course of his 35 years with the district, Johnson would serve as a teacher, head varsity basketball and football coach, athletic director, assistant superintendent and ultimately superintendent, where he would serve eight years until his retirement in 1988.

Mitch Curry is the principal of Scott Johnson Middle School, and although Curry and Johnson were separated by a generation, they shared the same vision of success for McKinney ISD students that was the hallmark of Johnson’s career. Curry spoke fondly of his encounters with the man for whom his school is named.

“I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Johnson a few times after being named the principal at SJMS,” said Curry. “He was such a wonderful man and a consummate gentleman. He visited our campus several times, and we had the pleasure of having him speak to our students at some of our assemblies. The students responded to him in a positive way, and you could sense how much he cared for the children of MISD.

“The most important thing I remember about Mr. Johnson is how Leonard Evans (Evans Middle School), Arthur McNeil (McNeil Elementary), Evelyn Johnson (Reuben Johnson Elementary), and Jesse McGowen (McGowen Elementary)—and others whom he worked with—spoke about him. They glowed when talking of him and credited their success and the success of the district to Mr. Johnson. If you knew only that about him, the endorsement of those individuals would be enough to give you a clear picture of his character and his success as an educator.”

Arthur McNeil, for whom McNeil Elementary is named, served as MISD Business Manager and then Asst. Superintendent of Business Affairs for MISD and worked under Johnson. “He was a very good superintendent to work with,” said McNeil. “He was very cooperative and understanding and very open to something new—anything that would move the district forward. He was for it 100 percent.”

As the current superintendent of McKinney ISD, Dr. Rick McDaniel deeply values the legacy established by Scott Johnson and his forward-thinking approach to the job. “Scott Johnson was known districtwide as a man of integrity, a man of character and a man with a vision,” McDaniel said. “His legacy is one that superintendents should try our best to emulate.

“More importantly, he was a man that cared genuinely for people; he valued relationships, which is something that is a very important part of my tenure — people first, and the kids’ success will follow,” said McDaniel. “During his time with McKinney ISD, the city was substantially smaller, but he had an eye toward the future and what McKinney would become. He certainly put things in place for us to have success down the line. He was definitely a forward thinker.”

Johnson was an active member of the First Baptist Church of McKinney, McKinney Lions Club and many other professional and civic organizations. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Jan Johnson of Collinsville. They have two grown sons, Scotty and Ross, and four grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. on Thursday, May 26, 2016 at First Baptist Church, 308 E. Broadway St. in Gainesville, Texas. Visitation is scheduled for Wednesday evening from 6 – 8 p.m. at the Turrentine-Jackson-Morrow Funeral Home in Allen.

It would be impossible to know how many lives have been impacted by Scott Johnson, but his legacy continues at the school that bears his name, where each day, students take one more step toward a promising future.

“Although we hate that Mr. Johnson has passed,” said McDaniel, “we hope that the students who enter the hallways at Scott Johnson Middle School every day will understand the standard that was set in our district by their school’s namesake.”

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