Nederland teachers to be honored with prestigious award

Published 11:26 am Monday, April 16, 2018

By Lorenzo Salinas


Two teachers from the Nederland Independent School District will receive a prestigious award for their talent and dedication to the field of education.

Cheryl Weaver and Diane Johnson have each earned a Wayne A. Reaud Excellence in Education Award from the Beaumont Foundation of America. The award is given to educators who display qualities such as professionalism, knowledge, dedication and the ability to create a classroom environment favorable to learning.

Cheryl Weaver

Diane Johnson

Weaver teaches first grade at Highland Park Elementary School and Johnson teaches English IV at Nederland High School. Both have, as the Foundation website says for recipients of the award, inspired “a spirit of learning in students of all backgrounds and abilities.”

The award recognizes 15 teachers annually from the Southeast Texas education system.

“There has always been something in me meant to be a teacher,” Weaver said. “Honestly, I don’t remember a time I haven’t wanted to be a teacher.”

Weaver has taught for 30 years, all of which have been with Nederland ISD. She has spent her career teaching early education, where she has taught grades 1, 4 and kindergarten.

Johnson is a Mid County native who started teaching in 2004 in Houston.

“It’s ironic because, growing up, I was always saying that I would refuse to be a teacher,” Johnson said. “But when I was in college, I found that education was in my blood.”

Teaching would become a professional career for Johnson, something that would bring her back to Southeast Texas.

“I was so excited to get a job at Nederland High School,” Johnson said.

“Kids are our future; they are the answers to our own problems. I believe the more we give them knowledge — knowledge about school, knowledge about life — the better our future will be.”

Both instructors said they have nothing but love for what they do, expressing appreciation for their schools and students.

“I love what I do. I have had wonderful mentors in Nederland,” Weaver said. “I work with wonderful people. I have great coworkers. I work with wonderful teachers — we learn so much from each other and share.”

Weaver credited her principal for creating an exciting work environment, saying everyone there is a family.

“I love my job,” Johnson said. “I love that my students keep me on my toes. There’s a new aspect to the world every day… They keep me young.”

For both educators, teaching would seem to be a dynamic practice, one filled with numerous opportunities for growth and learning.

“No two days are the same; there’s always something new,” Weaver said. “There’s the excitement of watching these children blossom, especially as a first-grade teacher.”

Weaver expressed adoration at the “tremendous” growth students experience during their first year in school.

Johnson said the main thing she’s learned in her 14-year career is “that we learn more from our students than we teach them.”

“I know that I have a very big influence on the foundation that I lay for young children,” Weaver said. “I have a big responsibility to put them on the right path so they love school and want to learn. I want them to be excited about learning and I (want) to be able to provide them with a warm environment.”

On their reaction to receiving the Reaud award, Weaver and Johnson were very grateful.

“I’m extremely honored and blessed,” Weaver said.

“It’s humbling, honestly, especially in my high school where there are so many phenomenal teachers…” Johnson said. “To not only be part amongst them, but to win is eye-opening and awe-inspiring.”

The awards gala will be held May 8, where the selected teachers will be honored with the award, a crystal obelisk, a portrait and $10,000.