Johnson recognized with ‘Above and Beyond’ award

By Lisa Burnett Originally Published September 29, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated September 27, 2013 at 11:09 a.m.
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PHOTO BY: Nick Hillemann

Karla Johnson was recently awarded the Above and Beyond Award by Citizens Bank at the most recent Batesville School Board meeting. Johnson works in the Special Programs Office of the Batesville School District, and was described as the "go to" person who stays late, works weekends and holds the office together. She also works with Special Olympics and will attend the national event for the third time.

BATESVILLE — Karla Johnson was surprised at the recent Batesville School Board meeting when she found out she was the recipient of the second Above and Beyond Award given by Citizens Bank.

“[The award] goes to a school district employee who goes above and beyond with their service,” said Johnson, who is the due-process Arkansas Public School Computer Network clerk for the Batesville School District.

This is Johnson’s eighth year as the clerk for the district, and she said that in her job, she wears many hats.

She handles Medicaid billing for occupational and physical therapy for students in the district, along with handling legal paperwork for students in the district’s special-education program.

“I have a wonderful group of people to work with, and we have each other’s backs,” Johnson said.

In addition to her job with the school district, Johnson has become involved with Special Olympics through the years. Special Olympics provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, according to the organization’s website.

Johnson has been selected as an assistant aquatics coach for Area 16 of the Arkansas Special Olympics to take athletes to the Special Olympics 2014 USA Games in Princeton, N.J.

“[When they told me to come to the school board meeting], I thought it had something to do with the Special Olympics,” she said. “I was very surprised.”

In addition to the certificate she received for her award, she also was given a $50 gift card to spend any way she chooses. Special Olympics has become very close to Johnson’s heart, she said.

“I started volunteering 20 years ago painting faces,” Johnson said.

She realized the need for volunteers with the organization and wanted to give back to the community.

“I love seeing the rewards these athletes get,” Johnson said. “It’s amazing to see some of them compete.”

Johnson said she is a self-proclaimed workaholic and makes sure everything is in order before she calls it a day, even if it means she has to stay at work late.

“When we get all of our paperwork done, it gives our teachers more time in the classroom,” she said.

There are approximately 350 students in the special-education program in the Batesville School District, Johnson said.

Johnson was nominated for the award by an anonymous person, and she said she is honored to be nominated and given the Above and Beyond Award.

Sherry Long, special programs clerk for the Batesville School District, has worked with Johnson for the past six years.

“[Karla] is very knowledgeable, dependable and energetic,” Long said. “She’s very easy to get along with and very pleasant.”

Robin Fox, another due-process clerk for the Batesville School District, works with Johnson.

“She always helps me out if I don’t understand something,” Fox said. “She’s always there for me if I need help.”

Susan Green, the special-programs bookkeeper for the Batesville School District, is also a co-worker of Johnson’s. She thinks Johnson is truly deserving of the Above and Beyond Award.

“It didn’t surprise me at all,” Green said. “If anyone is going to stay late at work, it’s going to be her. She’s very deserving.”

Online Reporter Lisa Burnett can be reached at 501-378-3887 or lburnett@arkansasonline.com.

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