LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Craig Johnston

Position: PE and Weight Training Teacher
School: Carmel High School
School District: Carmel Unified School District
City, State: Carmel, CA

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Music that Describes Craig

Craig Johnston was nominated by his colleague, Leigh Cambra.

Students and staff love Mr. Johnston, who is also known as Coach J. Coach J is a physical education teacher, weight training instructor, and former football coach at Carmel High School. He makes his students and staff proud to be Padres! Here's what some of his colleagues have to say:

"Yesterday afternoon during lunch, I had my door open and I heard that familiar sound coming from the pool.....'Take a break, get your breath, you got this.  Now swim to the end and back.  You're ready for the Olympics!  Take a break, get your breath......"

"I don't know if Craig has ever been voted Mentor of the Year by students, because when those votes are gathered, students tend to think of typical classroom environments when making those decisions.  My son voted for Craig for this title during each of his last three years at CHS because of his influence on him during Weight Training sophomore year. Each time the votes were encouraged, he would tell me he was voting for Coach J again."

"You don't know how many of our graduating seniors have been saved by his loving patience in teaching them how to swim.  This is why learning to swim is required for students to graduate because it teaches them to not be afraid of the water.  Most of all, it teaches them they can do it.  Not many people know the value in the swimming requirement to graduate."

"His class literally transforms kids.  I have long considered his weight training class to be one of the most important classes on campus for building self-esteem, building confidence, and building character."

"Our kids absolutely adore Coach J, and he is their central motivating force.  Many of our kids who struggle with self-esteem have flourished in his class, and these experiences will impact them throughout their lives."

"Coach J is not only inspiring, he is kind and respectful to all students and staff! Teachers like him make me Proud to be a Padre!"

Comments (14)

Annamae Berry Posted over a year ago

I've know Craig Johnston from day one at CARMEL HIGH SCHOOL. He came to us as a young father who was with a passion for students and sports. He believed a health student was one who found a family in sports. Throughout the years the students at our high school have become stronger and healthier because of his teaching. His compassion and patience is what makes him special. I have seen him help students who were afraid of water learn how to concur their fears. Young ladies and young men who come into his weight room know that he will protect them from getting hurt and strengthening their spirit.

Tricia Bean Posted over a year ago

My daughter, Amaya, and I agree that Coach J is the best!! As his student, Amaya describes Coach J as sweet, accommodating, motivational, and funny! Coach J is a genuinely nice guy who always says hello when passing him in the halls! As his colleague, I am honored to have the privilege of working along side coach J. Not only is he a phenomenal role model for the students, but he is also an outstanding role model for his fellow teachers!

Linda M Galuppo Posted over a year ago

Coach J is one of the most dedicated teachers here at Carmel High School, his passion for what he does is undeniable. He's also an amazing father and husband with a wonderful family, I feel blessed to have Coach J as a friend and a colleague. Thank You Coach J for just being YOU!

Bridget Randazzo Posted over a year ago

Coach J has positively changed the culture of our school to one filled with hard-work, pride, and support. He enthusiastically gets a gym full of high school students and staff to genuinely chant, "I'm proud to be a Padre! I love my school! We're not normal!" These uplifting and prideful sentiments are felt throughout our campus. In his weight training class, students feel welcomed, supported, and encouraged to improve. They are taught to set personal goals and are enthusiastically celebrated as they work towards reaching those goals. He meets every student where they are and guides them on their personal journey to physical and emotional improvement. Success through struggle and hard work, paired with the supportive community he creates, is what students experience in Coach J's classes. He is a true gift to our school and has changed the lives of thousands of students and our staff.

Bill Schrier Posted over a year ago

I've worked for 16 years with Coach J, and is is a steadying presence on campus, who always put students first. He and I have had numerous conversations about teaching and coaching over the years, and he emphasizes character over content. He is teaching the things that really matter, and his students love him for it.

Holly Lederle Posted over a year ago

Coach J is the kind of teacher who inspires other teachers. He is a culture-maker who creates a positive and supportive community for all staff and students. Thank you Coach J!

Carli Barnett Posted over a year ago

Craig is one of the kindest, most compassionate teachers on this campus. He always makes time for his students and his colleagues no matter how busy he is, and he supports them in any way he can.

Ann Berry Posted over a year ago

What most people don't know about him is his love for students with special needs. He and his wife Patty have been instrumental in organizing and making sure the Special Olympic in the Monterey Peninsula has support and coverage. Every student has a purpose and generally he is looking for the smile on their faces when he encourages them to do better.

Diana Govan Posted over a year ago

As both colleague, friend and a former parent of his students, Coach J has inspired me over the years to be the very best version of myself! He consistently radiates amazing positive vibes for all of his students and co-workers. He embodies inclusivity and compassion for all! He makes me PROUD to be a PADRE.

Dale DePalatis Posted over a year ago

I don't think there is anyone on the staff who is more consistently positive than Craig Johnston. He is a great P.E. coach, and he was also a great football coach for many years. He is one of the faculty treasures of Carmel High School!

Diana Govan Posted over a year ago

As both colleague, friend and a former parent of his students, Coach J has inspired me over the years to be the very best version of myself! He consistently radiates amazing positive vibes for all of his students and co-workers. He embodies inclusivity and compassion for all! He makes me PROUD to be a PADRE.

Connor Hatch Posted over a year ago

Coach J makes exercise enjoyable by motivating his students and helping them improve. I can’t thank him enough for helping me become a better athlete throughout high school.

Dawn Hatch Posted over a year ago

When my husband's job took him across the US and then to other countries, Craig sent me a personal email to offer assistance with our son, who was in 7th grade at the time, to be an absentee father figure. Not only is Craig a wonderful teacher and mentor at CHS, but he is a wonderful father and friend.

Joe Mello Posted over a year ago

When Coach J has the entire student body yelling "I am NOT normal! I am a Padre! I'm proud to be a Padre!", all is right in the world.