ECHS Laura Johnson

Daniel Dye / The Herald

Laura Johnson, front desk secretary at Elmore County High School, speaks with a student’s parent.

If you live in Eclectic, there’s a high probability Elmore County High School secretary Laura Johnson knows you.

She is a third-generation graduate of the school and has spent the past 20 years running the school’s front desk. 

Johnson’s children graduated from the high school and she expects her five grandchildren will do the same.

She said the favorite part of her job is it puts her in contact with most everyone involved in the school.

“I love meeting the different parents that come in with the new students,” Johnson said. “When the students come in, especially from bigger schools, it can be a culture shock. I’ll tell them, ‘I think you’ll end up liking it here.’ For the majority, everybody likes it here.”

Principal Wes Rogers finds value in Johnson’s calm demeanor and ability to multitask.

“Every school has (a front desk) secretary when you walk in, that’s the first person you see and the connection you make with the school in a lot of cases,” he said. “Her pleasant demeanor and knowing most people in Eclectic is important. It’s just something you don’t get everywhere. We are blessed to have her.”

He said Johnson can answer the phone, make copies and make sure a student gets a Band-Aid put on at the same time.

Johnson said she likes getting to know most of the school’s students even if a few attempt to check out of school without their parents’ knowledge.

“The funniest is when children try to portray their parents,” she said. “I feel like I have a good ear and I talk to the parents. A student will call, say this is the student’s dad and ask for the student to check out. I’ll ask, ‘Well, where is he going?’”

She said the caller will usually hang up when she starts asking questions.

“We’ve had the students in the classroom calling the school,” she said. “We just get tickled. They would be in the bathroom or going down the hall. I love to play with them on the phone for a minute.”

Johnson said the support the school’s leadership gives teachers and support staff is appreciated.

“Principal Rogers is a good person,” she said. “He’s a family-oriented man. It trickles down. He is the type he likes for you to do your job. He expects you to do your job and I respect that. He’s a very good boss.”

As for Johnson’s future plans, she said she may be a substitute teacher after she retires from EHS.“I have thought about this because I went to my first retirement seminar recently,” she said. “I could go and be a substitute at my grandchildren’s schools. I would like to substitute at the different schools with them. I’m looking forward to that.”

If she does substitute at Eclectic one day, chances are extremely high a new generation of students will come to know Johnson.