The honor is starting to sink in … a little.

Cherie Johnson was recently named Minnesota’s Special Education Administrator of the Year by the Minnesota Administrators for Special Education for her work.

“I am honored that they chose me. There are so many others out there that are worthy of this award,” Johnson said.

Johnson started her career in Minnesota as a special education teacher in the Red Wing School District in 1998 and has been in the Goodhue County Education District executive director since July 2007.

GCED comprises six districts working together to provide a variety of programs, staff development, and alternative school services. The school districts include Cannon Falls, Goodhue, Kenyon Wanamingo, Lake City, Red Wing, and Zumbrota Mazeppa. All students of member districts are eligible to receive services provided by or through GCED with primary focus on special education, according to the GCED website.

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When Johnson was asked what is the best part of her job, she answered, “The people. I get the chance every day to work with great people; the students, the staff, my colleagues, parents and legislators.”

In a letter to the MASE selection committee, Goodhue Public Schools Superintendent Evan Gough, wrote, “The job of a special education administrator can be one of the most challenging and complex leadership roles in a school system. Many problems can and do come up during the course of a school year and while dealing with challenging situations, Cherie always keeps the focus on the student and their family.”

Johnson serves on the Family Services Collaborative of Goodhue County and has been an active member of the MASE. For the MASE, Johnson has served on the Strategic Planning Committee, State Legislative Committee, Federal Advocacy Committee and Membership Committee.

Beyond the MASE, Johnson has represented Minnesota at the Council of Administrators of Special Education as a board member.

Johnson admits that the award has not sunk in yet and wants to thank those who she gets to work with every day.

“I want to thank my parents, especially my dad who continues to ask me when I will be done going to school. And, lastly, my sons who get me through each day,” Johnson said.