Even when school is over for the day, Maia Johnson feels like she never leaves Carver Middle because she still sees her students in... Johnson enjoys counseling middle school students

Even when school is over for the day, Maia Johnson feels like she never leaves Carver Middle because she still sees her students in the neighborhood.

Johnson makes sure to keep an eye on her students.

“Them knowing ‘Miss Johnson really cares about me and my well-being’… is the best part of my job,” she said.

Johnson has been Carver Middle’s school counseling coordinator for two years. She was a counselor for seven years and has worked nine years in the education field. She was previously a special education teacher at an alternative school in Petersburg and an elementary school counselor in Sussex County.

Johnson didn’t want to be a counselor initially, and said she didn’t want to follow in the footsteps of her mother, who is a retired school principal.

Johnson got a bachelor’s degree in communication and then worked at WTVR-TV CBS channel 6 and also volunteered at Walnut Hill Elementary in Petersburg teaching dance for their after-school program. She felt more fulfilled working with children and decided to go back to school, she said.

She has counseled elementary and middle school students, and even though she loves both for different reasons, her preference is middle school.

“Middle school is when you have the most transitions within the shortest period of time,” Johnson said. “Conversations with them and watching the transitions with the middle school kids are priceless.”

Johnson – who splits the sixth grade with another counseling team member – was recently honored as the school district’s middle school Counselor of the Year.

“I just feel blessed to be able to walk in my purpose every day,” Johnson said. “I truly feel counseling children is my purpose and my mission.”

Johnson is currently pursuing a doctorate in educational administration and supervision because she wants to teach at Virginia State University’s educational leadership program.

Johnson – who received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from VSU – said she wants to teach there because they poured so much into her and wants to help them breathe life into an up-and-coming wave of educators.