Vic Johnson Honored for His Dedicated Service to WS/FCS
To see the video honoring Vic Johnson, go to Cable 2.
JANUARY 26, 2011 – At the Jan. 26 meeting of the Board of Education, Vic Johnson was honored for his dedicated service to Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools.
Vic Johnson, who served the school system as a teacher, an assistant principal, and a school board member, died on Jan. 20.
Johnson was appointed to the Board of Education in March 1997 and was elected to the board in 1998. He served on the school board for more than 20 years, before choosing not to run in 2018.
Before becoming a member of the school board, he served WS/FCS for many years as a teacher and an administrator. Johnson joined the school system in 1962 as a math teacher at what was then Paisley Junior High. When he retired from WS/FCS in 1993, he was an assistant principal at Carver High School.
When he was honored in 2017 by being named a member of The Order of the Long Leaf Pine, Johnson said, “As a product of this city and school system, it is my obligation to serve and give back to a system that has done so much good for me and my family when it comes to education. I continue to serve because I feel I still have valuable input to offer that makes a difference in the lives of students and others impacted by the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools.”
Johnson was born in Winston-Salem. His parents were factory workers – his father worked for Reynolds Tobacco Co. Both were very religious people. Johnson had five brothers and one sister. Six of them graduated from college.
Growing up, Johnson wanted to be a football player. And he was. He played football at Atkins High School, while serving in the U.S. Army, and for four years at Winston-Salem State University.
While he was a student at Winston-Salem State – not long after another group of students had staged a sit-in at the Woolworth’s in Greensboro – Johnson was one of 22 students at Winston-Salem State and Wake Forest University who made history by sitting down at the whites-only lunch counter at the old Woolworth’s on Liberty Street.
While serving in West Germany, Johnson had lived in integrated housing and he believed in supporting integration. In May 1960, Winston-Salem became the first Southern city to voluntarily desegregate its lunch counters.
Johnson graduated from Winston-Salem State with a bachelor’s degree in education and later earned a master’s degree in education and administration from N.C. A&T State University. He began his teaching career at Reidsville City Schools and, in 1962, went to Paisley Junior High as a math teacher. He became the assistant principal at North Forsyth High School in 1973. He went to Carver High School as assistant principal in 1984 and served there until he retired in 1993. After retiring, he served as interim principal at North Forsyth High School in 1996.
Johnson liked to spend time with students in schools, and, depending on the event, he might read to students or teach a young man to tie a neck tie.
In 1997, Johnson established the Vic Johnson Junior Golf Clinic because he thought that golf had a lot to offer young people.
“I want kids to learn the game of golf,” he said.
For one, he thought it was a fun game. He also thought golf is a skill that would serve them well as adults. Should anyone ever ask them whether they wanted to play a round, they can say, “Yes.”
The clinic was held each summer at the Reynolds Park Golf Course. Most participants were students in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County school system. The 22nd and final clinic was held in 2019.
In 2005, Johnson was instrumental in having a school named in honor of C. Douglas Carter, who had done much to see that WS/FCS served students with special needs.
“The Carter family has always been indebted to Mr. Johnson for pursuing his dream, and they are very thankful and blessed to now have the ‘new’ C. Douglas Carter High School adjoining the Career Center!” said Carter’s daughter Sara Gentle who is an administrative assistant for CTE (Career Technical Education).
In 2007, Johnson was inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame at Akins. At the time, the list of his accomplishments included: “Played a major role in the return of Atkins High School presently known as Simon Green Atkins Academic and Technology High School.”
Johnson’s wife, Dr. Constance Howie Johnson, also is a product of this school system. She is a retired professor from Winston-Salem State. Both of their children are college graduates. Their son graduated from Johnson C. Smith University. Their daughter earned a master’s degree in business administration at the University of N.C. at Chapel Hill. The Johnsons have two grandchildren.