MEET JOHANNA LÓPEZ
Caring Mother. Passionate Teacher. Authentic Leader.
Proof the American Dream is Still Alive.
Johanna has also made an incredible impact in the community. When Johanna, a mother of four, experienced how difficult it was to navigate the public school system as a parent, she founded Familias Presentes: Estudiantes Excelentes, an online forum directed to making the parents aware of different educational issues and opportunities. As well, as a member of the Orange County Classroom Teachers Association (CTA) and Maestros Puertorriqueños en Acción, she has advocated for the expansion of teachers’ benefits.
She is also a member of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Teacher Advisory Council and served as a member of the OCPS Calendar Committee, the OCPS Foundation, Leadership Orange, and the Superintendent's Public Education Leadership Project at Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Due to her leadership inside and outside of the classroom, Johanna López has been recognized at the local, state, and national levels. In 2016, she became the first Latina to win the Teacher of the Year award from Orange County Public Schools. In that role, she was recognized as one of five recipients of the Governor’s Shine Award for Inspirational Teachers. At a national level, Johanna has been awarded the Queen Smith Award for Commitment to Urban Public Education and the Life Changer of the Year award.
Johanna López exemplifies the best Orange County Public Schools has to offer: She is a caring mother, a passionate teacher, and an authentic leader. She is proof the American Dream is still alive.
Johanna López was born in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, to a war veteran and a stay-at-home mom. There, she earned her Bachelors of Arts in Hispanic Studies from the University of Puerto Rico and, later, a Master of Arts in Higher Education from the Universidad Interamericana de Puerto Rico.
In 1998, Johanna relocated to Orlando, where she first worked at a car wash and then at a fast food restaurant. After volunteering and serving as a substitute teacher at Colonial High School, she became a full-time Spanish teacher in 1999. Since then, Johanna has certainly made a difference.
As Colonial’s AP Spanish Language and AP Spanish Literature teacher, she has not only demonstrated great care for her students but also her competence as an educator. For over a decade, Johanna and her students have achieved perfect passing rates in the AP exams.
At Colonial High School, Johanna has been an active participant in different extracurricular activities. She has served as both the girls' varsity volleyball coach and Hispanic Honor Society sponsor. Through both positions, she has encouraged her students to serve our community. In 2015, Johanna’s Hispanic Honor Society held a massive voter registration drive, where more than 500 students registered to vote. Currently, Johanna is the sponsor of Latinos in Action, an organization that seeks to empower young Latino students to become our country’s future leaders.
2017 Orange County Public Schools Teacher of the Year
Awarded to an OCPS teacher who demonstrates a superior capacity to inspire a love of learning in students of all backgrounds and abilities.
Mujeres Destacadas en Educación
Recognized in La Prensa’s Prominent Latina Women list, which highlights the leadership of hardworking latinas who have made the Central Florida and Latino communities better (2017).
Life Changer of the Year
Sponsored by the National Life Group, this award “celebrates those who are making a significant difference in the lives of students by exemplifying excellence, positive influence and leadership” (2016-2017)
Governor’s Shine Award for Inspirational Teachers
Given to Florida teachers and administrators who “make significant contributions in the field of education” (2016).
Queen Smith Award for Commitment to Urban Public Education
Awarded by the Council of Great City Schools to a teacher who has made a significant contribution to education and to the community (2016).
Magic of Leadership Award
Recognized by Macy’s as an outstanding teacher who prioritizes the formation of future leaders both inside and outside of the classroom (2016).
Wings of Inspiration Award
Recognized by the Florida Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents for being an exceptional and innovative education leader (2016).
Florida State Senate Proclamation for Contribution in Education
Acknowledged by then-Senator Darren Soto for outstanding contributions to the Central Florida community through the field of education (2016).
Coqui de Oro in Education
Awarded by La Casa de Puerto Rico to an educational leader who has positively impacted the life Puerto Rican and Latino youth in Central Florida (2016).
Taste of Puerto Rico's Education Award
Noted as an exceptional Puerto Rican education leader for outstanding leadership abilities and community service (2016).
Educator of Distinction Award
Presented by the Coca-Cola Scholars foundation to a teacher who has had a tremendous impact on the intellectual and personal development of a Coca-Cola Scholar (2015).
*names of organizations provided for biographical purposes only