MILLBROOK, AL (WSFA) - One teacher from Stanhope Elmore High School is instilling self worth and confidence into all of her students, and her name is Letitia Ruffin-Johnson.
Commonly called "Mrs. RJ", this Alabama State alum always knew she wanted to be an educator; it wasn't until she experienced the dedication from one of her own high school teachers in Birmingham that she knew she belonged in the classroom.
"Her name was Rita Sparks and she was the best teacher I have ever had," said Mrs. Ruffin-Johnson. "She saw my potential; I then fell in love with English and I fell in love with books and words. I wanted to do the same things she did for other students that she did for me."
After 21 years Mrs. RJ's drive to teach her students important life lessons is still undeniable. She makes sure each kid in her class knows the sky truly is the limit for them and their dreams.
"I know it sounds cliché, but it's the truth: if you have someone who believes in you and you believe in yourself, you can do everything," said Mrs. RJ. "And that's why I do what I do... for the kids."
A former student nominated Mrs. RJ for the award. Knowing her journey from a student to a teacher and now to a mentor has come full circle, and overwhelms Mrs. RJ.
"It makes it worth it," said Mrs. RJ. "A lot of the time you don't feel like you are making a difference. If I retired today, like right now, my career has been complete because of that (nomination)."
If you know of a deserving teacher who goes above and beyond to help their students succeed, send us a Class Act nomination on WSFA.com. There, you will fill out a short form telling us why this educator is so special and how they are making a different in your child's life.