Montgomery Schools Ready for Guard Activation

Sophia Johnson is in the 187th fighter wing of the Alabama Air National Guard. The call to serve can come at any time, that's why everything is set at home and at Thelma Smiley Morris Elementary, where she is the principal. Johnson says, "we have a contingency plan and I have a wonderful assistant (principal) here, that we work as a team so she would be able to keep the school running smoothly."

Johnson is among 29 Montgomery Public Schools (MPS) employees who could be activated in the war against terrorism. "We have a bank of retired administrators that we could call in to fill those gaps. For teachers we would call in long-term subs; and we have a list of those available to us. A long-term sub is different from your regular normal everyday substitute teacher. Long-term subs are certified," says Angela Mann, MPS public information officer. Mann says that system worked well during operation desert storm.

Johnson says if she's activated her husband and two small daughters will be okay; and believes her school kids will be too. "My children will do well, they probably will do better to make me proud of them, if something like that happened," she says. Guard duty has taken Johnson away from school once before; she spent a week and a half in Romainia.