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Yvonne Johnson

Picture of Yvonne Johnson

Founder of the “Excellence in Education Awards” Program; 58 Year Career with Sycamore Community School District #427

Class of 1947

She taught for two years in a one-room school house; all eight grades in one room. In 1953 she started teaching at Sycamore’s West Elementary School and finished her career working in the Learning Center and tutoring students there until 2011! What a commitment to the children of Sycamore!

What hasn’t Yvonne Johnson done for the Sycamore School District and the Sycamore Community in general?

Yvonne was only 16 years old when she graduated from Sycamore High School in 1947! After leaving Sycamore High School, Yvonne has gone on to receive numerous degrees and awards over the years. All of Yvonne’s accomplishments are too numerous to mention in one article but here a just a few:

  • Graduated from the Northern Illinois State Teachers College (NISTC), now known as Northern Illinois University, with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1951.

  • Earned her Masters degree from NIU in 1960;

  • Received National Science Foundation Grants from Penn State University in Chemistry and Physics; Rutgers University in Geology and Meteorology; Illinois State University in Physics, Biology and Geology;

  • Named DeKalb County Conservation Teacher of the Year;

  • Earned NSTA certification as a Master Elementary Science Teacher;

  • Named Outstanding Science Teacher in Illinois by the National Science Foundation Illinois Science Teachers Association through Illinois State University;

  • Received Certificate of Honor for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science and Math Teaching;

  • Earned the Clifford Danielson Outstanding Citizen Award from the Sycamore Chamber of Commerce;

  • Awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Sycamore School District in 2008.

But Yvonne has never stopped advancing her education. Over the years she has attended Rockford College, Aurora University, Oklahoma State University, National College of Education, and Lewis University all while being a caretaker for several family members in their hour of need.

Yvonne’s love of science and her love of learning found her attending NASA’s program for elementary teachers where she trained for space education at the Lewis Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio. She was in the first group of teachers trained for space education and she went back as a faculty coordinator and became a part of NASA’s Empowerment of Educators Program. This new adventure had her touring through the

Goddard Space Center and the Johnson Space Center, as well as attending workshops in Washington, D.C. as a faculty coordinator.

Over the years, Yvonne has also served on many committees and boards within the Sycamore and DeKalb communities. She was instrumental in the restoration of the “old” North Grove School; has been a life-long member of the First Lutheran Church in DeKalb and served on the Sycamore Education Association as a past Secretary and President. She was on the Sycamore Library Board for many years and helped raise close to

$1.5 million for the library addition. This is a lady that knows how to get things done! She’s come by this trait from her family; Yvonne’s grandfather helped lay the railroad that goes through the city of DeKalb when there was no city of DeKalb! Yvonne loves to travel and has been to 49 of the 50 states; she has also traveled throughout Europe several times, Asia and throughout Canada.

One of Yvonne’s biggest contributions has been working with the DeKalb County Community Foundation in establishing the Excellence in Education awards. This award recognizes teachers for their work in education.

This is a woman with boundless energy and enthusiasm; she’s a life-long learner and we are so proud to induct her into the Sycamore High School Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame!

Ms. Yvonne Johnson – 2013 Inductee into the Sycamore High School  Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame

  • 2013

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