Johanna Evans Hise – Class of 1987
Media Coordinator, Jimmy C Draughn High School, Retired; Owner Bee Brite Floral and Events

The world of today’s school media center and the media coordinator who manages it are a far cry from the library and librarian of the past. With technology and video amply available alongside books and other print media, students and teachers can do research, find supplemental reading, and find ways to create their own projects with new and exciting methods.

Johanna Evans Hise has been a teacher and media coordinator on the elementary, middle school, and high school levels. Before her retirement in 2022, she worked at Jimmy C. Draughn High School, where she not only managed the media center but also sponsored the Prom and worked with other extracurricular events.

“My first teaching job after college was at East McDowell Middle School, followed by eight years teaching language arts and history at East Burke Junior High and East Burke Middle School. Then I took the job as media coordinator at Ray Childers Elementary School, where I stayed for twelve years.

“The elementary media center was so much fun! I loved all of it, Anyone who knows me knows how much I love creative projects, and this was just the place where I could put that interest to use. There was a lot of preparation involved because the students made elaborate crafts and exhibits, allowing them to make lasting connections with the books and the characters featured in them. We raised money by having book fairs, and we began incorporating technology into our learning. I was in the elementary school when smart boards became popular and students were learning to use iPad sets. Technology is changing so fast, but during those years, we were just getting started. We also took part in the Battle of the Books, where students read books from a recommended list and then are quizzed on their knowledge. We had a great time.

“In 2012, I moved to Draughn High School, where I remained for ten years. The high school media center is a much different place from the elementary school. Students often come in with classes and individually to do research for class projects and research papers. But I really worked hard to make it an inviting, beautiful, and friendly place. We repainted the walls with bright colors, put inspiring quotations on the walls, and filled the place with creative displays. Of course, the morning newscast was part of our routine, and we had a Book Club. One of our Book Club activities was modelled after Starbucks. About once a month, we would sell specialty coffee under the name Pawbucks (after the Wildcats, get it?) with cups that had drawings of paw prints. It was both a great fund raiser and a fun activity.”

But staying in the media center all day long is not Johanna’s style. One of her most enjoyable extracurricular activities was designing and sponsoring the school prom. “Decorating for the prom really nourished my creative spirit. We had wonderful themes such as Arabian Nights (we had a live camel!), Japanese Zen Garden, Midnight in Paris, Hollywood Nights, Under the Big Top, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Vegas!

“For many years, the prom took place in the courtyard area inside the front doors of the school. Working with the creative and energetic construction, art, and home economics departments, who created fountains, waterfalls, murals, bridges, carnival games, and other decorations, I let my imagination take over, and we transformed that space to another time and place. I was constantly amazed at how my colleagues could take an idea and make it into an elaborate, beautiful, and functional object. It was an activity that brought the school together. Student involvement was so important as well. When students take part and help create and build, they are personally invested in the project and can not only take pride in their work but also make lasting memories.”

After graduation from East Burke, Johanna earned an associate degree from Western Piedmont Community College and a bachelor’s degree in history from Lenor Rhyne University. School media coordinators must have a master’s degree in library science, and Johanna earned hers from Appalachian State University. In 2014, she earned her National Board Certification. “I am still active in education. During the summer, I work with Pearson VUE, the testing company that manages the National Board Exam. My job is to score some of the components of the exam taken by both new candidates and those who are renewing. I also work during the year as a reading interventionist at W. A. Young Elementary School. Children who have difficulty reading are placed in small groups where they can have extra attention and help. It is very rewarding to see them making progress, and the program is working well.”

Johanna is one of those people who are able to visualize the complete project before beginning work. Since retirement, she has put that creative vision into practice by starting her own business called Bee Brite Floral and Events, focusing on seasonal trimming, Christmas decorating, parties, and wedding planning. “One of my inspirations was Veronica Cooke from Lowman’s Florist in Rutherford College. Veronica was a wonderful person, much loved by everyone. Sometimes she would need extra help at her business, and I worked with her off and on for about seventeen years. It was there that I developed my love of florals, and I’m so glad I had the opportunity to work with her.

“As for my East Burke teachers, I had so many great ones. I must mention my physics teacher, Jerry Murray, who took extra time to give me help in a course where I struggled. Our Anchor Club sponsor, Betty Pennell, taught us that character is important and that a life of service to others is truly rewarding. Participating in activities like cheerleading and homecoming were memorable highlights of my high school experience, and I value the good times with friends, teammates, and club members.

“During my teaching career, I worked for some excellent principals. Robert Patton at East Burke Middle had really high expectations of us. He was tough but very supportive and always saw the best in us; he was quick to provide us with what we needed to succeed. Albert Huffman at Ray Childers was very friendly and supportive, and Jeanene Fletcher Burris at Draughn showed how much she cared about us as people and not just employees. I have nothing but excellent things to say about every one of them.

“I loved my career in education, but I now look forward to success in my new business. I believe it is a privilege to be able to continue so many of the fun activities I experienced while teaching and expand them into creating events for others. I am excited about the possibilities to come.”

Published Febuary 2024

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