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Johnson named ‘Most Outstanding Woman …’ for recycling effort

A Farmington teacher was named the 2009 “Most Outstanding Woman of the Year” for the state of Missouri.

Leanna Johnson has been a teacher at St. Paul Lutheran for 10 years. In the past couple years she encouraged her students to help start recycling efforts in Farmington. For her work she was recognized by the Farmington Women of Today organization.

In a statement, the organization said they “believe in recognizing other women who help the community and themselves.” Members of Farmington Women of Today wrote an essay referencing newspaper articles about Johnson’s recycling efforts that started with her class at St. Paul school.

The teacher was given the 2009 award and recognized during a ceremony Monday evening. She teared up and said she had a good role model in her mother.

“When you have a good role model growing up it’s easy. My mom started the first Project Graduation in Missouri in North County and moved to Farmington the next year and started at Farmington,” Johnson said.

During the ceremony she was asked how the recycling efforts began and where the idea came from.

“When my children started recycling when they were younger there was a business in Farmington that provided a place to drop recycling off. After a couple of years they closed and there was no other place to go. With five in my family we have a lot of trash,” Johnson explained. “When I began working with the students we joined Cyberfair, an online web site contest for students. It helps with the community. The former eighth grade students from St. Paul who are now sophomores at Farmington High School (had) the idea of recycling.

“We took field trips to recycling places in St. Louis and to Desloge and eventually set up the recycling bins at St. Paul. There the students were able to monitor the recycling from the school building to see if it would be justified and see how much money was saved to get recycling in Farmington.

“The students talked to Mr. (Greg) Beavers about (recycling) and gave two presentations to the city council about the project. Mr. Beavers wrote a grant and the city got the grant for the recycling program.

“I feel the students are in an elite group with the cyberfair competition. They build a web site and are taught why you do it,” said Johnson.

For her efforts with recycling, the Farmington Women of Today are donating $100 to a charity or group of Johnson’s choice.

The educator is working on her masters degree in Technology through University of Missouri online courses. She will continue working and teaching while she continues her studies.

Past women recognized by the Farmington Women of Today include Willa Dean Meyer, Karen Detring, Janet Douglas and Kathy Neiner among others.

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