Johnson’s Versatility Big Plus In Role as Assistant Principal at Hopedale High

KEN HAMWEY Staff Sports Writer
Interim A.D. Is One Of His Functions
Issue Date: 
June, 2018
Article Body: 

​Tim Johnson was a teacher, coach and an athletic director at Blackstone-Millville Regional where he gained experience developing relationships with students, sharpening his organizational ability, learning how to be objective, and maintaining consistency in dealing with disciplinary issues.
​Those skills and the life lessons he learned as a multi-sport athlete in high school and college no doubt have been valuable assets during the last five years in his role as Hopedale High’s assistant principal.
​The 40-year-old Johnson, whose primary duty involves responsibility for student conduct, also assists in evaluating teachers and offering insight on the district’s curriculum as a member of the Curriculum Council that covers elementary through high school courses.
​At BMR, Johnson was on the faculty for 12 years, teaching biology and anatomy and physiology. He coached varsity and jayvee baseball, jayvee basketball, varsity cross-country and was an assistant in boys and girls track. During his stay at BMR, he coached for 22 seasons. The Uxbridge native also was the Chargers’ athletic director for three years.
​“As a coach, I dealt with handing out penalties for breaking rules or for poor behavior,’’ Johnson said. “I learned how to be consistent with disciplinary issues, whether the player was a star or a seldom-used reserve. On the plus side, I enjoyed helping kids learn life lessons, sportsmanship and teamwork.’’
​As BMR’s athletic director, Johnson honed his organizational skills. “I gained more experience in dealing with adults,’’ he said. “I was setting up schedules with other A.D.s and working closely with coaches. My organization skills improved and went to a higher level.’’
​During Johnson’s time as athletic director, he played a key role in adding varsity football to BMR’s sports menu. That endeavor may not sound like worthwhile preparation to become an assistant principal but as he reflects on that situation, Johnson sees that time as being very helpful in his current role.
​“It helped me to think through things from all perspectives,’’ he noted. “There are a lot of stakeholders in a move like that. There are players on other teams, the band, the boosters and other coaches, who were fearful of losing athletes to football. That endeavor taught me how to be objective and to understand potential repercussions.’’
​Johnson played football, baseball and basketball at Uxbridge and also ran cross-country. At Eastern Nazarene College, a Division 3 school, he competed in baseball, tennis and cross-country. As a senior, he was chosen as the Lions’ most-athletic player.
​Johnson has thoroughly enjoyed his five years as assistant principal and rates the students and the administrative team as major assets. “I do have to deal with disciplinary issues but it’s so rewarding when I can honor a student for positive behavior,’’ he emphasized. “We give out t-shirts to students who have demonstrated outstanding character or excellent achievement. I truly enjoy those times. And, I’m also pleased to be part of a great administrative team, working with Derek Atherton (principal) and Karen Crebase (superintendent).’’
​Johnson, who’s married and the father of four, lives in Uxbridge. He may be a Spartan at heart but he shows his affection for Hopedale in the family’s school-choice decision. Three of his four children attend Hopedale schools. “It’s a great school system,’’ he said.
​Johnson’s athletic background and his time as BMR’s athletic director proved to be invaluable when Bill Gaine, the Blue Raiders A.D., resigned. Johnson has been serving as Hopedale’s interim A.D.
​Johnson lists teamwork, consistency and objectivity as key elements that lead to becoming an effective administrator. All three have become essential parts of his approach. “Teamwork leads to good achievement,’’ he said. “Consistency is what’s needed in decision-making and being objective is crucial when dealing with students and parents.’’
​As a player, coach and A.D., Johnson relied on an athletic philosophy of competing to win, to reach one’s potential and to enjoy the athletic experience. “The life lessons that I learned in sports and tried to emphasize as a coach are developing a positive attitude and work ethic, overcoming adversity, having compassion and focusing on teamwork,’’ he noted.
​During Johnson’s stint as an athletic administrator at BMR, he had more ups than downs and he’s quick to recall positive times.
​“Starting football and girls volleyball in the same year was really exciting and rewarding,’’ Johnson said. “And, when Brett Buskey became a state champion in the 100-meter run in outdoor track, that was very memorable.’’
​Moments in sports that are rich and rewarding spur Johnson and he’s been delighted when a student with a discipline problem turns to athletics to let off steam. “I often encourage kids to get involved with athletics,’’ he emphasized. “It can be a great outlet and help them in so many ways. I’ve even brought in coaches to steer kids to sports.’’
​Johnson, who has his masters degree from Worcester State in administration and educational leadership, also is a certified athletic administrator. Hard-working and dedicated, he didn’t shy away from double duty when filling in as Hopedale’s interim A.D.
​“I like being busy,’’ he said. “At BMR during the 2010-11 school year, I was in my first year as A.D., I coached varsity baseball, taught three classes, I had two kids and another was on the way and my wife and I were moving into a new house.’’
​Being busy is an admirable trait but being effective as Hopedale’s assistant principal is even more rewarding for Tim Johnson.