Johnson wins Charry excellence award


Jen Heredia

PHOTO: LeeAnn Johnson with a red-tailed hawk. Alicensed wildlife rehabilitator, she has helped save more than 1,000 injured birds of prey the past 30 years

Natural Science laboratory instructor LeeAnn Johnson of Tonica was selected recently by colleagues as the winner of Illinois Valley Community College’s 2023 Stephen Charry Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence.

Johnson has taught biology labs at IVCC since 1992 as well as anatomy and microbiology labs. She was nom- inated for the Charry by biology lab student workers Isabella Lambert, Eli- za Atkinson and Kailey McCauley.

“Mrs. Johnson uses every aspect of the lab as a teaching opportunity,” said Lambert. “I have learned how to make bacteria cultures, use an autoclave and prepare for labs. She makes learning fun, is approachable and extremely knowledgeable.”

McCauley credited Johnson for motivating students to be active and concerned citizens.

A state and federally licensed wildlife rehabilitator, Johnson has led IVCC’s Raptor Rehabilitation Pro- gram for three decades and helped save more than 1,000 birds of prey including redtailed hawks, bald eagles, American kestrel, Cooper’s Hawk and great horned, barred and screech owls.

“She answers the call for injured raptors,” Atkinson said.

A native of Lostant, Johnson earned an associate degree from IVCC (while also playing softball and basketball), a bachelor’s in biology from Northern Michigan University and a master’s in biology from Northern Illinois Univer- sity.

She was the keynote speaker at the April 5 Student Academic Awards Ceremony and has been nominated for the 2023 Illinois Community College Trustees Association Outstanding Fac- ulty Member Award.