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Chandler teacher wins classroom makeover contest

Posted at 6:24 PM, Mar 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-18 21:24:35-04

CHANDLER — Looking her best for a big day. First grade teacher Jann Johnson and her family are waiting anxiously outside Jacobson Elementary School in Chandler Friday.

“I’m nervous and excited and I can’t wait,” said Johnson.

The teacher of 22 years recently selected by a company called School Girl Style for a complete classroom makeover. The popular classroom decor company based in Michigan chose Ms. Johnson out of more than 15,000 applicants across the nation. Over the last week, her room was stripped clean. Melanie Ralbusky, creator of School Girl Style, and her team went to work. Telling ABC15, choosing Ms. Johnson was the easy part.

“She is fun, she is outgoing, and we could tell that she loved her students, and she loves teaching,” said Ralbusky. “This is our mission at School Girl Style, to improve the lives of teachers everywhere.”

“No matter what it looks like, I’m gonna love it,” said Johnson walking arm and arm with Ralbusky.

“Just fake it,” said Ralbusky as they both burst into laughter.

“I will not have to fake it,” responded Johnson.

Johnson held back tears as she entered her longtime classroom, getting a tour and finding surprises at every turn.

“It’s so fun,” shouted Johnson.

Her newly designed classroom now featuring group reading and learning areas.

“Oh my gosh, look at the couch, it’s like perfect for little people,” exclaimed Johnson.

The team installed homework drop off and collection bins, a student work display wall and a decked out new desk complete with a special framed picture of Justin Timberlake for the NSYNC fanatic.

“Oh, my goodness that is so funny,” said Johnson, laying eyes on the picture.

It’s a blessing that couldn’t have come at a better time. Delivering what feels like a fresh start, following the challenges of the pandemic.

“It was hard, and I didn’t know how to do it, I didn’t know how to look at a computer and connect with my kids,” said Johnson, wiping away tears.

It’s a worry she certainly won’t have anymore. Her mother, a teacher for 27 years herself overcome with emotion, embracing her daughter as she began to cry. It was an incredible moment for a special fraternity of longtime educators shocked by the kindness of a company spreading joy one classroom at a time.

“It’s so much more than I could have ever imagined,” said Johnson.