Carver Elementary principal Joye Johnson, 63, passed away Monday at her Savannah home. Johnson won her bout with throat cancer several years ago, but recently fell ill, according to a family friend.
Johnson had taken some time off work recently, but was expected to make a recovery. She was scheduled to return to work on June 2.
Johnson’s buoyant personality and willingness to help others endeared her to many in the community during her nearly two decades as a Bryan County administrator. Johnson worked in the Liberty County school system before coming to Bryan.
"Besides being a dear friend, she was one of the most competent administrators I’ve ever known," Board of Education Vice Chairman Frances Meeks said. "She was loved by all the parents and teachers and the students adored her. She had such a wonderful personality and she charmed everyone just by being herself. I loved her dearly and I will miss her very much."
Carver Assistant Principal Crystal Morales said Johnson was one of a kind. Morales met with the Carver staff Tuesday morning as they consoled each other during this sad time.
"She was the finest person I know – inside and out," Morales said. "She always made you feel like you most important person in the room when she spoke to you," "And it was like that to everyone – faculty, students, parents. I loved her and admired her deeply. Her motto was ‘Carver plays pretty’, and she led this school to be the best it could be…and the same could be said for her life."
School superintendent Dr. Sallie Brewer said Johnson was very private when it came to her illness.
"Nothing could make me any more sad than this," Brewer said. "She was an elegant human being and first class all the way. She will surely live on in the lives of the thousands of faculty and students she has touched throughout her tenure."
Brewer said Johnson was a great mentor for teachers who had the pleasure of working under her, and that it was very rare to get a complaint from her school.
"Which is not to say that Carver never had any issues to deal with – Joye just had a way of making parents realize that she had a first class standard for her students and had their best interests in mind. They usually ended up on the same page before they left her office," Brewer said.
A memorial service for Johnson will take place Thursday at 1 p.m. at St. Anne’s Catholic Church.