Roaming the halls of Ardmore Middle School a familiar face smiles as the children walk by.
For the past 45 years, Mary “The Fox” Johnson has been teaching the youth of Ardmore, helping future generations learn and grow.
Recently,  Langston University selected six women from the state of Oklahoma for their Women in Leadership award. Among the six was Johnson, the first woman from Southern Oklahoma to receive the award in its four years of its existence.
“When I was contacted I was quite surprised,” Johnson said. “I found out that people know of me and the things that I have done to work with students throughout the state of Oklahoma.”
Johnson was honored for her leadership in helping Highway 33 transform from a two-lane road to four.
“I got a letter from the president of Langston University, and I thought ‘why would he ask me. I live in Ardmore,’” Johnson said. “I don’t know anything about roads, highways, pavement or cement.”
Johnson does other civil work for the Ardmore community. She was instrumental in bringing the Langston University nursing school program to the University Center of Southern Oklahoma.
Johnson has received other awards for her civic acts from being named a Walmart Teacher of the Year to being named A Living Legend in Oklahoma.
Johnson has also helped kids who were struggling in school get into college by finding scholarships and helping improve their GPA’s.
“Some kids didn’t have the grade point average or the test scores to get into college, but through the help of the Lord, I was able to help guide those kids,” Johnson said. “I felt in my heart that these kids deserved a second chance.”
 Currently, Johnson teaches world geography to sixth graders and American history to eighth graders. Johnson has also taught at the high school level for more than 20 years in various subjects from reading and world geography to sociology.
There is no slowing down the “Fox” as she prepares for another summer break before heading into another school year. As long as she can, she plans to teach.
“Most important part of teaching is changing lives,” Johnson said. “I try to connect with students, not only for just nine months out of the year but I try to connect with kids throughout middle school, through their span through high school and their span through college.”