Leslie C. Johnson, 35, public school counselor

May 07, 2003|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Leslie C. Johnson, a Baltimore County public schools counselor, died Friday of complications from lupus at Johns Hopkins Hospital. The Lochearn resident was 35.

Since 1998, she had been the counselor for more than 500 children annually at the county's Halstead Academy of Art and Science in Hillendale.

Born Leslie C. Braye in Norfolk, Va., she was raised in the Lochearn neighborhood and was a 1985 graduate of Baltimore's Western High School, where she was elected to the National Honor Society.

After earning her undergraduate degree in education from Hampton University in Hampton, Va., she was awarded a full scholarship to Purdue University and earned her master's degree there. She was a member of the Gamma Theta chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.

"She just loved people," said her mother, Betty Braye, a nurse who resides in Lochearn. "She was a person who didn't see bad in anyone. As a child, she developed the ability to discern people. She was very perceptive."

"She was an awesome woman," said Elizabeth McCoy, whose nephew Mrs. Johnson counseled at Halstead several years ago. "For her, it was not just a job. She gave her heart, every day. I came to her crying, and she gave me everything I needed."

She was an elementary schools counselor in Benton County, Ind., for a year before moving home and joining the faculty of Logan Elementary School. She was a counselor at Mars Estate Elementary from 1995 to 1998.

"She was a happy, friendly presence at our school," said Halstead's assistant principal, Pamela A. Peters. "She was always smiling and was generous with her time. Students who had moved on and are now in middle and high school would come back to visit her. Children sought her guidance because she was approachable and won their respect."

While at the school, she coordinated a peer mediation program, training fourth- and fifth-graders to settle problems and issues on their own under her guidance.

"She could promote resolution of conflicts, togetherness and recognition of student achievement," said Tambra Chisolm, Halstead's social worker. "When you are a compassionate person, as she was, it heightens your ability to work well with children."

Mrs. Johnson also worked with Baltimore County students in a summer program run by the Living Classroom Foundation for three years .

She was an active member of Concord Baptist Church, 5204 Liberty Heights Ave., where services will be held at 11:30 a.m. today. She taught Sunday school, and was an usher and summer day camp supervisor at the church.

In addition to her mother, she is survived by her husband of 10 years, Robert Conner Johnson, an electrician; a son, Collin Xavier Johnson, 3; a daughter, Jocelyn Brianna Johnson, 6; her father, Clarence Braye of Lochearn; and a grandmother, Gladys Dumas of Biscoe, N.C. Her brother, Clarence E. Braye III, a Loyola High School honors student, drowned in 1981.

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