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Former teacher of the year in Ga. arrested on child cruelty charges

COVINGTON — A former teacher of the year at Social Circle High School in Newton County was arrested on charges of first degree child cruelty.

Julie Ann Johnson, 37, and Michael Lee Johnson, 52, were arrested May 12 by the Newton County Sheriff’s Office.

NCSO Investigator Jeff Alexander said deputies went to the Johnsons’ home at 2329 Ga. Highway 81 S. in Covington on May 8 to assist the Department of Family and Children Services serve a court-ordered removal of their two children, ages 7 and 8.

“When they arrived, the children’s grandfather was on the scene, and he wouldn’t let the deputies in, so he was arrested at that time,” Alexander said.

John Albert Johnson, 77, who also resides at the Ga. 81 address, according to the Sheriff’s Office, was charged with first-degree child cruelty and obstruction of law enforcement officers.

Alexander said that deputies returned a few days later, at which time Julie and Michael Johnson were arrested.

According to Social Circle Public Schools Superintendent Todd McGhee, Julie Johnson taught health occupations and was a bio/tech teacher at Social Circle High School. Johnson was named Social Circle High School’s Teacher of the Year for the 2012-13 school year.

She was hired in July 2005, but submitted her letter of resignation, effective May 9. The Social Circle Board of Education approved her resignation Friday, McGhee said.