Where’d We Get Our School Name?

We are Toby Johnson Middle School.  In our district, many schools are named after educators who dedicated their lives to ensuring that future generations develop skills for success and become positive and productive members of our global society.  We’d like to introduce you to our school’s namesake, Toby Johnson.  This student post is by Isis.


Toby Johnson

Mr. Tobias Johnson, familiarly known as Toby, was born June 5th, 1917.  Toby Johnson was one-year-old when his father died in 1918. He and his mother moved to Courtland to live with his grandparents.  His grandparents were farmers.  After his grandmother’s death, Toby, his mother, and grandfather moved to Sacramento, which isn’t far from Elk Grove.  Johnson graduated from high school in 1934.  He went to the University of Berkeley and worked for the Ford Motor Company. Mr. Johnson also served in the Marine Corps. He also worked for a variety of school boards and spent 16 years as a Sacramento County Supervisor.  Toby Johnson was a teacher, a principal, a [personnel] director, a superintendent, and an overall great person. He and his wife, Sue, always came to our school’s special events such as promotion, and award ceremonies.  Unfortunately, he died last year on November 17, 2014 due to health issues.  We will miss him.  However, in Mr. Johnson’s words, “You always have to keep an open mind about what will happen if you don’t take action”.  Toby Johnson understood the importance of education to us and pursued his dreams to help us achieve ours.  He will be remembered fondly, and we are proud that our school is named after him.

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22 thoughts on “Where’d We Get Our School Name?

  1. Thank you for your this post Mrs. Groves, I learned many things. One thing I learned was that Mr. Johnson went to Berkeley, that is one of my dream colleges that I would love to attend. I also learned that he was once a teacher! This article makes me more knowledgeable about the great school I attend. The only question I have is, did you ever meet him and was he a funny person?

    • Taj, I did get to meet Toby Johnson. He loved this school and came to all of our promotions. He also came to events like Back to School Night and Royal J Awards Ceremonies. He once told me that one thing he wished he could have done was to visit The Orient. I thought of him a lot when I went to China in 2013. I’m not sure if he was a funny person, but I certainly imagine that he was. Such a nice man must have a great sense of humor.

  2. Thank you for sharing this wonderful information with me. I feel much closer to the school knowing that Mr. Johnson graduated from University of Berkeley and that he had died only a year before the new class of 7th graders came. This really does impact me knowing the creator of this amazing school tells us to keep an open mind, and we all should take action; so we should keep his wise words in mind.

  3. Thank you Isis I’m happy to know that he lived a great life. He was a great man. I didn’t know he was in the Marine Corps. Can you tell me more

  4. I find this article very interesting because I didn’t know Mr.Johnson served in the Marine Corps. Also I didn’t know the his full name was Tobias Johnson. I just thought that his full name was Toby Johnson. I wonder what other interesting things happened in Mr.Johnson’s life. Thank you for posting this article I found this very interesting.

  5. This post was very interesting to learn about. In this article, I find that Mr. Johnson haven’t really had a father figure. He probably was an independent man. I didn’t even know that his name was Tobias Johnson. I wonder what he did in his childhood without his dad being there for him.

  6. Thank you Mrs. Groves. I’m happy to know that he was happy and successful. I didn’t know he was in the Marine Corps. If you know, do you know what high school he graduated from?

  7. Thank you so much for writing such an amazing article about a very fascinating person who represents our school. I couldn’t think of a better role model for our school to look up to.

  8. Thank you Isis for this article. One thing I learned was that Toby Johnson was in the marine corps and served for our country. This makes me feel proud to go to a school named after a good person who help many different people. A question I have is will he be remembered by students in the future?

  9. I loved that this article included specific dates! These facts made it feel like a cool piece of history, even though it may not be that far in the past. I learned that Toby Johnson’s real first name is Tobias. Do you think that many people know the history of our school’s name?

    • Celine, I don’t think many students wonder where our school got our name. Since I’ve been teaching here from the beginning, I have met Mr. and Mrs. Johnson a few times. They are both gone now, but were wonderfully kind people.

  10. You did a great job writing this article! It taught be about the name of our school, and who Toby Johnson was. I wonder what made him decide to move to Sacramento.

    • Emma,
      I think we may be able to find other articles that describe Toby Johnson and the reason he moved to Sacramento. His 2014 obituary just says that after his military career, he moved to Sacramento and entered the field of education.

  11. It was interesting learning more about his life like when he graduated, what he did, where he went to college, etc. I never really knew anything about this. I also learned that he was a very good person. I wondered if he wanted to stay in the military or do something about education.

    • Samuel, I met Mr. Johnson a few times, and he seemed to really love our students. If I were to guess, I’d say he wanted to be more involved in education for most of his life.

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