Shakopee teacher gets All-Star honor, meets Jill Biden

Shakopee teacher gets All-Star honor, meets Jill Biden

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MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) -

He's the longest serving softball coach in Minnesota, and on Tuesday, a Shakopee teacher was one of 30 teachers from across the country to be honored by Major League Baseball at the All-Star Game.

Neil Johnson teaches calculus, and has been at Shakopee High School since the 1970s -- and his career of excellence was recognized by a fellow educator whose husband occupies one of the highest offices in the country, Jill Biden.

"You know, we're at the All-Star Game -- but I think the real All-Stars are the teachers because they're the ones that change, shape, mold children's lives and that's so important here in America," Biden said.

VIDEO: Fox 9's All-Star chat with Jill Biden

When Johnson began his teaching career in 1975, the American League's All-Star team featured Hank Aaron, Rod Carew and Reggie Jackson taking on the likes of Johnny Bench and Pete Rose. Nearly four decades later, the Shakopee teacher made it to the big show himself.

"Very proud to wear a Twins jersey with my name on the back," he told Fox 9 News.

Johnson became the Twins' All-Star pick after his wife nominated him for the honor. He advanced to become one of the three finalists in the state, and after a month of voting, he was getting support from coast to coast.

"There's how many thousands of teachers in the state of Minnesota? How many teachers across the United States" To just get a shout out by Major League Baseball and Target and People Magazine is really neat," Johnson said.

After spending 39 years in the classroom, Johnson retired this spring -- but he will continue to serve as the Saber's softball coach. When he heads back to practice, he'll be able to tell his players about walking the red carpet with the vice president's wife and being serenaded before the game by Broadway star Idina Menzel.

"We're like little kids in a candy store with all of the different flavors, and everything is exciting for us," Johnson said.

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