Hilary Johnson was the young headmistress of Weatherfield Comprehensive. Her first interaction with the residents of Coronation Street was in September 2001 when English teacher Charlie Ramsden was going through personal problems and drinking heavily. Her pupils noticed and one of them chalked "Ramsden is a wino" on the board. Without any proof, Charlie blamed neighbour Todd Grimshaw with whom she had an abrasive relationship already. Mother Eileen was asked to attend a meeting to discuss the matter and, when the Grimshaws both lost their tempers, Todd was suspended for five days and Eileen was barred from school premises. Nevertheless, the incident alerted Miss Johnson to the fact that she may have a teacher with issues on her hands and urged Charlie in no uncertain terms to seek help. Under pressure from Sarah Platt and Candice Stowe, pupil Luke Ashton admitted to being the one responsible for the graffiti and a second parent-teacher meeting was convened at which Charlie was astonished to see that Luke's mother was her own natural mother Pam Hargreaves (Charlie having been adopted and only recently traced her birth mother). The incident did nothing to harmonise the fractious relationship between mother and daughter and Miss Johnson suggested that the pair try to sort their problems out between them.
By the following April, Charlie's drinking problem worsened, exacerbated by husband Matt Ramsden's infidelity with Maxine Peacock, and both pupils and teachers started to notice again. Suspecting something herself, Miss Johnson asked fellow teacher Ken Barlow if he knew anything but he denied all knowledge. Having caught her drinking heavily in the Rovers and then swigging from a vodka bottle in school, he felt he had no option but to report the matter to Miss Johnson who suspended Charlie from work. She felt she had no option but to resign and Ken, only in the position temporarily so far, was asked to increase his hours to take her place. When another teacher, Janette Forster accused Ken of reporting Charlie in order to take her job (although Charlie had told Ken she bore no grudges and had brought it on herself), troublesome pupil Aidan Critchley overheard and a year-long conflict between the two began. Miss Johnson asked Ken to apply for the full-time, permanent position, which he duly did, and a few weeks later she asked him to become a Senior Pupil Mentor offering one-to-one counselling sessions to pupils who needed more support. Ken accepted the position while admitting to his growing problems with Critchley. Miss Johnson sympathised as several teachers had similar problems with the boy. A few days later, though, she had to intervene in one of Ken's lessons when Aidan caused havoc by suggesting that Candice slept around with the boys. Miss Johnson, not realising that Ken was in the room, brought the class to order and Aidan admitted to Ken that it was his mission in life to drive him out of the school. As part of this "campaign", Aidan deliberately damaged Ken's car. Ken went to Aidan's house to speak with his father, Bob, but his father proved to be just as loutish and the meeting ended acrimoniously. Bob complained to Miss Johnson about Ken and she reprimanded him, suggesting that he might not be up to the mentoring role. Ken's problems with Aidan were brought to a temporary end when Peter Barlow visited Bob Critchley and threatened him if he didn't bring his son to order.
By the following September, trouble between Ken and Aidan flared up again. A temporary truce had been established when Ken got the boy a work experience placement at Coronation Street Garage but he used this as an opportunity to copy Ken's car keys when it was in for a service and then use the vehicle for joyriding. Out one night with Sarah Platt, he was involved in an accident in which Sarah was badly injured. Everyone was suspicious of Aidan but as his fingerprints were on the vehicle legitimately, the police had no positive proof. Nevertheless they took him away for questioning during one of Ken's lessons, much to his satisfaction. To Ken's horror, however, Aidan was quickly released and came back into the class, as cocky as ever and taunting Ken that the liberalism of several decades perpetuated by people like him had enabled Aidan to get off scot-free. Driven beyond endurance, Ken forgot his principles enough to punch the lad and break his nose. Ken immediately confessed what he had done to Miss Johnson and offered his resignation on the spot, although it was not accepted pending a court hearing, as Aidan had reported the assault to the police and Ken was charged. He appeared at Weatherfield Magistrates Court in January 2003 when he pleaded guilty and received a conditional discharge for a period of twelve months. Prior to a disciplinary hearing afterwards in front of Miss Johnson, which Ken didn't bother to attend, he submitted his resignation again, this time in writing, and left the school.
- Credited as "Miss Johnson", the character's forename was given as "Hilary" in dialogue in Episode 5249.
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