This event is free and open to the public, but reservations are required; please contact the Alumni Affairs Office, 878-6001, by October 15.
Johnson, a former U.S. Navy journalist, Marine Corps officer, and high school teacher, is the author of the New York Times bestseller Dangerous Minds (originally titled My Posse Don’t Do Homework). The book—Johnson’s memoir—was published in eight languages and was adapted for the 1995 feature film starring Michelle Pfeiffer. Johnson will discuss her career and sign copies of her new book and first novel, Muchacho, before and after the presentation.
Johnson’s visit is intended to help revive the Buffalo State Education Alumni Chapter, said Leslie Day, lecturer of elementary education and reading and director of the Professional Development Schools Consortium. Day and Sharon Cramer, SUNY Distinguished Service Professor of exceptional education, are coordinating the event. They both served in several board positions for the alumni chapter in the 1990s, but said activity has been quiet this decade.
“Part of the reason we scheduled Johnson to speak on Saturday was to allow as many local teachers and alumni to participate as possible,” Day said. “I met Johnson earlier this year at the National Association for Professional Development Schools annual conference in Daytona Beach. She’s a dynamic speaker who shares strategies and real-world experiences with challenging students. She also has cutting-edge thoughts on how to change how we educate students.”
Johnson is the author of several books, including Queen of Education; School is Not a Four-Letter Word; The Girls in the Back of the Class; Making Waves; Two Parts Textbook, One Part Love; and Teaching Outside the Box: How to Grab Your Students by Their Brains. In addition to her continued work as an English and ESL instructor, Johnson has given numerous presentations, conducted workshops for education students at colleges across the country, and appeared on such programs as Oprah, CBS’s Eye to Eye, NBC’s Weekend Today, the Maury Povich Show, and CNN’s Talkback Live.
Johnson earned scholastic honors at the Defense Information School and was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal and Air Force Achievement Award for her work as a journalist and radio/television broadcaster. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in English education.
Day believes that attendees will enjoy the event and that it is a good fit for Buffalo State. “Johnson is a successful urban educator, and we have a commitment to urban education,” she said. “We can all learn something from her.”
Johnson’s visit is cosponsored by the School of Education, the Buffalo State Alumni Association, and the Barnes & Noble at Buffalo State Bookstore.