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Time for a Change

James Johnson Jr. Switched Careers and Never Looked Back

May 19, 2017
James Johnson Jr. says he learned both the theoretical framework of teaching along with the practical aspects of it during his time at Touro College Graduate School of Education.
James Johnson Jr. says he learned both the theoretical framework of teaching along with the practical aspects of it during his time at Touro College Graduate School of Education.

A friend recommended Touro’s Graduate School of Education (GSE), and Johnson began pursuing his master’s in education there in 2008.

“I was really apprehensive,” Johnson admitted. “I didn’t know anything about Blackboard and some of the technologies used, but I wasn’t alone in returning back to school after a long period of time. Many of my peers in GSE were in the same boat so I had a network of people to rely on to encourage me.”

Johnson’s apprehension proved ill-founded as he managed a 3.94 GPA, which included eight A+s during his academic career at Touro. Johnson said he also appreciated the fact that the faculty of GSE taught both the theoretical framework of teaching along with the practical aspects of it, drawn from their own experience as teachers and principals.

“Touro employs real professionals from the Department of Education,” he explained. “We’re getting firsthand information from the instructors themselves about what works in the classroom in meeting Common Core standards.”

Johnson said he enjoyed an especially warm relationship with Touro professor Dr. Martin Kokol.

The connections Johnson made with fellow students and faculty also enabled him to easily find a job once he graduated. After three years as a childhood educator and successfully passing his licensing exams, Johnson decided to continue his education by beginning a Ph.D. program in leadership in higher education at Capella University. To better facilitate his Ph.D. studies, Johnson opted to parlay his experience to a different avenue for his abilities: a mandated instructor for Tutors on Wheels for special-education students. He chose Tutors on Wheels since the program enables him to have a larger impact on individual students.

“It’s a dream come true,” remarked Johnson. “I’m really affecting students on an intense basis because I visit them in their homes or schools.”

Many of Johnson’s students have seen a remarkable increase in their test scores since he began working with them, including passing the state-mandated Common Core assessments with flying colors.

In light of his successes, Johnson was recently promoted to Education Manager and Senior Recruiter for Tutors on Wheels. He said he’s now looking to hire some Touro graduates for the program.

“Private education can be lucrative and incredibly meaningful,” said Johnson.