Hello to my Dixie Kids! My name is Scott Johnson.
I grew up in Erlanger at a time when the KFC next to Dixie's campus was a Dairy Queen, the Subway was a Dunkin Donuts, and the McDonald's was in its original look, (it has been completely changed 3 or 4 times since then) as the FIRST McDonald's in Kentucky!
While attending Erlanger Lloyd High School, I was Editor of the School Newspaper, ran Cross Country, and played the Baritone in the Concert Band.
You have probably asked yourself or your teachers: "Why are we doing this? I am never going to use this!" I protested exactly like that when they made me take a class called "Personal Typing", (like keyboarding today) where we learned to "type", (keyboard) on an actual typewriter, (think a cross between a computer keyboard and a printer, but with no computer) a thing that had been around with very little change since 1860, (the start of the Civil War)!!! My argument was that "I am not going to be a Secretary typing letters for bosses, so this is stupid, and you can't make me take this stupid class." They made me take the class.
But then, a few short years later, Apple and Microsoft came out with computers, and it ended up being really cool that my Principal and Teachers had made me take "typing", because now I can "keyboard" like 70 - 80 words per minute, (wpm) which in case you don't know, is smoking fast! Also, which I now understand after studying and being a Psychology Teacher, means that when I text or send emails on my IPHONE, (I use my right thumb, holding the phone in my right hand) my brain still knows where the keys are, even though I am not "typing" or "keyboarding."
So my point is that if you work hard on your school stuff, you are training your brain like an athlete conditions for a sport or like a musician practices to be better at their music. School trains your brain, not to do this exact thing, but so that your brain is tough enough for you to be good at what will make you money and make you happy in life.
After Lloyd, I was the first in my family to attend college, going my first year to NKU, where I earned grades which put me on the Dean's List, (like Honor Roll in high school). With that, I talked my parents into letting me go away to UK, where I earned a Bachelors Degree in Political Science, (think Social Studies).
Although I had thought about being a Teacher, a Lawyer, or maybe a Diplomat working overseas for the U.S. Government, (I still speak pretty good German, but I hadn't really decided) the company that my Dad had helped found in 1957 suddenly DOUBLED in size, and my older brother, (9 years older than me) was making good money, so I decided to follow them into the business of handling everything to do with car / truck vehicle fleets that operate locally or even nationwide. And so, I did that for 25 years, eventually leaving the family company and working for a Fortune 500 Prescription Drug / Medical Supply company that worked with the Retirement Home Industry nationwide. My office was in the 17th floor Penthouse, (top floor) of one of the riverfront office towers in Covington.
Then three things made me realize that what I really wanted to do next was to be a Teacher.
1) I really LOVED being a Dad, (my son is now 23 and my daughter is now 20) but I could see as they went through Middle School and High School, that my time being a "hands on" Dad would come to an end before too long. It would not be that they would no longer need me at all, but it would be that they would not need me as much or as often to help them figure stuff out, because that period in our lives of seeing each other daily would pass. That made me sad, because I really got inspired by inspiring them to always learn and always do their best.
2) I volunteered to be one of the Parent Representatives on the School Council of my kids' Elementary School, and then ended up getting elected TWICE to the School District Board of Education, (8 years total). In case you might not know what a School Board does, they are people like your parents, grandparents, neighbors, etc. who run for the Board, get elected, and then volunteer their time, (no money) to help the District Superintendent, who helps school Principals and Teachers, make the best decisions possible, and find the money to support those decisions, in order to give you, our students, the very best start in life that we can help you achieve. This made me want to "work", not just volunteer, in Education.
3) After my 25 years in managing vehicle fleets all over the United States, and with my office on the top floor of a 17 floor building, working for a $7 Billion company with 17,000 employees, I really felt like I had hit the top, (literally) and wanted to do something different, something different than what I had been doing since I graduated from college.
I wanted to go back to what I had studied in college, being a teacher, in general, and a Social Studies Teacher, in particular. I wanted to do something that made me feel like I was giving back to our community by giving back to students exactly like you. I wanted to give you all the support and mentoring advice that I had learned from the things that went right and the things that I could have done better in my own life. I wanted to give back to you like I had given to my own kids, by helping you to make it so that you could decide for yourself that being better today than yesterday, and better tomorrow than today, for the rest of your life, would be the best way to make you money and make you happy in your life. And so, rather than just talking about doing something, I went out and did it. I invested in myself in order to be trained to be a teacher so that I could invest in you, and so that you could invest in you. I went back to college, this time Graduate School, TWICE, earning straight A's, and became a Teacher.
My first teaching job was Social Studies, where I taught U.S. History and Psychology. Besides that, I had also studied what is sometimes called Social Emotional Learning or Adverse Childhood Experiences, (ACEs) and also called Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, (PTSD) from Childhood Trauma. Although Psychology is part of Social Studies, teaching Psychology and studying ACEs led me to go back to college AGAIN to study be an Exceptional Learner Teacher, (aka Special Education) specifically focusing on Learning Behavior Disorders, (LBD) and Emotional Behavior Disorders, (EBD) the stress that comes from stuff that happens, in one form or another, to the majority of Americans, but which frequently "hangs around" after the "junk" is gone. This Teaching job, (new to me) meant doing exactly what I really wanted to do in being a Teacher: Mentor my students to deal with their "junk" and move on to be all that they can be in life.
Over these five years of becoming and working as a teacher, I have reached the conclusion that "junk" in our lives as kids is WAY more common than most people would think. I also came to the conclusion, based upon "junk" or maybe just intense challenges that I had seen my parents deal with, and which I have had to deal with myself at various points in my life, as combining to make me want to teach this simple idea, (but in a lot of different ways):
"Life is less what happens to you, and more how you deal with what happens to you."
And so, to you, my students, my "Dixie Kids", always remember and never forget, that I am not here working with you because I have to be here, I am here, working with you, trying to help you find the best way to be the best you, because I want to be here doing that, working with you so much, that I need to be here to make myself happy by making you happy with yourself!
I am looking forward to meeting you and working collaboratively, (you and me as partners) with you, your parents, or whomever else you choose to get you ready to make yourself happy in the life that comes after Dixie for you!
~ Mr. Johnson