Alumni, Uncategorized

Profile: MaryAnn Johnson

MaryAnn Johnson
Degree Conferral: 2001

Current research interests:

  • Early literacy interventions, centered on assessment-informed instruction, in high poverty settings
  • Effective professional development paradigms that support educators at all levels(pre service, early and mid-career, veteran)who facilitate literacy learning for readers in grades K-2
  • Motivational methods that engage struggling or reluctant readers
  • Parental involvement strategies in high poverty settings

Professional accomplishments:

  • Recipient of AARP Women of Color 50+ Making a Difference Award(North Carolina)
  • Author of professional text entitled Experience Matters: Maximizing the Growth of Veteran Teachers (Christopher Gordon, 2006)
  • Recipient of 2004 Outstanding Non-Tenured Faculty Award @Wheelock College
  • Recipient of Boston Urban Bankers Forum Education Award
  • Recipient of MA Department of Education sponsored Chapter 636 Citation as author of King For A Day and Voyage with a King, two educational games celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

How has your pursuit of the Lesley PhD in Educational Studies resulted in personal and/or professional opportunities for you?
Pursuing the PhD in Educational Studies allowed me the opportunity to experience a blissful marriage of research writing and ¬†numerous “wonderings” I wanted to explore. The program’s structure encouraged me to take risks as both a thinker and writer providing capable, compassionate faculty mentors who joyfully joined me on my academic journey. We were co-learners,and despite their deep wells of knowledge and experience, I always felt affirmed and respected. I never imagined I could author a text, but with their cheer leading and constructive criticism so sensitively and patiently delivered, I did. I now serve on a doctoral committee due to the enthusiastic outreach of my own committee chairperson.

Please share any tips for those considering a doctoral degree, embarking upon the Lesley PhD, or for those candidates who are engaged in writing the dissertation.

  • Understand that your social life must be drastically cut back; family and friends will not always understand the time commitment required to complete this program in a timely fashion. Plan your time or plan to fail. Bite the bullet, and having earned your degree, host a huge dinner party and invite all of your neglected family and friends!
  • Decide-early on-not to fight struggles alone by developing trusting relationships with your committee members (or other doctoral candidates) in which you share lows and highs of your academic journey. Select committee members based on both competence and compassion. The latter trait will serve you well when you’re not your best self, feeling deflated and ready to give up.
  • Vow to troubleshoot or to keep writing regularly, no matter how inept you’re feeling at the moment.


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