I am pleased to announce that Dr. Johnson will join ISD next year as the Innovation Director, a new role replacing the Technology Director. The new role was created to expand our use of technology beyond Chromebooks or iPads, and to explore how students can identify problems, research relevant information, and use a myriad of resources to design solutions.
Educational and Professional Background
Nneka is currently the Lead Instructional Technology Specialist for Woodward Academy, the largest independent school in the continental United States. Originally from Guyanna, Dr. Johnson has a B.A. in Sociology and Urban Studies from Queens College in New York, an M.S. in Information Technology from Georgia State University, and a Ph.D in Curriculum and Instruction from Mercer University in Atlanta. Her dissertation was on adolescents and social media. Nneka has also been trained in design thinking at the Stanford d.school. In addition to 12 years at Woodward Academy, Dr. Johnson has taught in Australia and worked in the technology industry.
The Interview Process
There were 37 applicants for the position. I interviewed nine candidates in the first round and selected five to be semi-finalists. A committee, comprised of a classroom teacher, technology teacher, administrator, student, IT staff member, and parent, interviewed the five semi-finalists. Based on their feedback, three candidates were chosen as finalists and interviewed with the principals.
All three finalists received support from members of the semi-finalist committee. The principals were unanimous in their support of Dr. Johnson. Nneka was also the student choice, which was important to me. I was looking for a candidate who would bring a fresh perspective to the role and was a progressive educator. In the end, I felt Dr. Johnson had the most potential and was the best fit.
Nneka will come to Dakar in the spring to have cross-over time with John Wishart, our current Technology Director, and the rest of the technology team.
Her husband Joe, who is a veteran middle and high school English teacher, will join Nneka. He has over 20 years experience working in public and private schools in the United States. Joe is a veteran coach and will help our program as well. Their current references see them as community builders. We are excited to have them join the ISD community.