I’m a Tulsa Kid: Madison Johnson

Madison Johnson, a recent Tulsa Memorial High School graduate, was elected in June to lead the nation’s future teachers as the 2015-16 Educators Rising National President. The organization was formerly Future Educators Association (FEA). While at Memorial, Madison served as the school’s FEA president. Madison is currently a freshman at the University of Oklahoma majoring in Special Education.

TK: When did you decide you wanted to pursue teaching as a career?

Madison:  The second semester of my freshman year in high school I was given the opportunity to try out Peer Tutoring, where I would have a class period dedicated to working with children with developmental disabilities. I had never worked with students before, so I had no idea what was in store for me. On the first day of Mrs. Karen Martin’s History class, I fell in love with the students and the profession.

TK: Your mother, Stephanie Johnson is a teacher with Tulsa Educare. How has she inspired you to pursue teaching?

Madison:  Some summers, my mom would bring my sister and me up to school with her and show us how her class would run and the activities they would do. I loved being the helper! I didn’t realize it at the time, but it had a subconscious effect on me. My mom never forced the profession onto me, but once I decided that teaching is what I wanted to pursue, she was very supportive and mentored me.

TK: You were elected the National President of Education Rising, an organization in which students explore the teaching profession and gain authentic, hands-on teaching experience. What is your role as student president?

Madison:  Being elected National President of Educators Rising is certainly one of my biggest achievements, and I would not be the National President of Educators Rising without Ms. Shawna Mott-Wright. I did not have the confidence in myself to even apply, but because of her never-ending support, I did. As an organization, we have one president and two vice-presidents. Being a National Officer in general, you are expected to be a passionate ambassador for Educators Rising, participate in conference calls, travel, attend and speak at conferences, and help plan the next National Educators Rising Conference. As president, I hold a lot of responsibility and am held to higher expectations. As National Officers, the three of us focus heavily on collaborative working, the name of “president” and “vice president” are just the title we have.

TK: What would you say is the foremost issue facing education in Oklahoma today?

Madison: I would say that children in the higher poverty parts of our state are facing classrooms without teachers that remain in the profession. We have a definite teacher shortage in certain geographical areas and subjects like elementary education, science, math and history. Recruiting people into the noble profession of teaching in high poverty schools and remaining in the field are very important issues today in Oklahoma.

TK: Is there a particular type of teaching that you want to pursue once you graduate from college?

Madison: When I graduate from college, I would love to teach high school Special Education, with a focus in job training. A huge goal for students with autism is to be able to have a job and make a living, and nothing would make me happier than to help them reach that goal.