Hawker Brownlow Education


Pat Johnson


Pat was born and raised in Rutherford, NJ and received her
undergraduate degree in education from Douglass College, a part of
Rutgers University. She earned her master's degree at Bowie State
College in Maryland and completed her post-graduate work at George Mason
University, University of Virginia, and Virginia Tech.

"When I came out of college in 1972 with a degree to teach English
K-12, there were very few jobs. Teachers were in abundance. I landed a
job, over an hour from my home, teaching reading to middle school
students in a rural community. These seventh graders already had an
English class, but many were deficient or reluctant readers, so the
school decided they also needed a reading class. There was no
curriculum, no materials, and no one in the building to act as my
mentor. Though I was a first year teacher, the entire program was up to
me - six classes a day of thirty students each. There were very few
teachers known as "reading specialists" at that time, so the principal
suggested I continue to go for a master's degree in reading. That was
the best suggestion anyone ever gave me, as it helped me find my life's
work. Early on, I learned a lot of what I know on-the-job, literally
flying by the seat of my pants, but I have remained a learner throughout
my career. I enjoy going to state and national conferences, listening
to other teacher's thoughts and ideas, and am an avid reader of
professional journals and texts.

"I spent 20 years in elementary schools and 4 in middle schools, most
of that time working as a reading specialist. (I stayed home raising
children for seven years and had a tutoring clinic in my home.) When I
work with teachers and students I go into their classrooms to help solve
the problems that teachers face daily. I believe that working with
teachers over time, building on their repertoire, is the most effective
way to support ongoing learning. When I give a one-time-only workshop, I
always encourage teachers to continue the conversations that began that
day. Reading a professional book together is one way to support that