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Annie Johnson

Head of Upper School
Subject/Department:  Science
Education:  Harvard University, B.A., Lesley University, M.Ed.
ext:  6271

Additional roles at Brookwood: Science Department Coordinator; soccer, basketball and lacrosse coach, Amory Parker Chair 2014-15
Faculty member since: 2007
Education: Harvard University, B.S.; Lesley University, M.Ed.
Favorite children’s book: The Table Where the Rich People Sit by Byrd Baylor and illustrated by Peter Parnall. It’s an elegantly crafted book that asks the question, “What really makes us rich in life?” In the end, it’s clear that material wealth can’t hold a candle to the wealth of beauty that nature doles out on a daily basis.
Favorite lesson to teach: Anything related to space fascinates me! The growth of knowledge about outer spaces seems to be exponential these days. And NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab continues to produce cutting-edge aerospace technologies that make new (and sometimes mind-boggling) discoveries.
Beyond Brookwood: With the help of Quarrybrook Experiential Education Center (Windham, NH) and Children in the Wilderness - Zambezi (Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe), I have traveled to Tsholotsho, Zimbabwe for the past eight summers to train science teachers in experiential teaching techniques. Bordering Hwange National Park in the northwest of the country, Tsholotsho is a remote, impoverished area and the schools there lack basic resources. In Zimbabwe, eco-tourism is a vital part of the economy, so a strong, vibrant, place-based science education can lead many young students into sustainable careers. In recent summers, we have expanded our outreach to women's groups as well, training women in micro finance and small business operations. I often daydream about Zimbabwe’s sandy schoolyards, stunning megafauna, and warm savannahs, and the many wonderful people I have met in my travels.
On risk-taking: I want my students to become “comfortable with discomfort.” Only adventurous learners are able to grow their disposition towards wondering and problem-finding and investigation.
What at Brookwood makes you a better teacher? Besides the remarkable human capital here? There’s a lot of warmth, support and humor. There’s autonomy. And there’s excellence. My colleagues are constantly prepping, tweaking, pushing for excellence. Teachers are compassionate, teachers have the freedom to create, they are dedicated to mastering their education discipline, and they are dedicated to fostering the best in each individual student. All of this combined makes for an exceptional community and learning environment for all of us.