Spotlight: Journey From Teacher to Leader as an IDEA Founding Teacher Fellow

Morgan Johnson is a Founding Teacher Fellow from IDEA South Flores Academy. Morgan found himself traveling from California to Texas last year after being accepted into the Founding Teacher Fellows Program.

“I chose to work at IDEA after reading about the IDEA mission to help all scholars make it to and through college,” he said. “I had never heard of another school who had the same track record of success along with the support system for scholars to attend and graduate from college.”

Read on to learn about Morgan’s experience and his goals for the future.


What does your education journey look like in high school and college?

I attended high school at Temple City High School, in California and graduated in 2001. I then went to Citrus Community College in California, and graduated in 2003 with an Associates of Arts in Social Science and an Associates of Science in Physical Science. I transferred to California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, and graduated in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree as a double-major in Psychology as well as Gender, Ethnic, and Multicultural Studies, along with a minor in Criminal Justice. I then was hired as a Deputy Probation Officer in Riverside County, California, and worked there from 2007-2018. In the summer of 2018. I began my graduate course work through the Relay School of Education from New York with an anticipated master’s degree completion in the summer of 2020.

What do you love about working at IDEA? Why did you choose to work at IDEA?

I love teaching at IDEA because it offers me an opportunity to teach amazing scholars and to develop as a teacher through IDEA’s teacher career pathway. IDEA offers a challenging curriculum to scholars and provides in-depth coaching for teachers to increase their effectiveness in the classroom.

One of the biggest motivators in my life has been my desire to help other people. I had an opportunity to do this in my past role as a Deputy Probation Officer where I saw the ill-effects of poverty, lack of access to education, and lack of support through elementary, middle, high school and college. IDEA offers me the opportunity to impact children at a young age and to encourage them to and through college.

What was challenging about your first year that you had to overcome?

One of the biggest challenges I have had to overcome is moving from California with my wife, Veronica, and our three children – Jordyn (age 7), Emmett (age 4) and Liam (age 1). Moving across the country to a new city, to start a new career, to begin a new college program is tough. With the help of my amazing wife and extended family we have been successful in our move. Another challenge has been balancing my duties as a husband, father, educator, and graduate student. Again, the support from my wife, family, IDEA, and Relay Graduate School of Education have helped me get through the challenges. I am excited to see my own growth as an educator and the amazing growth of my scholars in the classroom.

Why did you choose to join the Founding Teacher Fellows program?

I chose to join the Founding Teacher Fellows program after searching for potential schools for my children in Texas. I was amazed to see the opportunity to be part of brand-new schools being built, along with being a part of an organization that is so focused on getting our children to and through college. The Founding Teacher Fellows program also gave me an opportunity to work as a leader at a new school in Tarrant County. It will allow me to develop as a leader and to further impact our scholars positively. I wanted to send my children to IDEA and thought it was a great opportunity to be a part of the organization myself. The Founding Teacher Fellows program has allowed me to receive college instruction, in-class coaching, as well as amazing mentorship under some of the best teachers and administrators in our team & family.

What would you say to someone thinking about applying for a role in the program?

I would strongly encourage people to apply for a role in the program! It is a great opportunity to work at high-performing schools, get quality coaching and instruction, and rapidly develop as an educator. Although the pace is fast and at times challenging, it is worth it when seeing the positive impact, we can have with our scholars.

What are your professional goals for the future?

My professional goals for the future are to complete my master’s degree in Education, obtain a certification and successfully work as a lead teacher. I also plan to work towards a leadership role within IDEA.

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