What Does Black History Month Mean to You? An IDEA Leader Perspective: Ruben Johnson

IDEA Public Schools will make its New Orleans debut when we open the doors to

IDEA Oscar Dunn in August 2019. The K-5 grade school will serve approximately

360 students in the city’s east side.

Recruiting hundreds of students in an unchartered territory for IDEA is no small task,

but it is one that student recruiter Ruben Johnson is taking head on because he

believes in the mission of the school. Read below to find out what inspired the

Louisiana native to serve youth for nearly 20 years and why Black History Month is

so meaningful to him.

1.    What interested you most about this field? Why did you choose this career path?

I have worked in the field of education since 1999 in a variety of different positions. I have served as a para-educator, behavior interventionist, special education co-chair and coordinator, education policy organizer, and education consultant. These experiences have helped me develop into a compassionate advocate and leader for the youth I serve.

Just recently I have completed graduate level coursework at Arizona State University in the school of Family and Human Development. Even in the midst of completing a rigorous graduate program, I continued to work alongside leaders in the field of education and gave voice to the needs of underserved youth.

2.    Why did you apply to IDEA Public Schools?

I applied to IDEA Public Schools because IDEA’s vision correlated with my framework of leadership; the vision for the leader is to promote a social self-image; a full commitment to raising standards for all students; to equity of outcome and closing the achievement gap. My vision is committed to sustaining a safe, secure and healthy school environment for all students. I believe that a collaborative professional learning community promotes a sense of collective responsibility for the worth and dignity of all members of my organization.

3.    What is the significance of Black History Month to you?

The significance of Black History Month is to know that past events opened the door to the future. When people understand the sacrifices our ancestors made throughout history, then they will understand that we have an opportunity to live out their wildest dreams. It is an accomplishment that should be celebrated for generations.

4.    What historic African American leader has influenced you most and why?

The historic African American leader who has influenced me the most is Marcus Mosiah Garvey Jr. He was a leader, advocate, journalist, and entrepreneur. He sought to unify and connect people of African descent worldwide, while being a noted civil rights activist. He continued his dream to educate the people until his death.

One of my favorite Marcus Garvey quotes is, “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots”

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