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American Program Bureau Speaking to the world for over 50 years

LouAnne Johnson

Inspirational Teacher & Author
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Biography

As portrayed by Michelle Pfeiffer in the movie Dangerous Minds, LouAnne Johnson’s stint as an honored Marine Corps Officer and US Navy journalist seemed easy in comparison to being a public school teacher. Wrestling with a class of challenging adolescents faced with their last chance at school, she helped them turn their lives around by bringing out the inherent value in each of them, honoring their spirit, and nurturing their newfound self-confidence.

Johnson’s style is to encourage students, rather than condemn them, persuade rather than threaten, and earn respect, rather than demand it. Her constant support and unorthodox teaching strategies instituted a phenomenal success rate in her students with a first place ranking in higher grade point averages, increased self-esteem, academic achievement, and class retention.

Johnson is the author of several nonfiction books, including the heralded bestseller, My Posse Don’t Do Homework, which was adapted for the movie, Dangerous Minds. Her common sense, humor, and practical, down-to-earth ideas about education come to life in her other books, including Teaching Outside the Box: How to Grab Your Students By Their Brains, The Queen of Education: Rules for Making Education Work, and her latest, Kick-Start Your Class: Academic Icebreakers to Engage Students. Johnson debuted her first young adult novel with the release of Muchacho, an inspiring story about a teen's determination to overcome obstacles to create a better future for himself. Her latest work of fiction is That Darn Donkey!, written under the pseudonym "Alyce Shirleydaughter" (a name that honors her late mother who died battling breast cancer).

With an unconventional strategy for fostering success in her students, and her passionate advocacy for schools, Johnson has received national acclaim, appearing on Oprah, CBS's Eye to Eye, NBC's Weekend Today, Maury, and CNN. She is currently working with Re-Invention Television, LLC, on a new series titled Diary of a School that will highlight one public school per episode in order to provide a comprehensive look at every facet of public education. In March 2013, she was inducted into the Defense Information School Hall of Fame for excelling in journalism, photography, and videography.

LouAnne Johnson's knack for finding original solutions to intractable problems has not only made her an exemplary teacher, but also a popular and inspiring speaker.

Read full bio.

Topics

Teaching Outside the Box

Johnson shares the strategies and philosophy that have enabled her to successfully motivate students from many different cultural and economic backgrounds. She shares her technique for detecting the bullies and outcasts in a classroom, along with the findings of her recent research into the connection between nutrition and aggressive behavior, and the effects of essential fatty acids on brain function. She outlines her own practical strategies for turning reluctant readers into eager readers. Johnson's anecdotes about her experiences in the classroom will bring tears to your eyes and laughter to your heart.

The Power of Choice

A highly motivational presentation that often inspires audiences to laughter and tears, Johnson shares her journey from Caucasian small-town Pennsylvania to multicultural inner-city California, and the experiences that shaped her teaching philosophy. She attributes her success as a teacher to the "unteachable" students who taught her how to teach them. Johnson outlines the lessons she learned from those students, as well as the classroom situations that inspired those lessons and the strategies that teachers can use to motivate students to choose success over failure.

The Queen of Education

With humor and passion, Johnson outlines her plan for saving our public schools, using common sense to issue "royal edicts that are in the best interest of the children of this nation and not in the best interest of politicians." For example, Queen Johnson will require that every elected government representative in this country must spend two full weeks in a public school classroom teaching from the curriculum and materials available – and living on a public school teacher's salary. Although Johnson's edicts are not meant to be taken literally, her message is: our public school system can and should be saved.

Dangerous Minds

Johnson takes the audience behind the scenes for a look at the metamorphosis from the nonfiction book My Posse Don't Do Homework to the semi-fictional movie Dangerous Minds: karate and kissing in the classroom, Miss J's take on racism and respect, candy as a motivational tool, inspiring reluctant readers to tackle Shakespeare, the poetry project and Emilio's real story.

Develop Your Dangerous Mind!

Witty, entertaining and inspiring, Johnson shares the best of the life lessons she has learned while pursuing her "impossible" dreams. Her latest dream, an audio book narrated by her fictional bilingual character, Eddie Corazon, former juvenile delinquent and current poet philosopher of Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. Eddie's poetry will inspire students of all ages to reach for their own dreams.

Follow Your Dreams

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