Trinity alumna Philonda Johnson ’05, founding principal of the KIPP DC: Discover Academy, will present the seventh Sower’s Seed Lecture on Tuesday, February 7, at 4:30 p.m. in Social Hall. Trinity students, faculty, staff, alumnae and friends are invited to attend the lecture. Students are encouraged to come at 4:00 p.m. and learn about community service opportunities available at Trinity.
Johnson is a dedicated educator and administrator, an expert in early childhood development, and a woman committed to making a difference. The Trinity community is invited to meet her, hear her story, and be inspired by an educator dedicated to meeting the academic aspirations of D.C. youth.
Johnson is the youngest person to serve as a principal of a KIPP school. KIPP DC is a network of high-performing, college-preparatory charter schools in Washington, D.C., which serve the city’s under-resourced communities and is part of a national network of KIPP schools (KIPP: Knowledge is Power Program). The KIPP DC: Discover Academy in Ward 8 in Southeast Washington, D.C., is a college-preparatory early childhood school serving 100 pre-kindergarten students. The school will grow to capacity to serve 280 students in pre-school through kindergarten.
As the founding principal and instructional leader of Discover Academy, Johnson recruited and trained 13 founding faculty and staff members and opened the school in July 2009. Johnson brings to her role as principal strong instructional design and delivery experience, excellent team-building skills, and a deep knowledge of child development and age-appropriate early childhood education strategies.
To prepare to be a principal, Johnson was selected to be a Fisher Fellow and participated in the year-long KIPP Foundation-KIPP School Leadership program. Prior to her fellowship, Johnson served as the Saturday school coordinator at the KIPP DC: Leap Academy, where she was also the founding lead pre-kindergarten math teacher.
Johnson graduated magna cum laude from Trinity in 2005. She majored in psychology with a focus in forensic psychology and she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa as a junior. After she graduated from Trinity, Johnson was selected to become a member of the Teach for America corps, and she was a pre-kindergarten teacher at the Clemente Martinez Elementary School in Houston, Texas. She then served as the assistant site coordinator of the 21st century after-school program for the Houston Independent School District.
As a student at Trinity, Johnson was a resident hall assistant and spent a summer working full-time as a literacy instructor and tutor for the Heads Up literacy program. During her years at Trinity, she was a victim advocate for the D.C. Coalition Against Domestic Violence and was a hotline volunteer and shelter advocate for My Sister’s Place, which serves victims of domestic violence.
Johnson will be speaking as part of the Sower’s Seed program. Established by Kelly Snider Dunn ’64 and her family, the Sower’s Seed program highlights alumnae who have incorporated into their lives the traditions of community service and social justice that are central to the Trinity experience and reflect the Catholic tradition that influences Trinity’s mission. These alumnae are invited to come to campus to share their stories with Trinity students, in the hope that their stories will inspire new generations to consider community service, either as a volunteer or as a career.