Johnson has worked for 13 years as the Iron County School superintendent, and for 36 years total in education, as a teacher, principal, Assistant Superintendent and Superintendent. He is currently the president of the Utah Superintendent’s Association, and serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of Southern Utah University. He is also a member of the Northwest Accreditation Committee for the Utah State Office of Education and is serving as a member of the Governor’s Education Excellence Commission.
“I cannot think of a more deserving individual to be recognized as the Utah Superintendent of the Year than Jim,” said Dr. Stephen Allen, president of the Iron County School Board. “He is a visionary leader who is eternally optimistic, and knows how to implement meaningful change while obtaining ‘buy-in’ and support from those he leads.”
One of Johnson’s accomplishments was playing a key role in the creation of Success Academy (college prep) High School, which is a partnership school between SUU and the Iron County School District that allows graduates to complete high school with their Associate’s degree from SUU. He is also instrumental in starting the district’s first-ever elementary lab school, similar to the Edith Bowen Lab School at USU. This new lab school is another partnership with SUU and North Elementary that will provide college students with practical training for teaching while providing additional one-on-one help to under-advantaged students.
He was one of the first in the state to develop and use formative online assessment in reading to help teachers, parents and students know exactly how they are performing in reading at various times throughout the school year. Teachers in Iron County measure student ability each fall and in the spring and hold themselves accountable to ensure academic growth for every child.
Under Johnson’s leadership, the district has managed growth well, been fiscally responsible, implemented a Response to Intervention (RTI) program that meets the educational needs of every single student in the district, and produced end-of-level test scores that are consistently higher than state and national averages. He has also lead the way in innovative ways to produce green energy, which includes groundsourcing; a way to cool and heat schools using thermal tubes buried deep in the earth.
Dr. Patti Harrington, Executive Director of the Utah School Superintendents Association indicated that Supt. Johnson was selected from among his peers in the organization and across the entire educational structure representing parents, staff, teachers, and principals.