4 Years of Growth
INTERVIEW WITH Kelly Johnson
K-3 READING CORPS ALUM – Minnesota & Michigan
Kelly completed her 4th year of service with MEC this past 20-21 school year. Her first year with AmeriCorps was the 2015-16 school year in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. She took a two year hiatus after her first year due going to school full time and a move out of state. She was able to get into a Mount Pleasant Elementary school for the 2018-19 year and spent her final three years there. During this time, she also completed her Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education. With her spare time, she likes to be with her husband and her two dogs, Truitt and Willow. She enjoys traveling home to Minnesota to visit family and friends. She hopes to spend the rest of her working career within the education field, specifically with Elementary aged children.
What initially inspired you to serve with Minnesota Reading Corps and Michigan Education Corps? I had spent my entire adult working life within retail management and sales. I had previously been with a large financial institution when I moved from my home of Duluth to Grand Rapids, Minnesota. I was not feeling fulfilled any longer and I came across a listing for a Literacy Tutor on a job search website. It caught my interest and I started thinking about a career change. I looked into the position and what was offered with the Education Award and I thought it would be a great opportunity to go back to school. I enrolled in my local Community College and applied for the Reading Corps position. I served my first year while taking only a few classes, I spent the following year going to school full time. I had been hired to go back to the same school the next year but my husband got a new job which prompted a move out of state. Unfortunately with the timing, there were no positions available when we first arrived in Michigan. I kept watch for the following school year and that is when the position at Mary McGuire opened. I knew I wanted to get back into a school so I applied and went from there!
Congratulations on completing 4 years of service with Reading Corps! What’s next for you? How will your service experience support your next steps? During my final year of service I was really debating which route I was going to go. I knew I wanted to be within education but wasn’t sure if I wanted to substitute or apply for a para position. I wanted to stay in the school that I was in but I was tired of the commute. It was 40 miles one way and it just wasn’t something I wanted to do anymore. I recently accepted a position within the Coleman School as an At-Risk Interventionist. I am extremely excited about it being very similar to what I was doing with Reading Corps!
What skills and experiences did you take away from your service with MEC? I think that the experiences I had with the staff will be very helpful in my next endeavor. Learning how to work with my colleagues in finding what is most beneficial to the students. I think that the scripts and structure of the interventions I used will help greatly in my new position.
What did you enjoy most about your service experience? I simply loved interacting with the students every day. That was my favorite part of my service. Being able to build relationships with them and watch them grow as little people as well as readers.
What is one thing that you want people to know about being a Literacy Interventionist that they might not know? Something that I am unsure of how aware people are is the importance of support within a school. Teachers have a lot on their plates and these kids need us. It may seem so small and inconsequential to some but it is truly important.
Is there anything else you want to share about your service experience? I loved serving as an interventionist. I wish it could be my forever job. I think when done properly and with passion it is highly effective. I know it may not be for everyone but if you are looking for a way to get in the door of the education world or just looking to help make an impact. It is well worth it.