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Johanna Riddle writes and teaches on the topic of integrated learning and multiple literacies, combining twenty five-years of experience as a classroom teacher, art teacher, arts administrator, and media specialist.
She received her master's degree in educational media from Nova Southeast University. She is a Fulbright Scholar and has been recognized as one of Florida's Art Educators of the Year. During her long career she's served as district art supervisor, art teacher, adjunct instructor, second-grade teacher, and gifted enrichment teacher. Most recently she was the media specialist at Samsula Elementary School in the Volusia County School District in Florida.
Johanna says that teaching is in her blood. "I am a tenth-generation American and fifth-generation teacher. "I can't imagine a more interesting or rewarding field. I never have to wake up in the morning wondering whether my life is making a positive difference. I know that what I do, every day, has lasting impact and meaning in my little corner of the world."
She believes that teachers have a unique opportunity to empower their students. "I want to cultivate students who are hungry to learn, who want to find ways to make learning their own, and who ultimately see that connection between what they do in school and the reality and possibility of their lives," Johanna says. "I also love the idea that I never know who is going to walk into my life through the classroom, or how the shared experience of learning will change us."
Johanna would gladly sit at a classroom desk herself. "I could, absolutely, become a full-time student myself," she says. "I really, really love sharing and thinking and discussing. I have been strongly influenced by the philosophies of Maria Montessori and Parker J. Palmer. I believe that in order to be a whole teacher, you must first be a whole person, and I believe that professional development should thoughtfully address that—not just what we do in the classroom, but why we do it. I am especially interested in methodologies that include and synergize. That needs to be balanced with intelligent learning—keeping up with trends and philosophies, discussing them with peers," Johanna explains. She is also a firm believer in the potential of public schools and thinks that the concept that schools are dedicated to educate every child is a very powerful one. "But I have concerns that the system, as it currently exists, is a white elephant, running behind the real world.... In order to be purposeful, education has to be in sync with the world as it exists today."
Johanna tackled writing her book "one bite at a time.… I began every month the same way, staring at a blank computer screen, willing myself to write, but at the end of every month, I seemed to have churned out fifty or so pages," she explains, adding that finally seeing her very own Library of Congress number was a thrill. "That's like an Olympic Gold to a media specialist!"
Johanna is a photographer, writer, and organic gardener. She enjoys cooking and has earned a couple of awards for her culinary efforts. She is interested in dancing and is a passionate reader and traveler. She's been married to her husband, Greg, for thirty years and they have two grown children, James and Andrew.