Lindenwood - Your Alumni Connection - Fall 2017

Michele Johnson (’15) was ready to get back into the workforce after staying at home with her children for nearly a decade. With a bachelor’s degree in social work from Delaware State University, Johnson has always been drawn to working with children with special needs. So, when she saw an ad for a tutor of children with dyslexia, she was excited to apply for it. “For this job, it turned out you had to go through a year-long master’s level training, which would certify me in the Orton- Gillingham method of remediation for children with dyslexia,” said Johnson. “I always liked to learn new things and I liked to teach, so I thought going through the training program would give me both sides. Once I got the certification, I was hired as a tutor at the Children’s Dyslexia Center in Belleville, (Ill.), which I did for about seven years.” At that point in her career, Johnson was yearning for something more and had a growing urge to earn her master’s degree. So, she left her tutoring position at the Children’s Dyslexia Center to start a master’s degree program in school counseling at Lindenwood Belleville. “This degree is actually a perfect fit for my career,” she said. “I was very sure I wanted a degree in school counseling; Lindenwood had that degree program, and I was very excited to see how close to home I could make my dream a reality.” Johnson said that while she hadn’t been to school in some years, she’s a lifelong learner and going back to school was more exciting for her than daunting. “All of the teachers were well versed in their fields,” said Johnson. “They all had real-world experience, which I appreciated, and they always made a direct connection between the book work and the application in real life.” Johnson said that during her final year of her master’s program, she was working, doing an internship with a charter school in East St. Louis, and taking classes at night. It was the most professionally challenging year of her life, and she was grateful to have professors who understood her ambition. In 2014, before completing her master’s degree, Johnson applied for and received the director position at the Children’s Dyslexia Center, where she said she is fortunate to be given such a great opportunity to do what she loves. “There is a whole band of people who come together to help students succeed in the area of reading and spelling, something most of us take for granted,” said Johnson. “When I see students come in who hate to read but then see their confidence grow…and then proudly accept their graduation certificates after working so hard, it is amazing.” A Scottish Rite charity, the Children’s Dyslexia Center provides free-of-charge, state-of-the-art, evidence-based, one-on-one tutoring for dyslexic children in grades 1-12, as well as master’s-level certification training to tutors of dyslexic students. “I use my education from Lindenwood on a daily basis,” Johnson said. “But more importantly for me, I wanted to earn a master’s degree. No matter what happens, I will have that for the rest of my life. I am proud to say I am a Lindenwood alumna.” Lindenwood University-Belleville FACULTY SPOTLIGHT JOHNSON GOES FROM TUTOR TO DIRECTOR AT DYSLEXIA CENTER by JENNIFER FERGUSON 16 Michele Johnson (’15) There is a whole band of people who come together to help students succeed in the area of reading and spelling, something most of us take for granted.” Michele Johnson “