Teacher Researcher Center Fellows
Corry Daniel Johnson, Master Teacher, Urban Center Fellow
Math Teacher, William R. Raines High School
Corry, a Jacksonville native and father of two high school boys who attend Duval County Public schools, is a stakeholder in and advocate for public education. A 2014 graduate of the University of North Florida, he earned a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Mathematics. and a minor in Professional Education. Corry believes “that compassion is paramount to breaking down social barriers and that an honest, confident personality will help him build trust with his students”. As a participant in the Jacksonville Teacher Residency’s first cohort he began his teaching career as a mathematics teacher at The William M. Raines High in August of 2015 and graduated with his Master of Education in 2016.
Corry is a true advocate for all his students. His emphasis on the importance of educating the whole child goes above and beyond focusing on mathematics but also on building positive relationships, developing leadership characteristics and becoming a successful member of society. The high expectations Mr. Johnson has for his students is apparent from the moment you walk in his classroom. As you enter you see a large photo of Corry holding a bass – the caption under this photo says, “If you give a man a fish you feed him for a day, if you teach a man to fish you feed him for a lifetime”. Mr. Johnson uses humor and student friendly language that not only engages students but communicates his high expectations for their work. When asked about Mr. Johnson’s teaching style, a student in his class responds, “Mr. Johnson tells us to stop saying we can’t and pushes us to do what we need to do even if we think we can’t. He is also really good at explaining things”. This sentiment was echoed by multiple other students in Mr. Johnson’s class. Students are engaged in their own learning as they work cooperatively with their teacher and classmates in making math relevant and even fun! Mr. Johnson is also a baseball coach at Raines, engages in action research on his own practice and continues his active involvement in JTR by supporting fellow teachers and JTR residents.
Interview with Corry Johnson
Master Teacher Center Fellows have a well-developed sense of teacher efficacy and take responsibility for supporting all students both emotionally and academically. How do you support students academically and emotionally?
I try to learn as much as I can about them at the beginning of the year. I want them to think outside of the immediate and set goals and plans for themselves. I ask them to think about where they want to be or see themselves five years from now. I then have them communicate how they plan on achieving their goals. I tutor my students after school as well as give them a lot of one-on-one help in class. I also try to support them by attending after school events and coaching baseball. I push the students to do their best at whatever it is they are doing.
Master Teacher Center Fellows adopt an inquiry stance to their practice. What does taking an inquiry stance to your work mean to you?
Taking an inquiry stance means that I am trying to figure out what I can do to improve my instruction. This usually begins with looking at student data and creating plan of action based off of what the student data tells me. I am constantly trying to figure out ways to make students think more and help them put the dots together for themselves. Taking an inquiry stance requires me to learn how I learn and how to take what I learn to make me a better person and educator.
Master Teacher Center Fellows advocate with students and families in the communities in which they work. How are you and advocate for families and students in the Raines community?
I attend as many after school activities as time allows in an attempt to see the students outside of school and have the students see me as a real person instead of just a teacher. I have been the assistant coach of the Varsity Baseball team the past two years. I also offer tutoring in the fall when I am not coaching.
Master Teacher Center Fellows have a deep knowledge of both content and teaching strategies and work collectively with other colleagues to reflect on and improve instruction. How do you work collectively with colleagues?
We have designated time for our Professional Learning Community once a week at Raines. I work closely with the three other Geometry teachers, bouncing ideas off each other, problem solving, and debriefing how different lessons went in different classrooms. I am also still in contact with the JTR students that were in my cohort. They act as critical friends as well as a support system.
Math teacher, Raines High School
Darby Delane Biography
Darby Delane is a public
school teacher, teacher educator, activist-researcher engaged in leveraging the
democratic purpose of public education in the American South. As a
border-crossing teacher and teacher educator, she positions her daily work
between K-12 and higher education to keep her research and practice responsive
and relevant at a time in history when rapid change is the only reliable
In 2013 Darby stepped
out of the Academy to return to the middle school classroom. 7th
graders in her Civics courses inspired her to create the Emancipated Teacher Project in order to help her improve her
culturally responsive pedagogy. The work
has since been renamed the Emancipated
School Project, and has developed as an ongoing participatory action
research endeavor led by some of the most chronically disciplined K-12 students
in her school district. Borrowing from the practitioner inquiry
framework, students partner with their teachers and administrators to untangle
the impossibilities of “one size fits all” accountability policies and how they
are further complicated by the ever-growing gap between the cultures of the American
teaching force and the students they teach.
Darby’s research interests
focus on the power of institutionalized social identities that are socially constructed
and kept intact by dominant discourses focused on “school failure.” She also
studies theoretical and practical frameworks that hold promise both for growing
public school cultures of inquiry and innovation, and for helping our nation
relax its grip on outdated, harmful, and deficit-driven perspectives that
reward the very few while punishing far too many children, their educators, and
their schools. Some of these frameworks
include participatory action research, practitioner inquiry, school-university
partnerships, the middle school concept, feminisms, critical race theory, multiliteracies,
dialogism, communities of practice, and third space theory.
Project Video by Olivia Schneider:
"Teachers want to change the world"