Associate Dean Retiring After 25 Years at UT Dallas
Mar. 1, 2013
Dr. Scherry Johnson
A former classroom teacher and administrator, Johnson came to UT Dallas in 1988 when she was recruited by then-president Dr. Robert Rutford to be vice president of external affairs. In that role she was responsible for fundraising, news and information, publications, internal and external communications, and public and community affairs.
Johnson worked closely with Erik Jonsson, Cecil Green and Margaret McDermott to strengthen their personal involvement with the institution they helped found in 1969. Johnson said one of the challenges she faced early on was securing scholarship funding to attract incoming freshmen, which UT Dallas admitted for the first time in 1990.
“From the time we first met, in the earliest days of my arrival at the University, Scherry Johnson has impressed me, as she has so many other colleagues, as a dynamic public servant, a courageous supporter and defender of public education and a leader totally committed to the welfare of UT Dallas,” said Dr. Hobson Wildenthal, executive vice president and provost.
“Along with these defining characteristics, she also is a stalwart pioneer for women’s rights in Texas, a civic leader and a talented artist. We have shared more exciting and challenging experiences than perhaps I remember, but a long winter holiday spent personally typing and mailing letters to new scholarship students who had failed their fall courses – the then-famed 'Fresh Start' episode – and an early visit to the leadership of Texas Instruments to ask for a renewal of their support, are still vivid.
“No one could have a more forthright and loyal friend and colleague than Scherry, or one who contributed more wit and fun, along with effective ideas and energy, to our collective endeavors to advance the University,” Wildenthal said.
Johnson, who earned her doctorate in education from the University of North Texas, subsequently went on to manage the Advanced Placement Institute at UT Dallas, which offers training for educators who teach AP courses. She was named associate dean of interdisciplinary studies and director of the Teacher Development Center in 1999.
The Teacher Development Center in the School of Interdisciplinary Studies provides teacher certification programs for individuals interested in becoming K-12 teachers and school administrators. The center offers coursework, extensive in-classroom experiences and mentoring by master teachers. Each year, about 200 student teachers complete preparations through the center.
“Preparing the next generation of teachers is one of the most important jobs a university can do, and UT Dallas-trained graduates are in great demand,” said Dr. George Fair, dean of Interdisciplinary Studies. “Dr. Johnson has done an outstanding job leading the Teacher Development Center and preparing teachers to succeed in today’s classrooms.”
Johnson said that in retirement, she will miss the daily contact with students, staff and instructors at the center, but considers herself fortunate to have been a part of the University’s growth and development over the years.
“Those of us who came to UT Dallas 20 or more years ago have been lucky,” Johnson said. “We were able to be part of plans and projects from the very beginning at a young institution, and it has been fun and challenging. Now, looking back and seeing the validity of those early ideas is very satisfying.”
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