Middle School Russian teacher Shannon Johnson has been awarded this year’s American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages (AATSEEL) Award for Excellence in Teaching (Secondary). Johnson, who has served on the Friends faculty since 1995, accepted the award during AATSEL's annual conference in San Francisco. (Scroll down to read the full dedication text.)
About Friends' Russian program Friends School has been offering Russian as one of its global languages since 1956, when renowned educator Claire Walker introduced the program to interested students. At the time the School was one of only 16 U.S. high schools, public or private, to teach Russian. Through Walker, Friends School was also instrumental in bringing the annual Olympiada of Spoken Russian to the United States. Today that program, administered through American Councils of Teachers of Russian (ACTR) provides successive generations of U.S. high school and middle school students of Russian with a forum in which to demonstrate their achievement in Russian language study. In addition to Shannon Johnson, Friends' Upper School Russian teacher Lee Roby received the award in 2011.
AATSEEL Award Citation for Shannon Johnson Shannon Johnson is a dedicated teacher who has made exceptional contributions to the Russian program at her school. Initially working in outbound programs at American Councils, for the past twenty years she has taught at the Friends School Baltimore Middle School. She has participated on the American Councils Teachers Summer Program in Moscow, and served on the admissions/scholarship committee in subsequent years to select finalists for that program. In addition to teaching Russian at the FSB Middle School, she currently co-leads an Upper School Friends School study/homestay trip to St. Petersburg every other year. With her colleague Lee Roby, she has also developed a truly innovative Upper School memoir research and translation course since 2015. Students in the project translate the memoirs of a Russian journalist, conduct research on the cultural products and practices in the memoirs, and study the art of literary translation. She has contributed a new learning scenario for the upcoming revised Standards for Learning Russian, based on her work with middle school learners. In addition to her work at Friends School, Shannon is currently involved in the running of the ACTR Olympiada of Spoken Russian in Maryland. She also serves as a judge each year for the Maryland Elementary School Olympiada. As of January, 2016, she serves as the Secretary/Treasurer of SLAVA, the national honor society for outstanding pre-college learners of Russian. For these truly outstanding contributions to her profession, AATSEEL is delighted to present her with this year’s award for Excellence in Teaching (Secondary).