Part-Time Faculty Spotlight: Tina M. Johnson, MSSW, MPA, MA

Part-Time Faculty Spotlight: Tina M. Johnson, MSSW, MPA, MA

Tina M. Johnson, MSSW, MPA, MA

My name is Tina Marie Johnson. I was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, but raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. My Mom was from Oakland, KY, so I came here every summer all my life. I always loved the hospitality and country cooking of Kentucky!   I came to Western Kentucky University (WKU) to study for a M.P.A. and to be near my grandparents.  I also have a MA in Human Resources from Webster University and a MSSW from Kent School.  I attended the University of Wisconsin – Madison for undergrad, obtaining a Bachelors of Arts degree in Social Work.   I met and married my husband Dee, at WKU, 38 years ago. We relocated to Louisville and we have two daughters, Ciarra, 32 and Kenya, 24.

I have taught part-time at the Kent School for the last 14 years. I was also a School Social Worker at JCPS for 30 years before retiring in June, 2018.  I taught 5 years in the “Healthy Relationships are Within My Reach” grant through Kent School and loved it! That is when I realized I had a niche and desire to teach!  I can thank all the Kent School Professors working with that grant, for my part time career opportunity here at Kent!

You ask why I was interested in social work?  I always say I was born to be a social worker. My mother was like a social worker without the degree. She was always giving to others who needed help. She led by example and all three of her daughters are in helping professions, two of which obtained MSSW degrees.  So, I would have to say, she was my personal example and influence. We just lost her in May, one day after Mother’s Day. She would have been 90 years old on August 1, 2020. 

I am teaching SW 202 – Intimate and Family Relationships. This is my favorite course to teach because the curriculum is very meaningful and useful for dealing with any relationship in life. What I love about teaching, is connecting and building a relationship with students, so this class is perfect. My challenge is moving from a face to face class to an online environment as I bring a high level of enthusiasm to my classes. I am just wondering how I can bring that same effect and connection to my online class.

I would like to mention a teacher that I had when I was a student at Kent School, Dr. Ruth Huber. Dr. Huber taught Research, which was not an easy class for most of us. “She” made me love Research and love coming to class. She would help us any way she could and would invite us to her office for extra help right after class. Sometimes I would go and the whole class would be there!  This is the professor that I try to emulate as I teach because of how she made me “feel’. People may never remember all that you say, but they will always remember how you made them feel.

I also want to mention a person that gave me my ‘first impression’ of working for Kent School and that was Dr. Seana Golder. She was my first assigned Sequence Leader for SW 604/SW 605. There were three of us new employees. She would meet with us regularly right in her office and would motivate and encourage us. It always felt intimate and that she truly cared and wanted us to be successful.

What excites me most about Kent School is that we have progressive Leaders that are trying to create an environment for looking at current community issues to see what we can do to make a difference. They are also in discussion about how to enhance more understanding amongst Kent School employees about those same issues, especially social justice, and equity.

I want to end this article with a personal note. I recently had a life changing event.  I tested positive for the Coronavirus in early March, 2020!  I am not sure how I became infected with the virus.  The city shut down that Monday, March 16th which is the very day I started feeling sick.  I took the test on Friday, March 20, 2020.  The test took eight days to come back!! By the time it came back, I was in bed, very sick and I already knew I had it, as I felt sicker than I have ever felt in my life. But the moment they called and told me I tested positive for the Coronavirus, it was still a horrible, shocking, scary feeling. I remember holding my breath, when I asked, so what does this mean!!?  It was a two month ordeal that I will NEVER forget.  My fever broke on Easter Sunday. I felt that was symbolic, like a resurrection. There is too much more detail to talk about it here, but I just want to say, I am different.

 I have always been a positive person, but I now feel even more empowered to live my best life! God spared me for a reason. There were people dying every day from the virus. But I continued to get better. I feel blessed every day that I am alive, and I am still smiling! I have JOY within that comes from God, so no one can ever take it away from me.


Tina M. Johnson, MSSW, MPA, MA
Part Time Faculty
Faculty Senate
Part Time Faculty Committee