Dr. Kent Johnson founded Morningside Academy, in Seattle, Washington, in 1980, and currently serves as its Executive Director Emeritus. Morningside Academy operates a scientifically driven “catch-up” program for children and youth with learning and attention problems and a “get-ahead” program for average and above-average middle school youth, as well as provides a laboratory for developing instructional methods and materials. It has also provided training and consulting in instruction to over 140 schools and agencies throughout the USA and Canada since 1991. Morningside’s exemplary science-based approach has had global impact and serves as a beacon of hope for many, transforming lives and demonstrating what high-quality behavior analytic education can offer.
Dr. Johnson has served in all the positions at Morningside, including classroom teacher for 10 years, financial manager, administrator, teacher trainer, school psychologist and school consultant. He has published many seminal papers and books about research-based curriculum and teaching methods, most recently The Morningside Model of Generative Instruction: Building a Bridge Between Skills and Inquiry Teaching with Dr. Elizabeth Street, Andrew Kieta and Dr. Joanne Robbins. The Morningside Model focuses upon foundation skills in reading, writing, mathematics, thinking, reasoning, problem solving, studying core content, and learning through inquiry. Over 50,000 students and over two thousand teachers have learned and taught with the Morningside Model of Generative Instruction. Dr. Johnson is also a co-founder of Headsprout, Inc., a company that develops web-based, interactive, cartoon-driven instructional programs, including Headsprout Early Reading and Headsprout Reading Comprehension. Examine them at www.headsprout.com.
Dr. Johnson’s commitment to and success in developing and disseminating innovative and highly effective behaviorally based educational practices have been recognized by his receiving the 2001 Award for Public Service in Behavior Analysis from the Society for the Advancement of Behavior Analysis, the 2016 Fred S. Keller Behavioral Education Award from Division 25 of the American Psychological Association, the 2011 Ogden R. Lindsley Lifetime Achievement Award in Precision Teaching from the Standard Celeration Society, the 2010 Edward L. Anderson Award in Recognition for Exemplary Contributions to Behavioral Education from the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies, the 2009 Ernie Wing Award for Excellence in Evidence-based Education from the Wing Institute, and the 2006 Allyn and Bacon Exemplary Program Award from the Council for Exceptional Children, Division for Learning Disabilities.
Prior to founding Morningside, Dr. Johnson was professor at Central Washington University, director of staff training at the Fernald School in Massachusetts, and instructional designer at Northeastern University in Boston. He received his M.S. (1974) and Ph.D. (1977) in psychology at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst under the mentorship of Drs. Beth Sulzer-Azaroff, Ellen Reese, and John Donahoe. He received his B.S. in psychology and sociology from Georgetown University (1973), under the mentorship of Dr. J Gilmour Sherman. He also counts Drs. Fred Keller, Charles Ferster, B. F. Skinner, Susan Markle, John Dewey, Siegfried Engelmann, Ogden Lindsey, Israel Goldiamond, Arthur Whimbey, and colleague Joe Layng as major influences on his work.
Dr. Johnson enjoys reading philosophy, mysteries, ancient history, psychology, and books about teaching and children. He also enjoys rock, electronic downbeat and ambient music, and conversations about politics and public policy.
Joanne Robbins is the Principal Emerita of Morningside Academy. Joanne has over thirty years of experience in program development, curriculum design, and teaching and supervision of programs for children, youth and adults. Joanne’s experience has been in both educational and mental health settings. She developed programs for Pre-K through college level.
In addition to the gratifying work as Principal of Morningside Academy, Joanne is a founder of P.E.E.R., Partnerships for Educational Excellence and Research. The P.E.E.R. project is designed to radically improve the teaching and learning communities in several township schools in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
Prior to moving to Seattle, Joanne lived in Chicago for many years. While there, she was the Activity Therapy supervisor for a 120-bed children’s state psychiatric facility, served as an adjunct faculty member in the Psychology Department at Northeastern Illinois University, and designed and implemented problem solving and thinking skills programs, study skills programs, and learning acceleration programs for inner-city children and college students for the University of Illinois at Chicago and the City Colleges of Chicago. She also served as program developer and instructor in the federally funded Nation of Tomorrow program, training Chicago Public School teachers how to use computer technology in their classrooms. Joanne served as a research assistant in the Instructional Research and Development Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is a frequent presenter at professional meetings and has published experimental work in human clinical decision-making.
Joanne has served as an instructional design consultant to private industry in the production of instructional media including Learning-to-Learn, Inc. in Cambridge, MA, and Focus International, Inc. in Huntington, NY. An expert in the teaching of thinking and reasoning skills, Joanne is the author of Learn to Reason with TAPS: Talk Aloud Problem Approach, and co-author of Fluent Thinking Skills: A Generative Approach. As the parent of graduates of the Seattle Public Schools, she remains involved by advocating for the betterment of the public school system. She served as co-chair of the Seattle Public School Superintendent’s Positive Climate and Discipline Advisory Committee.
Joanne earned an MA in Behavioral Sciences (Art Therapy concentration) from the University of Houston, Clear Lake Campus. A native of New York, she earned a BA in Sociology from the State University of New York at New Paltz. Joanne completed her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago under the mentorship of Dr. Sue Markle, Dr. Phil Tiemann and Dr. Herbert Walberg.