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Meet Joe Johnson

Joe is Sussex School’s newest 5th–8th Grade Social Studies teacher. For the past six years, he has taught humanities in Massachusetts, Idaho, and Colombia. Being a native Missoulian (born & raised!) he’s excited to return to his home town and begin the next chapter of his teaching career. We wanted to get to know Joe a little bit better, so this summer we sat down with him to ask him some questions. Read on to learn who he’s been inspired by, his favorite food, and who he’d like to share a meal with!

SS: What most excites you about teaching at Sussex?

Joe: I'm excited to be a part of the Sussex community and to engage our students in a unique way of learning, free from many of the constraints that conventional education imposes. Mostly, I'm excited to get to know the students!

SS: What are your top three favorite elements of teaching social studies?

Joe: No. 1. The vast subject area (geography, anthropology, history, economics!), which has so much importance in our lives.

No. 2. The opportunity to learn how to become more informed and involved citizens.

No. 3. The incredible insights that students share each day.

SS: What educator in your life has inspired you and why?

Joe with Lynn Xu

Joe: There have been too many! Most recently, the poet Lynn Xu really expanded my worldview and reinvigorated my excitement to learn. She taught me to value the unknown in the classroom, and to try strange activities that might lead to unexpected outcomes … or lead to nothing but laughter.

SS: What do you like to do in your free time?

Joe: I like to be outside. I love backpacking, trail running, mountain biking, fly fishing, skiing, etc. I also like to just sit still, thinking, near streams. I enjoy deep conversations with friends and family and spending time with good books.

SS: What was the last book you read?

Joe: “The Storm” by Tomás González. I'm obsessed.

SS: If you could have a meal with any person (dead or alive) who would it be and why?

Joe: Apologies for the sentimentality, but probably my grandfather that I never met. Legend has it that he was a really good time.

SS: No apologies necessary … excuse me while I find my tissues.

SS: What's your favorite food?

Joe: I refuse to choose. (Okay, fine. Asparagus. Or tacos. Or green curry.)

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