Dr. John Johnson, M.S., Th.D.
How must the education of our children transform if we are to expect them to be competent and personally fulfilled adults twenty-five years from now? Answering this question is critical to the work of Dr. John Johnson, whose vision of education assimilates the integral philosophy articulated by Ken Wilber, the emergent cosmology voiced by Thomas Berry, and our cultural possibilities according to Thomas Friedman. “We have to teach today’s children how to learn, along with what to learn,” says Dr. Johnson. “We have to lead by example, invest in the self-knowing techniques of inquiry, honesty and authenticity. We have to present our students with an inclusive, integrative, and creative world.” Dr. Johnson has been at the forefront of educational change in Asheville for over thirty years. In 1979 he sponsored a conference at the UNC-A Owen Conference Center titled “Holistic Perspectives in Education and Health.” He was a founder of Rainbow Mountain Children’s School in Asheville, in the late seventies. As the executive director, Dr. Johnson extended Rainbow Mountain to fifth grade in 1991, and subsequently created The Omega Program, a holistic alternative learning experience for the middle school student, in 1993. In 2007, as a co-founder and Executive Director, he opened the doors to Odyssey Community School, welcoming a new generation of children and families into what he considers the next step in educational innovation – an integral learning community. Dr. Johnson aims not to create another “alternative educational center,” but to integrate outstanding academic reform with a deep commitment to cultivating self-knowledge.