Linking college to community
Monty Johnson is a builder by nature and his current project is Minnesota Community and Technical College-Wadena. "My thing is that we're going to really trying bringing the community back into the college and the college into the community," Joh...
Monty Johnson is a builder by nature and his current project is Minnesota Community and Technical College-Wadena.
"My thing is that we're going to really trying bringing the community back into the college and the college into the community," Johnson said. "To me, the college should be the hub. We have to just celebrate the fact that we're here."
Johnson wants to make sure that high school students know what MSCTC-Wadena can offer them. Many Wadena-Deer Creek High School students are crossing the street to the college to get a head-start on a college degree. Johnson wants to see more area students get a head-start on college credits through the Post Secondary Educational Options programs. Wadena's technical programs are well-known but the college plans to add more liberal arts programs in the future.
The 46-year-old Emerson, Neb., native is the new dean of academics at MSCTC-Wadena and he has paid his dues for the administrative position.
Johnson earned his Associate of Arts degree in construction at Norfolk (Neb.) Community College. He worked in the Sioux City, Ia., area for more than a dozen years before returning to school and earning an Industrial Technology teaching degree at Wayne State College in Wayne, Neb.
Johnson's next stop was Malvern, Iowa, where he taught in grades 8-12. Johnson also started a building program at Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
"Our first shop was 750 square feet," Johnson said. "Within five years we put together a grant application for a 5,000-square foot building. Enrollment had jumped up three-fold by then."
Johnson and his classes put together a good working relationship with Habitat for Humanity during this time and together they built 13 homes.
Johnson went back to school while he was at Iowa Western and earned his master's degree at Iowa State in Ames, Iowa. That degree and a chance to join MSCTC-Wadena landed him in Minnesota this summer.
Johnson, who works with the students and the faculty, sees his administrator's role as just another way of teaching.
"I feel it's one of your better things when you have an administrator that has been in the trenches and understands what it's like as an educator these days," Johnson said.
Monty and Linda Johnson have three children. Bobby, 21, is a third-year electrician's apprentice; Nolan, 16, is a sophomore at Wadena-Deer Creek High School; and Erin, 11, is at Wadena-Deer Creek schools.
Linda works for Alegent Health Care of Omaha, Neb. as a medical transcriptionist.