Dr. Trinna Johnson received a B.S in Chemistry from Dillard University while participating in the dual degree program at Georgia Tech. She then went on to receive her Master’s in Science Education, Specialist in Teaching and Learning, and Ph.D. in Teaching and Learning with concentrations in Psychics and Astronomy from Georgia State University. After completing undergrad, there was a need for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) teachers in the Georgia education system. Trinna decided to pursue teaching and spent twenty-five years teaching at Dunwoody High School. She is currently the Director of AP Physics Curriculum and Content Development at The College Board.
When Trinna started teaching, she admits there was a lot she didn’t know. Her principal at the time, Dr. Springer became her mentor and is a leader she has looked up to since. Trinna admires how relatable Dr. Springer was and her power to connect with students and teachers. Trinna was also motivated by the desire to encourage students to pursue a career in STEM.
Trinna first remembers leading when she was nineteen and pledging a sorority, AKA. She enjoyed helping those that she was pledging with through the process with minimal stress. Her line name was very fitting, Einstein. After undergrad, Trinna was accepted into a Ph.D. program at Georgia Tech. However, she decided to wait because she had one child, another on the way, and a husband who traveled. Trinna is content with her career decisions and the work/life balance she chose. She enjoys that she had children young and can enjoy them as adults already.
If Trinna could give her younger self advice, she would say, “It will all work out in the end. Don’t stress as much about the day to day. You will make mistakes and its ok, just try to minimize them.” Trinna continued pursuing her dreams, regardless of setbacks such as needing to take the GRE over. Barriers did not stop Trinna either. She feels lucky to have chosen a field that was inclusive of women. Trinna does feel that teachers might get their just due if schools were more diversified. She would like to see personal finance added back into school curriculums. This would enable students to learn more about the steps it takes to move into an apartment and how to write a check.
As a leader, Trinna’s focus is on relationships. She tries to get to know each individual and their motivators. She also believes in having buy-in from the team for decisions. Other qualities reflective of Trinna’s leadership style include flexibility, adaptability, and always giving 100%. Trinna loves that both of her roles have centered on helping adolescents, the future of the country. As a teacher, she was instructing future generations. Today, she plays a part in making sure resources provided to students are the best they can be.
One job I was humored to find out Trinna had was writing labels for hazardous chemical materials. Another job that made me smile was her time spent at a Piccadilly restaurant. She started out carrying trays and then was promoted to serving food to customers behind the counter which made her extremely happy. Fast forward to the present, and some things that make Trinna blissful include sweet potato pie, her computer, reading books, and going to the movies. Her family including her husband, children, parents, etc. and the memories they share, make her smile. Thinking of future family memories is also on her mind. Trinna visited the Grand Canyon recently, and since that’s crossed off her bucket list, her next focus is on grandkids. Hopefully one of my three brothers will help her out with that sometime soon.
Trinna encourages future leaders to:
Always… be true to yourself and your management style because people want an authentic leader.
Never… lie about something you know the truth about.
Follow… the road less traveled.
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