“When I was in the master’s program at CBU, I had the pleasure of learning under Dr. Ellen Faith. She was truly a beacon to the Education Department and shared valuable content knowledge, but also years of wisdom about servant leadership that sticks with me on my educational leadership journey.”

Prior to enrolling in the MEd program at CBU, Kristle Hodges Johnson earned her BA in English from Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, IN. She displayed her early commitment to equity, inclusion, and education at the beginning of her career with Teach For America. She began in the classroom as a high school English teacher in her Teach For America placement school, serving as a department chair and literacy coach.

In 2014, Kristle transitioned to a principal role at Freedom Preparatory Academy High School, which was founded with a mission to transform education for students of color across the South. She also served as Managing Director of Secondary Schools and Managing Director of Academics at Freedom Prep, and under her leadership, the school was named a Tennessee Reward School and recognized as one of the “Best High Schools” by U.S. News & World Report for two consecutive years. It graduated its first three classes of students with 100% acceptance rates into college.

Kristle earned her EdD in Leadership and Learning from Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College in 2021, and just this past February was named the Founding Executive Director of University High School, a laboratory school on the campus of the University of Memphis, which will launch in the fall of 2022. In April, she was recognized by Teach For America with the Barbara Rosser Hyde Alumni Leadership Award, which recognizes outstanding leaders making a difference in the Memphis community.

The biggest lesson Christian Brothers University taught me was to approach my career in education as a sacred profession that I am fortunate to do, not as a job. That keeps me humble.