Noah Jordan tried a variety of programs during his time at Johnson, and they combined to shape him into the teacher he is today.

He began his studies at Johnson as an urban studies major, volunteered with Urban Alliance’s Royal Explorers program, and did short-term mission work in New York City with a group from Johnson. Noah switched his major to elementary education during his sophomore year, but he kept his passion for urban ministry.

Today he teaches fifth-grade math and science at Sarah Moore Green Magnet Academy, an urban school that feeds into Austin-East High School in downtown Knoxville. Despite starting his career as COVID hit the country, Noah felt prepared to teach because of his Johnson education.

“The master’s degree in holistic education is important,” he says. “You’re a teacher for a year, with the support of a mentor teacher at every step. My mentor teacher just threw me into it so I could get real experience in front of a classroom while also having opportunities to learn from my cohort.”

Connections with professors also continue to shape Noah as an educator. “Dr. Votaw was great at prepping us for math and science,” he says. “I’ve received great feedback on my work, and often it’s something I’ve seen her do in class. Dr. Miller, the dean of the Templar School of Education, had a big impact on me. He had been a principal at an urban school, and we spent time talking about the challenges of urban education. I would love to see Johnson create a doctorate program in education. I’ll come back for that!”

In the meantime, Noah continues to live out his passions in his daily work as well as on the weekends. On Sundays you’ll find him hanging out with some of the kids he worked with from Royal Explorers, who are now high school students at Austin-East.