Sarah Turner moved across the world to attend Johnson University.

Sarah grew up in Tokyo, Japan, where both her parents served as missionaries; she visited Johnson during a trip back to the States.

“The teacher education program at Johnson stood out to me as an outstanding opportunity,” she says. “It was a big adjustment to move to Tennessee, but I found great friends there.”

Sarah graduated with her degree in elementary education with an English as a Second Language endorsement in 2011 and her Master of Arts in Holistic Education in 2012. She moved back across the world, to Okinawa, right after graduation.

Today Sarah is the elementary principal at Okinawa Christian School International (OCSI). She spent the first seven years of her career at the school teaching first grade and accepted the principal role in 2019.

“I love teaching, but shifting into administration was a great decision,” she says. “I was already organizing and leading, and now I have time to serve the teachers and invest in individual students. By the way, OCSI is always looking to host student teachers from Johnson!”

Like teachers around the world, Sarah and her team have had to navigate the COVID pandemic. Although OCSI was able to return to in-person learning more quickly than schools in many other countries, Japan’s borders were closed for a year–a hardship for many of the American and Canadian teachers at the school.

Sarah believes her education at Johnson prepared her for the challenges and opportunities of leading during this time.

“One reason I can be a principal is that I already had my master’s degree, thanks to Johnson’s five-year program,” she says. “All the practicums beginning freshman year were so valuable, plus the full year of student teaching. It was intense but so helpful in equipping me for this work.”