Alumni Spotlight: William Johnson – Inspiring Future Generations

William Johnson
William crosses the graduation stage just steps behind his wife, Bernadette.

William Johnson crossed the graduation stage at AUSB’s commencement on June 20, 2014, to receive his Masters in Education degree, just steps behind his wife Bernadette, whom also received the same degree. At Antioch, William focused on issues of social justice – chiefly issues of poverty, political policy, and imprisonment – and leaves here passionate about integrating his learning and love for teaching into his life and work in order to educate others.

“The biggest contribution Antioch makes is the inspiration and insight it gives its students,” said William. “A lot of that has to do with not just the philosophy of Antioch but the approach of the professors.” 

William and Bernadette Johnson after graduation with two of their grandkids.

William has been involved inside the education system for many years, serving as a substitute teacher for a breadth of ages ranging from preschool to community college levels. But he said that the insight and example of AUSB faculty shaped his concept of self and perspectives on teaching and the influence he can have.

“As a teacher, I enjoy generating ideas – seeing the kids minds open up to new ideas as they get a hunger and thirst for knowledge,” said William. “I always tell them, it’s not about teaching as much as learning.”

The Johnson’s raised their family – they have five kids and 13 grandkids – in Santa Barbara for 20 years, but since have relocated to Lompoc, where William pastors an African Methodist Episcopal (AME) church.

William and Bernadette’s family was present to watch them receive their diplomas, and although their achievements are a significant accomplishment, what is more is they embody – for their family and for others – what it means to pursue a life of learning for the purpose of personal and social change.

“It’s been a true inspiration for our kids and grandkids, as we hope they will continue on in life’s pursuit of knowledge,” said William.



william_alumni_150x150“My experience at Antioch was greatly enriched by my contact with warm and concerned staff and a strong cohort of study partners. I am greatly indebted to my wife, Bernadette, for introducing me to Antioch University, for inspiring and motivating me through the depression of a physical injury… I am indebted to our children and grandchildren who believed in me and encouraged me. This degree is a tribute to them.”

– William Johnson


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