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Meet Steve

Early Family Picture

I’m one of 4 kids to Ed and Carol Lee Johnson.  My Dad had a childhood dream to fly jets and worked hard to achieve that dream, becoming a Navy pilot.  He flew in the Vietnam War and, later, was promoted to Commander.  My childhood was filled with tons of movement across both coasts of the US.  


I am, therefore, very much a Navy brat!  My Dad would be gone on cruise for months at a time and my Mom had her hands full with the 4 of us at home.  Our last big move was to the small town of Ligonier in rural western PA.  Throughout school, I was good at math and science and also loved tinkering with computers.  When it came to college, it was all Penn State for me and I entered as a computer engineering student in the fall of 1994. 


Early in my college career I discovered a passion for working with young children. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’m still the only computer engineering major at Penn State to go on to become a kindergarten teacher =).  Upon graduating in 1998, I headed south to North Carolina because my Dad had family down here (and I wanted to escape the harsh winters up north).

It was sheer divine providence that I came to Moore County.  I had several interviews with different counties across North Carolina, but Moore County wasn't one of them.  As luck would have it, my Dad and I were in an ancient RV, traveling on old US Route 1 to my next interview when we spied a quaint, small town elementary school named Vass-Lakeview Elementary.  Since I already had my suit on, I walked into the office and asked if they had any kindergarten jobs open.  Long story short, I LOVED the school and canceled the rest of my interviews on the spot- accepting my 1st job as kindergarten teacher at VLE in 1998.


I taught kindergarten, 2nd grade, and in the computer lab for 9 years and truly loved not only my job but also the Vass community as a whole.  While teaching 2nd grade, a new super cute 4th grade teacher came to Vass- Bridget.  We met in the “cafetorium” at Vass-Lakeview in August 2003, started dating in September, were engaged in December, and married in July!  We now live in Pinehurst and have three beautiful and talented daughters- Emily (senior at PHS), Kenna (sophomore at PHS), and Hannah (6th grader at WPMS).

First Year Teaching
Playing guitar
MCS Robotics Showcase

From the very start, I’ve always passionately used technology and digital tools with students to provide relevant and engaging opportunities for ALL students. This love led me to leave the classroom in order to help teachers learn how to effectively use digital tools with students.  I did this work in Richmond and Cabarrus Counties before returning home to Moore County Schools, where I was a digital integration facilitator (DIF) and then Assistant Director of Technology.  Along the way, I authored the book Digital Tools for Teaching for Maupin House Publishing.


In my time as assistant director in MCS, I was blessed to work with an outstanding team of DIFs and IT staff to bring about huge positive impacts across the county.  Highlights include:

  • Rolling out 1-to-1 Chromebooks and iPads across Moore County Schools

  • Starting highly successful and state-leading robotics and STEM programs in every school

  • Expanding the reach and impact of summer STEM Camp (including providing scholarships to families unable to pay tuition)

  • Creation of Connect! Virtual Academy as well as our homeschool partnership program, Blend+ed

  • Writing and securing nearly $500,000 in grant funding to grow and sustain STEM programs in MCS


Throughout this time, it's been my distinct honor to work with teachers, staff, students, and families from every single Moore County School, many times over.  Through this work, I’ve come to love and appreciate all areas of this county, as well as develop firsthand knowledge of every building.

Building Engineers in K-5 Classrooms

In the past two years since leaving MCS I’ve taken the ideas and lessons learned here across the state of North Carolina as the lead for the “Building Engineers in K-5 Classrooms” statewide initiative.  Through this work I support 26 school districts across the state in ensuring they are building a pipeline for STEM careers for ALL of their students- by starting in their elementary schools and making sure all students know that STEM is for THEM, from an early age.  I also lead an annual conference each spring of the same name that has grown immensely in size and impact- reaching 100s of elementary educators across all areas of North Carolina each year.  

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