Albert Johnson GS’22, Ed.D. Named Alumnus of the Year for the Graduate School/College of Adult & Professional Studies

Albert Johnson GS’22, Ed.D., may be best known as the roller-skating principal, and he’s committed to making Two Rivers one of the best high schools in the country. But after overcoming his own hardships, he is following a call to help students and staff who are hurting.

By Jason Schoonover ’09, senior web content specialist

September 27, 2023 | 2 p.m.

Years ago after carving out a successful career in retail sales, Albert Johnson GS’22, Ed.D., started a breakfast club at his son’s school. As he helped empower young men to be successful in life and business, he discovered his own calling to education. “That was the best part of my job,” he says. “I would love to be able to talk and go and affect kids.” Though he’d dropped out of high school as a teen, the experience helped propel Johnson to a career as a high school principal. He earned his Ed.D. in K-12 Administration at Bethel and became the first Black administrator in West St. Paul-Mendota Heights-Eagan Area Schools.

Today, Johnson is perhaps best known around the Twin Cities as the roller-skating principal. He gained local media attention after using his love for roller-skating as a way to connect with students and staff at Two Rivers High School. “Why do I roller-skate? Because I’m seeking to create connection and a commonality with my kids,” he says. As he strives for Two Rivers to become one of the top high schools in the country, his goals extend beyond improving academics and closing the achievement gap. After overcoming his own trauma and hardships earlier in life, Johnson carries a deep conviction for serving staff and students who are hurting. “If I only eliminate an academic disparities gap, but kids are still hurting each other and killing each other and hurt on the inside, I'm not achieving anything,” he says.

Through it all, Johnson’s faith has played a key role—and it’s a key reason he chose Bethel. He turned his own life around after recommitting his life to Christ. And though he works at a public school, he’s open about his faith and will pray for staff and students when given permission. “I work really hard at being a servant-leader and if I am, people will feel loved, cared for, heard,” he says.

Bethel honors three outstanding alumni each year. If you know an incredible alum who deserves to be recognized, let us know! Nominations are accepted year-round.

Take your next step at Bethel's Graduate School.

At Bethel, you can take the next step in your career in programs designed to cultivate your personal growth and tailored to fit your life and goals. You'll learn alongside experienced professors and peers who care about you and who you want to become.

Learn more