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February 7, 2024

Teaching Channel Talks Episode 85: Middle Matters: Insights from a Middle School Principal (w/Katie Johnson of AMLE)

Join our host Dr. Wendy Amato and special guest, Katie Johnson, the principal of Belmont Ridge Middle School in Leesburg, Virginia, as they explore the nuances of middle school from a leadership lens. As a veteran middle-grade teacher now navigating the challenges of leadership, Katie’s student-first approach has helped her create a thriving school culture and earned her school the recognition of AMLE as a School of Distinction.

Our Guest

Katie Johnson is the proud principal of Belmont Ridge Middle School in Leesburg, Virginia where, under her leadership, the school has been recognized as an inaugural AMLE School of Distinction, a Purple Star School, and redesignated for a fourth time as a National School to Watch. She also serves as the Associate Director for the Virginia Middle School Association and believes in the transformative power of education during the critical stage of the middle school years.
Connect with Katie on LinkedIn.

Our Host

Dr. Wendy Amato is the Chief Academic Officer at Teaching Channel’s parent company, K12 Coalition. Wendy earned her Master’s in Education and Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Virginia. She holds an MBA from James Madison University. Wendy began teaching in 1991, has served as a Middle School Administrator, and still teaches at UVA’s School of Education. She has delivered teacher professional development workshops and student leadership workshops in the US and internationally. Wendy and her family live near Charlottesville, Virginia.

Resources for Continued Learning

In this episode, Katie and Wendy talk about AMLE’s Schools of Distinction, an award given to Belmont Ridge Middle School under Katie’s leadership. Learn more about this program, connect with other recognized schools, or nominate your own middle school for this prestigious recognition here.

During the episode, Katie talks about the importance of professional learning and a student-first focus in her school. To see how your school aligns with these best practices, Katie has provided a best practices slide deck used at Belmont Ridge Middle School to plan professional learning.

Curious about how the Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE) works to support and improve middle schools across the country? Check out AMLE’s National Policy Agenda for the Middle Grades.

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