Paul Johnson, president of the American College of Sofia in Sofia, Bulgaria, will visit Minot State University Feb. 7 as part of the Distinguished Alumni Series. Johnson will meet with president's staff, guest lecture to education classes and speak at Minot Kiwanis Club. Community members are invited to a free reception, where Johnson will discuss his career, in the Gordon B. Olson Library media center at 4 p.m.
Johnson upheld a family tradition graduating from MSU in 1972. He was born in Minot while his parents were Minot State College students. Four out of five Johnson siblings are MSU alumni. Three aunts and several cousins also attended the university.
One of those aunts, College of Business professor emeritus Adelaide Johnson served as the Ray native's mentor. Daniel Johnson (nephew), a junior, keeps the red-and-green tradition alive.
Submitted Photo - - Paul Johnson and his wife, Teresa, stand in front of a Roman theater in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, built in the early first century, uncovered in the 1970s and which is still used for outdoor concerts today. Minot State University alumnus Paul Johnson serves as president of the American College of Sofia in Sofia, Bulgaria.
With a bachelor's degree in elementary education, Johnson began teaching at Edison Elementary. After working in rural North Dakota for several years, he returned to Minot as principal of Nedrose Elementary School from 1981 to 1987. Johnson earned a master's degree from North Dakota State University in 1989 and a doctorate from the University of North Dakota in 1994.
After nine years as Bismarck Public Schools superintendent, Johnson and his wife, Teresa, an alumna, sought employment opportunities overseas. In July 2010, Johnson became president of the American College of Sofia, considered one of the most prestigious secondary schools in Bulgaria and the Balkans.
Among Johnson's memorable experiences are teaching in a one-room rural school near White Earth and serving as a principal in South St. Paul, Minn., and a superintendent in Valley City and Bismarck. In 2008, the North Dakota Association of School Administrators named Johnson the North Dakota Superintendent of the Year.