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Peter Johnson
Excellence in Education

Humility is a virtue admired by many but practiced by too few. When asked to describe himself, Peter Johnson began: “I have led a very simple and unassuming life.” His colleagues at North Attleboro High School would agree but then hasten to add that during his 28 year career at NAHS he was “smart,” “a wonderful person,” “a great guidance counselor” and host of many memorable Guidance Department Christmas parties. Peter Johnson is humility personified.

Peter joined the NAHS Guidance Department in September 1971 with a Master’s Degree in Education from Northeastern University, where he had majored in counseling. Prior to that, he had spent six years in the priesthood. After graduation, Peter worked for the State of Massachusetts, the Division of Employment Security, for almost two years as a job placement and employment counselor. He spent the latter part of this duty in a half-way house in the south end of Boston. He became Guidance Department Head in 1975.

From the beginning, working under Guidance Department Head Bette Graass and Principal Lou Kelley, Peter “always wanted to be above board and honest with the kids.” Influenced greatly by the writings of Dr. Willis D. Nutting, a Notre Dame professor of history who was an avid proponent of Liberal Studies, Peter wanted “to get kids to enjoy education” because he felt high school should be “a good and happy experience.” He also believed in the importance of getting kids to read. Over time Peter noticed that North High students became much more sophisticated, and “they may have needed a little nudge here or a push there,” but he never worried if a student said, “I don’t know what I want to do.” For Peter, the joy in the job came from the interaction with the kids.

Peter Johnson was “extremely impressed with the dedication and effort of all the teachers on behalf of the students at NAHS,” and he is especially thankful for the influence of Bette Graass and Lou Kelley on his career. In addition, Peter appreciates the friendship and support of John Perkoski, Carol Kelley and the many other counselors and secretaries with whom he worked.

Peter, whose nickname is Mike, and Jayne, his wife of 37 years, are enjoying their retirement, splitting time between their home in Plainville, MA, and their winter residence in Bonita Springs, FL.