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April 17, 2003

ISD superintendent recognized for work in deaf community

From: Council Bluffs Daily Nonpareil, IA - Apr 17, 2003

BRIEN T. BOYCE, Staff Writer

William Johnson, Iowa School for the Deaf superintendent, was recently honored for his work in the deaf community.

Johnson was named recipient of the Robert Davila Award at the Conference of Educational Administrators Serving the Deaf held the weekend of April 4 in Sioux Falls, S.D.

Johnson said the award was a surprise, and the only thing he knew to do was to "express sincere appreciation."

While it is not presented annually, the award is given at the CEASD to recognize individuals who have made meritorious contributions to the field of deafness.

According to John Tiffany, chairman of the CEASD Honors and Awards Committee, Johnson was nominated for his work in deaf education during his tenure as superintendent of both the Illinois and Iowa Schools for the Deaf and his work in promoting improved services for the deaf.

"The award recognizes achievements of individuals who have shown excellence in administrative service to the field of deafness," Tiffany said in a press release. "Aside from his work with the deaf, he (Johnson) has served as president of CEASD and was a member of the executive board."

Johnson, a 1960 graduate of Abraham Lincoln High School, has worked hard to overcome the fact he has no hearing in his right ear and has minimal hearing in his left ear.

Johnson became superintendent at ISD in 1987, and served as superintendent at the Illinois School for the Deaf for 11 years before returning home to Council Bluffs.

After 39 years in education, Johnson will retire Sept. 1, and pass the torch to Jeanne Glidden Prickett, administrator of the Hawaii Center for the Deaf and the Blind. Prickett will be the first woman to serve as superintendent at ISD since the school was founded in 1855.

The award is named for Robert Davila, who overcame a combination of deafness and being raised by a Spanish-speaking family to improve the quality of deaf education. He is the chief executive officer of the National Technical Institute for the Deaf and was recently named to President George Bush's National Council on Disability.

Johnson said he greatly admires Davila, who was at the conference and presented him with the award.

"He is one gentleman that has accomplished a lot in education," Johnson said.

The ISD superintendent refused to take sole credit for the award.

"Nobody, in my opinion, does it alone," he said. "One person may get recognized, but it takes a lot of people along the way to make it happen."

©Daily Nonpareil 2003