PMP349: Helping Graduates Be Life Ready with Jarrod Johnson

Will Parker talks to guest Jarrod Johnson about his Senior Culmination Series in this week's episode of the Principal Matters Podcast.

Jarrod J. Johnson is currently the Superintendent of Drummond Public Schools, as well as an adjunct professor at Northwestern Oklahoma State University.  With his experience as a classroom teacher, principal, athletic director, transportation director and now superintendent, he has a unique perspective that allows him to look at any school issue from multiple viewpoints. Although he pours his time and energy into many aspects of the school, school leadership and school culture are the areas he is most passionate about. His recent passion project, “Senior Culmination Series,” provides districts with a curriculum that prepares their students for the real world.  It helps them learn life skills that are not traditionally taught in the classroom setting. Jarrod prides himself on being a problem-solver and this was an area that he and many of his peers observed was lacking in preparing our youth for their futures.  With the help of countless focus groups, the Senior Culmination Series was born.  When Jarrod isn’t leading the school district or building on the Senior Culmination Series curriculum, he’s likely with his wife, Megann, cheering on one of their three children, at one of their many activities.

Listen-in to the entire episode for great takeaways. Here are a few areas we discuss:

Can you fill in the gaps on the intro and tell listeners something else they may be surprised to know about you?

Jarrod was an Ag teacher when he received the call inviting him to interview for a principal opening. 

What offerings and experiences are available at Drummond Public Schools that you would like other education leaders to know about?

Drummond is a community with approximately 400 students K-12. Their most recent bond issue election saw more than 90% approval from residents for school facility improvements. Drummond students also compete in Quiz Bowl at the State and National levels.

What lessons have you learned through your Senior Culmination Series that would be helpful for other leaders to know?

Jarrod tells the story when he realized schools do not always teach students real-life applications. As a result, he organized 10 focus groups around lessons and developed a curriculum for senior students of 32 areas, including topics like budgeting, health insurance, care maintenance, home maintenance, shopping on a budget, preparing meals for large groups, professional preparation, resume writing, interviewing skills, and more. 

Can you share the stories of transition in your leadership journeys that brought you into your current role? For those seeking their first roles in education leadership – or for those thinking about a transition in their careers – what advice would you share?

Jarrod shares several takeaways including:

  • How hard work pays off
  • You are the brightest spot in a child’s day
  • Showing respect and dignity to everyone
  • Making and prioritizing to-do lists
  • Reading the book Principal Matters 🙂
  • Staying flexible
  • Remembering teachers want to be heard and helped

How has Principal Matters been a helpful resource for you in your leadership?

One way Principal Matters helped Jarrod was through a free PD resource Will Parker shared with him on helping staff create a vision and mission statement. You can see a sample here.

How can listeners stay connected with you?

Email Jarrod Johnson at

Think someone else would benefit from this episode?
William D. Parker
William D. Parker