1330 S Knott Ave Anaheim, CA 92804 | (714) 236-3800

Dr. Johnson

Savanna School District Superintendent

The pride I feel in all of our students and staff cannot be contained! We have much to celebrate as we look forward to the coming school year in preparing Today’s Learners to be Tomorrow’s Leaders!  We’re excited and looking forward to the 2023-24 school year, continuing to focus on helping our students to achieve their potential with our commitment to continuous learning and unwavering excellence.  We have much to celebrate with our return and can’t wait to get started!

As we continue our focus on academic excellence for our students, we will enhance our concentration on the implementation of our English Language Arts/ English Language Development and Mathematics programs, ensuring the needs of all of our students, and especially our second language learners, are met.  Working to ensure students have foundational skills upon which to build is a priority for the 2023-24 school year.  A combination of a rich, well-rounded curriculum, highly qualified and caring staff and a long-standing commitment to excellence is ensuring that we prepare our students to meet the demands of an ever-changing global society and help to shape the workforce of tomorrow.

We’re excited to move into the second year with Amplify Science. We witnessed much excitement as science was brought to life through relevant, real-world problems; students learned much as they investigated scientific phenomena, engaged in collaboration and discussion, and developed models or explanations in order to arrive at solutions.  The engaging, captivating lessons sparked many students’ curiosity and ignited their passion for learning.  They are truly on a path toward becoming the next generation of scientific minds and engineering enthusiasts as we prepare Tomorrow’s Leaders!

The launch of our all-new W.I.N.G.S. Program in 2022-23 was a tremendous success, providing an opportunity for nearly 600 students across the District a safe, engaging, and fun environment for extending their learning and participating in activities they may not have otherwise experienced.  The level of student engagement was overwhelming as W.I.N.G.S. staff helped to connect children’s in-class learning to after school activities in which they gained new skills, participated in a myriad of sports and relevant activities, completed homework assignments, and built lasting friendships and bonds. We’re grateful that we’ve been approved to provide the supper program to our W.I.N.G.S. students, ensuring their nutritional needs are met. Through these experiences, we are further insuring our students are prepared with 21st Century skills.

We’re eager to introduce our all-new Preschool Program that will begin August 7!  The B.R.I.G.H.T. Learners Academy, which stands for Build • Realize • Imagine • Grow • Harvest • Thrive, will be structured for two, three, and four-year-old children in both half-day and full-day formats. The B.R.I.G.H.T. Learners Preschool is open to all children meeting the age criteria living within our boundaries

Because student and staff safety are paramount, we are continually assessing the safety and security needs of our campuses and are proud of the systems we have in place. We have consistently undertaken measures to ensure the safety of our schools in the past and will continue to do so. Furthering our commitment to student and staff safety, additional cameras were added in a variety of areas throughout the District. We will continue with the implementation of Navigate360 in order to provide immediate, real-time access to all the information and tools staff need to help ensure the safety of students in an emergency situation.  We’re extremely grateful that we’ve been able to complete much-needed enhancements that will provide students and staff with safe, secure facilities to meet the demands of 21st Century learning. These projects and more will impact our children's education and our community for generations to come.

With the evolving needs of school sites, students, and staff have driven projects that we’ve consistently undertaken.  Thanks to monies from the sale of Perez School, state school bond reimbursements, and a variety of state and federal funding sources, we’ve been able to complete a myriad of projects, bringing parity among school sites, upgrading our infrastructure and devices available to students.  We know just how important it is for students to use technological tools to enhance their learning; throughout the 2023-24 school year teachers will use SeeSaw and Google Classroom to support the instructional program. By providing the opportunity for all third through sixth grade students to check out a Chrome Book for home use, students will be able to utilize the online features of our curriculum for homework as well as for in-class assignments.  We will continue the implementation of iReady throughout the District during the upcoming school year, providing focused intervention of skills in both language arts and math; the iReady data will provide teachers with essential information in order to develop focused intervention lessons for students. As we continue moving forward with technology, we are indeed preparing Today’s Learners to become Tomorrow’s Leaders as we ensure students have digital literacy skills that will propel them into college and career readiness.

As important as the physical safety and security of our campuses is, the social-emotional security our students need is critically important.  We will continue with the implementation of Second Step, our social-emotional curriculum, where students are learning to cultivate a growth mindset, recognize emotions, develop empathy toward others and practice problem-solving skills.  Our partnership with Care Solace will continue to provide an additional layer of care for our students, parents, and community to connect with mental health care providers and substance use treatment centers twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.  With Care Solace, families gain access to a myriad of personalized support services quickly and confidentially with multilingual teams of providers. In addition, we’ve partnered with outside agencies to ensure that families are connected to community-based services quickly.  Our schools’ commitment to exemplary programs that create safe and inclusive environments for all students can be evidenced at each site, some similar and others to meet the unique needs of the students, parents, and staff.  Each school has embraced Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS) implementation, ensuring positive behaviors throughout the campus. Programs such as these are essential in ensuring our students have the support of the entire community to assure their success!

Partnership programs have involved parents in school activities, from serving as greeters in the parking lot to assisting children at lunch, from volunteering in classrooms to reading with children throughout the school day, from welcoming dads as Watch D.O.G.S. to a school-level VIP Club, our students are demonstrating good citizenship along with social and emotional growth that will help them to become the leaders of tomorrow. Through partnerships, we’re able to offer parenting skills classes, provide high school-aged ‘big brothers and big sisters’, and enhanced counseling and anger management classes for students and families in need.  We are deeply indebted to our school community for its ongoing support. Truly, our successes are YOUR successes; it takes a village to raise a child and our children are so very fortunate to be part of this great community and the many partnerships that support them. These partnerships demonstrate our commitment to ensuring today’s learners will become tomorrow’s leaders.

Our Summer Academy program provided academic support for over 500 students this summer; the staff did an outstanding job to help Today’s Learners become Tomorrow’s Leaders. Students were immersed in lessons to help them recoup any potential learning loss in fun, engaging ways.

We invite you to follow the excitement of learning on our FaceBook page at https://www.facebook.com/SavannaSchoolDistrict/ where you will be able to see the many ways students and staff are engaged in educational activities and celebrating accomplishments on a daily basis!

--Dr. Johnson

Dr. Sue Johnson, Savanna School District Superintendent

It was on her first day of kindergarten that Dr. Johnson decided that she wanted to become a teacher, a goal that became a beacon for her educational career. The third oldest of seven siblings growing up in Pomona and Ontario, college seemed unattainable, yet her goal of becoming a teacher remained.  Working part-time jobs through high school and college, and with the support of grants, she was able to become the first in her family to graduate from college, going on to receive her Masters Degree in School Administration from Cal State San Bernardino and her Doctorate in Education from USC.  As a first-generation college graduate, she is passionate about providing opportunities for all students to succeed and be on the path toward college and career readiness.

With a passion to help shape the next generation of learners and the future of public education, Dr. Johnson began her career as a teacher in Wrightwood, CA, where she taught third and fifth grades.  She served in the position of elementary school assistant principal and lecturer for California State University, San Bernardino. Dr. Johnson began working in the Savanna School District in 1990 as Curriculum Coordinator, and has served in Savanna since that time in the positions of Director of Curriculum, Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services and Superintendent of Schools.

She is passionate about supporting students and future teachers, giving back to her community and to Cal Poly Pomona in a myriad of ways.  After being named as a Distinguished Alumna for the School of Education and Integrative Studies at Cal Poly Pomona in 2005, Dr. Johnson was invited to join the recently formed Partners in Education (PIE) Board at Cal Poly, designed as a support Group for CEIS. During her tenure on the PIE Board, over 275 students have received financial support to complete their clinical practice, thus paying it forward to the next generation of teachers and students.  Her commitment to students and public education was recognized in both her selection as Orange County Superintendent of the Year in 2013 and the Buena Park Citizen of the Year in 2018.   She states, “It’s very fulfilling to be able to give back to future generations, giving others the same opportunities I’ve been given.  In my current position, I’ve been fortunate to ensure students have access to the best teachers, the best facilities, the most current technologies, and the best curricula possible, thus ensuring success for future generations.” 

Dr. Johnson has been married to her husband, Keith, for 39 years and is extremely proud of both of her daughters. Her oldest daughter is a Program Specialist in the University of Washington Study Abroad Program while her youngest daughter is in her tenth year of teaching at the elementary level.  Along with her husband, daughters, son-in-law, and grandson, Dr. Johnson enjoys traveling with the goal of visiting most of America’s National Parks.  Her advice to others is embodied in the quote by Confucius: ‘Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.’

Click here for the May 2023 issue of School News