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News & Info

Alumna Gives Back to Great Falls Community

University of Providence graduate, Holly Ann Johnson, has a resume filled with volunteer and leadership roles. However, the role of a leader was something she didn’t see for herself during her years at UP.

While at UP, Holly says her one of her professors encouraged her to join several clubs, including the Student Montana Education Association (SMEA Club), disABILITY Awareness Club, and Growing Leaders and Outstanding Women (GLOW) Club. Through these clubs, Holly volunteered in local schools as a mentor at the Juvenile Detention Center, and built family housing in Puerto Peñasco, Mexico.

Holly’s vision for herself changed after graduating from UP with a Bachelor of Arts degrees in Elementary Education and Special Education. She served as a Peace Corps volunteer for two years in the Gambia, West Africa. While in the Gambia,  she was posted in a village, where she worked as a primary teacher trainer.

“While in The Gambia, my three goals were improving teaching, promoting student achievement, and the development and use of teaching and learning resources. I worked alongside teachers, helping to plan more student-centered lessons, helping with the development and use of learning aids using local materials, co-teaching and modelling lessons, and facilitating workshops for my teachers that focused on classroom management and literacy practices,” Holly said.

Holly also created a girls’ club to help promote gender awareness and girls’ education and empowerment.

Today, Holly works as a special education teacher at Valley View Elementary School in Great Falls. She credits her teaching her how to be determined, sympathetic, a seeker, a listener, and empathetic.

“I thank the University of Providence for giving me that push, which is how and why I was able to partake in my previous adventures. Thank you to all my amazing education professors who taught me great and creative teaching methods that I was able to pass along to my Gambian colleagues, and my colleagues now. Thank you to my parents that have always provided me with that constant love and support, which has helped make all my dreams come true,” Holly said.

Holly plans to earn a master’s degree in education and cannot wait for her next adventure.