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FACTS Management grants business teacher Nick Johnson inaugural teacher innovation award

Worthington Christian School’s incredible faculty members consistently strive to innovate around best practices to engage learners in experiential, authentic, and purposeful learning through an adaptive and student-centered learning environment. One of WC’s teachers recently received national recognition for this exact type of learning. 

In the fall of 2022, WC’s parent/student database platform FACTS Management announced its first-ever Teacher Innovation Awards program. Teachers from across the country were invited to create submissions demonstrating their innovative approaches to learning. Over 100 teachers submitted their innovative work, and five were ultimately selected as winners. WC’s very own Nick Johnson was named among the five winners. 

Johnson has truly been creating change at WC since he joined the faculty as the Upper School business teacher in 2018. He took the helm of the school’s well-established Internship Academy and continued to expand that program’s community partnerships and real-world opportunities for students. In 2020, he launched a brand-new class at WC called Entrepreneurial Incubator. This course was designed to allow students the creative space and structure to bring their own business ideas to life. Within weeks of that school year, WC’s first entrepreneurial students had hatched a plan to open a school coffee shop. This plan, dubbed the “Warrior Café,” became a reality in the subsequent months as students worked diligently to create a business plan, develop menus, collaborate with local ingredient suppliers, and receive all of the necessary school and municipal permits to open for business.  

Over the last two and a half years of being in business, the Warrior Café has made quite a name for itself. It is not only a staple among Upper School students and faculty, but it has also developed a curbside service option for parents during school pick-up times. It has generated thousands of dollars in revenue and provided hundreds of dollars in student scholarships for its managers and for students who plan to take part in the Senior Capstone trip to the Dominican Republic. This school initiative continues to accomplish and expand upon its original goal of providing WC students with hands on business experience.  

Johnson’s innovative teaching approach is inspired by his non-traditional path to teaching. Following a stint as a professional baseball player, Johnson applied his University of Cincinnati business degree to the marketplace. He garnered years of experience in retail, insurance, and medical device sales. He then began to feel the call to bring this experience into the classroom setting. Learning of the new FACTS award in 2022, he explains, “When I initially made my submission for the award, I felt like I did a good job of telling a story of how we began, what we have accomplished, and where we plan to go with the Warrior Cafe…I’m just glad I was able to showcase what my former students and current students have accomplished within three years.”

On February 16, 2023, two representatives from FACTS Management visited the Upper School to present Johnson with a check for $5,000. FACTS will also give $1,000 to WC as a part of Johnson’s award earnings. In the summer of 2023, Johnson will travel to Orlando, Florida, where he will give a presentation at a FACTS educators’ conference with an average attendance of 2,000 teachers from across the country.  

During the awards ceremony, FACTS’ Product Marketing Manager Courtney Haindel explained that as a member of the committee that reviewed all 108 teacher submissions, it quickly became clear that Johnson’s was among the best. In her words, “Johnson’s work with students in the Warrior Café personifies the kind of learning FACTS desires to recognize. It is multi-disciplinary, incorporates technology, and truly provides students with real-world learning experience.”

Upper School Principal Tim Kraynak says of Johnson, “Nick had a vision to create a coffee shop here at WC that was run by students, and he desired to use a portion of the revenue each year to scholarship students for their trip to the Dominican Republic…The Warrior Café has been a HUGE success, and our students have done a remarkable job taking ownership of the process. Nick has a love for the Lord, an entrepreneurial spirit, and is willing to allow his students to take risks and engage with experiential learning to maximize their growth. The Warrior Café is a perfect example of all three of these coming together.” 

Join us in congratulating Johnson on this well-deserved recognition! Below you can see his full video submission, narrated by WC’s Business and Technology Chair Pam Cain.  

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