History of Johnson

Sketch of Johnson School 
History of the Johnson School

Johnson School opened on September 19, 1949. The school is named in honor of Harold H. Johnson, a dedicated citizen who was elected to the Natick School Committee in 1933 and served as Chairperson 1934-1954.

The following is a direct quote (courtesy of Dr. Joe Keefe) from the
"Report of the School Survey Committee" from 1946:

The committee is "prepared to recommend that the Town acquire available land to the north and west of the Oak Grove School, sufficient in area, to increase the size of the present school lot from less than two to slightly more than seven acres; to be the site of a school building to include twelve rooms for the first six grades, a room for a kindergarten, an assembly hall, and a cafeteria; this school to replace the Nathan Rice and Oak Grove Schools. Both of these schools are out of date. The Nathan Rice School was built in 1873 and the Oak Grove School, in 1882.  Years ago the Board of Health condemned the Nathan Rice School as unfit for use."

The red brick schoolhouse is on a 7+ acre site. It was originally a K-6 school. Johnson School currently educates students in grades K-4 and has an enrollment of 246 students. The school provides a unique environment for learning in that it is the quintessential community school. Most of our students are "walkers" and live in close proximity to the school. Our schoolyard is filled with parents, grandparents and young siblings during the morning arrival and afternoon dismissal times, which provides opportunity for families to build connections and for parents to touch base with classroom teachers. Our school houses 11 classrooms in addition to a host of specialists and support staff. Positive morale and enthusiastic energy permeate the school and are integral to our school culture.

Throughout the past several decades, the principals' annual reports document the spirit and dedication that has been a longstanding cornerstone for the school community. Johnson School faculty and parents, past and present, have established and sustained a most impressive legacy of collaboration and commitment to students.

Special recognitions:

2002 - Winner of the Edgerly School Leadership Award for MCAS Improvement

1997 - Honored as a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence by the U.S. Department of Education (one of 263 schools out of 53,000 schools across the country to be identified as exemplary)


School Principals:

Dr. Gail Cosgrove (First Principal, 1949-1950)
Ms. Jane Oaks (1950-1954)
Mr. William Mayer (1954-1956)
Mr. Paul Wadleigh (1956-1958)
Mr. Harold McCormick (1959-1969)
Mr. Keith Cassidy (1969-1994)
Dr. Kevin Crowley (1994-2002)
Mrs. Helen Chamedis (2002-2003)
Dr. Barbara Brown (2003-2009)
Ms. Karen Ghilani (2009-2016)
Mrs. Jordan Hoffman (2016-2022)
Mr. John Jordan, Interim (2022-2023)
Mrs. Brenna Turner, Interim (2023-Present)


Background Information on Harold H. Johnson:

Harold H. Johnson was born in Rhode Island on April 1, 1884. As a boy, he attended school in Fall River, MA. He lived in Natick for 44 years. He lived with his family on Roxbury Drive. He had eight children (6 sons and 2 daughters). Harold served as Chairman of the Natick School Committee 1934-1954. He died shortly before his 75th birthday on February 11, 1959. He is buried in Dell Park Cemetery.

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