Johnson Elementary School was dedicated on November 30, 1958, and was named for Dr. Charles Claudius Johnson (1886-1966), a prominent local African American physician who delivered outstanding and devoted service to the people of Franklin for over 40 years in practice. Dr. Johnson was a leader in civic affairs, including service on the federal Housing Committee and on the staff at Williamson County Hospital, upon its opening.
The FSSD Board of Education purchased 17.25 acres from William Polk in 1956 in order to build the Charles C. Johnson School. At a cost of just $390,000, Johnson School served Franklin’s African American children in grades 1-8 until 1971, when the FSSD schools were fully integrated. During integration, the school’s grade structure was modified to accommodate grades 3 and 4. In the early 1990s, the school was restored to a true elementary school, serving students in kindergarten through fifth grade, a grade which was later moved to Freedom Intermediate School. Major renovations and additions to the building were made in 1981 and 2000.
- J.R. Watkins (1958-1981), who led the school from its inception through 23 years of revolutionary change. He was known for his kind and gentle demeanor and sense of purpose and excellence that set Johnson’s standard.
- Laura Bracy (1981-1991), whose dynamic personality, strong teaching background, and subtle sense of humor guided the staff and community through a decade of growth and success.
- Meredith Henderson (1991-2005), who led with a quiet dignity that is the spirit of Johnson Elementary School. Her educational expertise and academic leadership empowered teachers and encouraged students to excel in every area.
- Jan Cochran (2005-2011), who provided leadership with a quiet strength and sense of purpose. The school’s impressive history was alive in the halls under her watchful eyes, and she was dedicated to maintaining the school’s reputation of academic excellence.
- Tosha Robinson Baugh (2011-present), a Franklin native and former FSSD student, worked as a classroom teacher for nine years and an assistant principal at the school for five before being named principal. She holds a master’s degree in elementary education and educational leadership. “Mrs. Baugh’s quiet leadership style has helped lead the school to tremendous academic achievement,” said Dr. David Snowden, FSSD Director of Schools.
Board of Education
FSSD Board of Education at the time of the 1958 dedication of the Charles C. Johnson School included (left to right) John Jewell, Leonard E. McKeand, H. P. Beasley, Ph.D., T. C. Harlan, Superintendent Thomas W. Bruce, and Harry Guffee, Ph. D. Not pictured is Howard E. Johnston.