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2011 Most Influential Women Honoree: Laura Johnson

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Attorney Laura Johnson has found a career home with Ellis, Ellis, Hammons & Johnson PC. She’s in her 20th year working at the Springfield law firm, after short stints as a federal law clerk and with a Kansas City law firm upon graduating from Southern Methodist University with her law degree 1988.

Johnson, who also is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, has found her niche in school law and has applied her skills to help lead the board of education in Ozark.

“School districts are facing a number of substantial challenges. I draw on my years of experience as a school law attorney and active PTA volunteer to make decisions that will serve the best interest of the students and to provide positive leadership,” says Johnson, now in her second board term. “I have championed causes such as an early release program to allow extra professional development time for teachers, adoption of the international baccalaureate program, expansion of the vocational program and online education, and increased emphasis on early writing skills.”

Her impression has been felt.

“Laura has consistently demonstrated leadership, insight and a firm commitment to student achievement,” says Ozark R-VI board President Chuck Fugate. “She gracefully handles sensitive issues (and) brings valuable legal and personal experience to bear in her service.”

Johnson was most recently challenged with leading the planning committee for 2011 Project Graduation, an alcohol-free event for high school seniors. After hours of volunteer time by Johnson and others, Project Graduation had $35,000 with which to work – aided by fundraising efforts such as the District Duel, which Johnson notes also aims to build community relations between Ozark and Nixa.

Other community work affects children in foster care and the food-insecure in Johnson’s community. She has served on the board of directors for Least of These Food Pantry in Nixa since 2009.

“I, along with other new members of the board and a new director, undertook the challenge of adopting a mission statement and strategic plan, improving board policies and practices, developing greater financial accountability, and expanding services offered,” Johnson says of her work with the pantry.

At Court Appointed Special Advocates in Springfield, Johnson is a board member and chairwoman of the personnel committee. She also is active in Ozark Rotary Club and holds membership in the Missouri and Springfield bar associations, including committee roles.

Click here for full coverage of the 2011 Most Influential Women.
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