Harriet Johnson Primary School was named to honor a TUSD principal who was killed in 1990 in an automobile accident. Harriet Johnson had been principal of Corbett Elementary School for five years at the time of her death. She began her career in TUSD as a special education teacher at Cholla High, and was department head at Santa Rita High. Ms. Johnson had been an assistant principal at Naylor Middle School before becoming principal at Corbett.
Johnson, the second TUSD school to be named for an African-American, is a primary school, with grades preschool to 2nd grade to provide a strong focus on early childhood education. Funds from the 1989 construction bond resulted in the $4.5 million school. Its special design harmonized with the desert and surrounding mountains and included architectural references to the local cultures. Serving the far southwest area of the district, many students come from the Pascua Yaqui Tribe.
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