Our Principal and Co-Principal
Steve Johnson, Principal
Mr. Johnson began his career in U-46 in 1991. For nine years he was a school social worker at Centennial, Laurel Hill and Sheridan schools and at Central School Programs. Beginning in 2000 Mr. Johnson served as a Special Education supervisor working with teachers and other special education staff members at five school sites.
Mr. Johnson became the principal of Highland Elementary School in 2004, serving as the third principal since 1974. His educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts from Illinois Wesleyan University (1986), a Master of Social Work from Aurora University (1991) and additional course work at Aurora University, Roosevelt University, Judson University and the University of Illinois at Chicago. Mr. Johnson is also a graduate of the National Institute for School Leadership.
Presentations include workshops for the past three years at the Illinois PBIS Summer Leadership Conference, A national Bully Prevention Conference, the Illinois Association of Multilingual Multicultural Education, the National Library Association and Illinois Principal's Association.
Mr. Johnson is married to Mona who is a teacher and has two daughters who are also both teachers.
Anissa Upshaw - Lanotte, Co Principal
Dear Parents, Staff, Students, and Stakeholders:
It is with great pleasure and excitement that I have become a member of the Highland Elementary School Community! I am honored to embark upon my role as the Co-Principal of Highland, and I am looking forward to assisting Principal Johnson with his retirement transition as well as getting to know all the traditions and exciting initiatives that matter most to our Highland community.
As the Assistant Principal at Ridge Circle for four years, I enjoyed learning and collaborating with teachers and parents! Each day my goal was to consistently create an authentic environment of belonging and Panther PRIDE. The feedback received from students regarding the whole school celebration: Black History Month Open MIC was off the charts! I will never forget the amazing community at Ridge Circle!
I have lived the past 25 years of my life in Illinois, and cannot imagine living anywhere more special. My love for learning has inspired me to build upon my educational experiences and grow as an educator. I graduated from National Louis University in 2013 and accepted a teaching position in District 65. During my tenure within the district I taught in multiple capacities including: co teaching, general education, resource, and self-contained special education. I have also served students in leadership capacities including PBIS-Tier 2/3 Coordinator, NWEA/MAP Coordinator, Special Education Standing Committee, School Improvement and Climate Teams as well as Student Council. The decision to become an administrator came from a desire to make a positive impact on an entire school, not just my classroom of students.
As a Co Principal, I will work to support students academically, socially, and emotionally. I believe in the potential of each student, and realize we are not just preparing them for the next grade, but for the future. This preparation will include experiences that are challenging, relevant, and meet the needs of the individual student. I am very much looking forward to meeting each of you over the course of the school year.
My door is always open to help support you and focus on what is best for our students. Please feel free to contact me with any celebrations or concerns you may have. It is inspiring to think about all that we will achieve working together!
Please check out this recent article about my educational journey published by National Louis University (NLU).
Click this link: NLU Article
It's a GREAT day to learn at U-46!
Here’s to a fantastic school year,
Anissa Upshaw Lanotte
Highland Elementary School