Mrs. Shirley E. Oglesby Smith Johnson

 

“Anyone can be good at what they do. God planted exceptional seeds within us; we must reach deep down within ourselves to bring out the extraordinary.”

Shirley E. Oglesby Smith-Johnson

“Hello Precious! There are no ugly people. I don’t know any, nor have I ever seen one,” Says, Shirley E. Oglesby-Smith-Johnson, an inspiring free-spirited educator from Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Pine Bluff is nestled on the banks of the beautiful Arkansas River. It is encircled by breathtaking timberlands, and receives whiffs of sweet-smelling aromas, flowing from its evergreen trees, creeks, streams and bayous. Shirley’s optimistic outlook on life is powerful, invigorating, and contagious. She encourages positive thinking. By so doing—she lays a good foundation for positive actions. Her compassionate view of life stirs the human soul and lifts the spirit.

Shirley is a multi-talented author, publisher, performer, playwright, and founder of the Oglesby Communications and Consulting Agency. She is the author of the 2003 award winning play, “A Triumph of the Spirit”, in which she brings to life the story of Harriet Tubman.

Mrs. Johnson received a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB). She received a Master’s degree in Elementary Education and a lifetime certification in Mathematics from the University of Missouri (UMKC). Mrs. Johnson was employed by the Kansas City, Missouri School District for twenty-seven years and felt it a blessing to teach as well as to learn. She was a dedicated Academic Mentor and a Master Mathematics teacher.

She is the wife of Clinton M. Johnson, a dentist in Kansas City, Missouri. Clinton and Shirley have three children; Kenneth a practicing physician in California; Elijah, who taught in the Kansas City  Missouri School district, but later left and procured his Masters  of Business Administration (MBA) and now works in the insurance field; and, LaShonne, a practicing attorney in Dallas, Texas.

Mrs. Johnson is a relentless advocate for children, always advising them to refuse to accept “mediocrities,” and to embrace “brilliancies.” Mrs. Johnson’s unique approaches and amazing performances empower and encourage people to eradicate crippling prejudices, divisive boundaries, and restrictive labels. Shirley’s deep passions emerge from her innate desire to return and to free people (as did Harriet Tubman) from the enslavement of doubt and negativity. Her natural ability to educate moves her toward freedom, where she finds purpose and peace. Shirley is a determined individual who rebuffs attempts made to sequester her mission and vision of life and freedom.

In the summer of 2003 the Oglesby-Smith Family Summer School program opened its doors for its mission of assisting where improvement was needed and focusing on life-skills. The Oglesby Communication and Consulting Agency continues to be the school’s primary sponsor. Since its inception, the agency’s mission has not changed. Its goal is to raise one million dollars to advance three educational projects; The Oglesby-Smith Scholarship Fund at the University of Arkansas, in Pine Bluff; The Oglesby-Smith Family Summer School; and The Harriet Tubman Awards Day plaques, awarded to exceptional community leaders in March of each year. To date there have been seven exceptional recipients of this award. Commencing in March, of the 2013-14 school year, “a Triumph of the Spirit”Scholarship will be granted to students meeting specified qualifications, and who harmonize with the compassionate spirit of Harriet R. Tubman. There are two recipients for 2013, and 2014, Ronald Lee (began at UAPB), and Joycelyn Jones, who is completing her education at Avila University in Missouri. Scholarships will be given to UAPB students when the Cast/Crew perform at the Hathaway/Howard Fine Arts Center. This Oglesby Smith Scholarship will continue to provide students with some assistance as they "continue this educational journey and this life long ride."

Mrs. Johnson has authored Touch My Soul …I Are Fine, a portrayal of her life story, and The Dangers of Teaching New Dogs Old Tricks, an educational how-to-journal. She co-authored the book Stop Teaching School, Start Teaching Children which encourages teachers to reassess their paradigm of teaching. Mrs. Johnson is in the process of writing a screen-play sequel to A Triumph of the Spirit. Soon- to- be released is the first in a series of collect- and- learn coloring books for pre-kindergarten thru-fifth grades. Available at the present time are: Audio Book; A CD; A DVD of the musical. Shirley sponsors and facilitates several ongoing community activities. Truly, one of Mrs. Johnson’s favorite pursuits is to travel and present workshops that engage, inspire, and delight young people.