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John H. Lounsbury--A Brief Biography (2009)



Dr. John H. Lounsbury, one of the founders of the middle school movement, began his career in education over fifty years ago; he still plays a vital and active professional role.  He has written a plethora of books and articles, has been a national leader in the National Middle School Association (NMSA), and is our beloved former dean.  He is an inspiration to all of us. 

This educator's life began in Plainfield, New Jersey during the Roaring Twenties. His middle name is in honor of the English sea captain of the Swallow that came to American after the Mayflower. It seems fitting that our "Light house" man from day one was involved with new explorations and beacons. Dr. Lounsbury lived through the Great Depression in the 30s.  During the latter part of that decade, he attended a small college in Tennessee, Tusculum, where he met his life-mate, Libby.

In 1941, during his college sophomore year, Dr. Lounsbury enlisted in the army.  He was first a cryptographer, then a signal corpsman, and finally a technical sergeant.  These assignments foreshadowed his later career as a writer.  When World War II was over, he married Libby, and they moved to Florida where he finished his bachelor's degree.  Then they moved back to Tennessee where Lounsbury earned his master's at Peabody in Nashville.  In 1948, he began teaching junior high school in Wilmington, North Carolina for a sum of $1,800 annually ($5.00 a day!).

As Dr. Lounsbury worked on his doctorate at Peabody, he came into contact with Leonard Koos, known as a founder of the junior high school movement.  Dr. Lounsbury's dissertation was on the junior high school. This research began an interest that would soon shape education in America.  After receiving his doctorate, Dr. Lounsbury fulfilled professional assignments at Berry College in Rome, Georgia and at the University of Florida in Gainesville before he found his professional home at Georgia State College for Women (GSCW--now GC) in 1960.

At Georgia College Dr. Lounsbury was Chairman of the Division of Teacher Education and Director of Graduate Studies.  Except for a year's leave to work with The Teacher Corps in Washington, D.C., he remained at Georgia College until retiring in 1983 as the first Dean of the School of Education . He made such an impact at the university that in 1997 the school was named the John H. Lounsbury School of Education. (The John H. Lounsbury School of Education became the John H. Lounsbury College of Education in 2009.)  Dr. Lounsbury is Dean Emeritus and currently has an office in the Kilpatrick Education Center. He is the consulting editor for the National Middle School Association.

Dr. Lounsbury has been instrumental in implementing several educational strategies such as schools-within-schools and looping.  He is very active professionally in the state and nation.  He continues to offer leadership through his publications and presentations on behalf of young adolescents and is very involved with the Georgia College Early College.

Lounsbury has described himself as "very conservative, old-fashioned…in personal values, progressive in educational values, and liberal in social values."  We are indeed fortunate to know and work with this conservative, progressive, liberal man at Georgia College.


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