John H. Lounsbury

A Brief Biography (2017)

Dr. John H. Lounsbury, the 92-yr old namesake of the College of Education,
conversing with our junior Special Education students.

In 1948, John Lounsbury began his education career as a social studies teacher in Wilmington, N.C. Today, sixty-nine years later, Dr. John H. Lounsbury, Dean Emeritus of the John H. Lounsbury College of Education at Georgia College (GC) and twice retired, continues to pursue his career-long interest in middle level education in an office in the William Heard Kilpatrick Education Center close to the one he occupied as Dean. 

Dr. Lounsbury was born 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 America after the Mayflower and it seems fitting that the gentleman fondly referred to as the "Lighthouse" man was, from birth, involved with new explorations and beacons. Dr. Lounsbury lived through the Great Depression and during the latter part of the 1930s, he attended a small college in Tusculum, Tennessee. It was there he met his future wife, Libby. 

In 1941, during his college sophomore year, 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. As he continued at Peabody to work on his doctorate, Lounsbury developed a professional relationship with Leonard Koos, known as a founder of the junior high school movement. As a result of this relationship, Lounsbury elected to write his dissertation on the junior high school and through the related research developed an interest that would soon shape education in America. In 1948, he began teaching junior high school in Wilmington, North Carolina for a sum of $1,800 annually ($5.00 a day!).

After completing his doctorate, Dr. Lounsbury fulfilled professional assignments at Berry College in Rome, Georgia and at the University of Florida in Gainesville before finding his professional home at Georgia State College for Women (GSCW--now GC) in 1960. At Georgia College, Dr. Lounsbury served as 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 from his role as the first Dean of the School of Education.

Dr. Lounsbury is well known as a Legacy Leader in the middle school movement that began in the early 1960s. In particular, he has served as an advocate for those exemplary middle grades practices that support the development of teacher–student relationships, such as schools-within-a-school and looping.  Today, he continues to be active in middle grades education: serving with the Georgia Middle School Association, the Georgia Lighthouse Schools to Watch program, the Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE), formerly National Middle School Association (NMSA), and writing articles for publication. He also continues to offer leadership at the state and national level through his writings on behalf of young adolescents and he serves as a mentor, role model, and inspiration to teacher candidates across the College of Education and to students enrolled in the Georgia College Early College. Finally, Dr. Lounsbury made such a positive impact on the School of Education, now College of Education, during his tenure at the university that in 1997 the school was named the John H. Lounsbury School of Education, becoming the John H. Lounsbury College of Education in 2009.

Though his focus has been middle level education, throughout his career Dr. Lounsbury has challenged educators to create a learning environment that supports the development of the unique students they serve, whether they are middle, elementary, or secondary. He has authored and co-authored over 150 articles, two college texts, and has contributed to numerous other books, reports and chapters. He has presented at state, national, and international conferences in the United States and around the world.

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.

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.

*Updated 9/9/2017 by Dr. Nancy Mizelle, Professor, Middle Grades Education