SACRAMENTO, CA, April 26, 2019 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Marquis Who's Who, the world's premier publisher of biographical profiles, is proud to present JoJene Landon with the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award. An accomplished listee, Ms. Landon celebrates many years' experience in her professional network, and has been noted for achievements, leadership qualities, and the credentials and successes she has accrued in her field. As in all Marquis Who's Who biographical volumes, individuals profiled are selected on the basis of current reference value. Factors such as position, noteworthy accomplishments, visibility, and prominence in a field are all taken into account during the selection process.
Mrs. Landon always liked school, which is a wonder because she was the poster child for ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder). This was a time when a child with ADHD was "troublesome," or a whole lot of other less-professional adjectives. Throughout elementary school she thought her name was, "JoJene, sit down and be quiet." Things began to improve when she reached junior high school. There were two reasons for the improvement. First, she was placed in a remedial reading program and her seventh-grade reading teacher soon realized she could hardly read. This program consisted of three classes, reading, English and U.S. history. Reading was a challenge. Most of English was not so difficult, diagramming sentences, capitalization, punctuation, and because she spoke well (her mother's contribution), even written assignments were not too bad. Then there was spelling. She never finished a spelling test after the third grade without ending up in tears. In her senior year she was fourth from the bottom in the national spelling test out of the graduating seniors. The scores were posted in the main hall for all to see, and to this day spelling is the bane of her existence. It is still not uncommon for her to be so far from the correct spelling that the spell checker can't figure it out. While reading and English presented some challenge, she loved history. From that point on history was her favorite subject.
The second thing that made school easier for her was that expectations in junior high and high school became more about what she knew and how she expressed it, and less about basic skills. In high school JoJene discovered something quite by accident. Her freshman history teacher, Milton Small, was an excellent lecturer, and she found it easier to earn A's and B's in his classes. By her sophomore year she had figured out that by signing up for classes with teachers who were the best lecturers, her grades improved in all subjects. Since most teachers believe what they say is the most important thought on the subject, repeating to them what they had said further improved her grade point average. After taking Mr. Small's freshman history class, she signed up for one his classes every semester. Mr. Small was the second teacher to recognize the amount of difficulty she had with reading and writing. He willingly helped her improve her skills but was as demanding with her as with the other students, especially with research. Mr. Small's major contribution was helping her understand that history is the interweaving of individual human lives.
On Mr. Small's recommendation some of his students went to the Idaho State Historical Society and Museum to do research. The other students finished their research a quickly as possible and were gone, but she enjoyed the work at the museum and soon became a regular volunteer. This deepened her love for history as she learned to perform many of the nitty-gritty tasks that keep a museum running and make research possible. Until Jerry Swinny, the new director of the museum arrived, the museum had been more "visual storage" than an educational institution. We were soon cleaning, polishing and restoring artifacts for display, developing hands-on presentation kits which could be used by teachers in classrooms and writing skits that helped students understand how hard life had been for the early settlers and how even the smallest artifact helped us understand their lives.
Her mother had always wanted to be a nurse, so JoJene enrolled in nurse's training after she graduated from high school. She definitely was not cut out to be a nurse. She changed her major to history the next year and was on her way to teaching. After completing two years of college, the money ran out, so she joined the army. Of course, she was assigned to the medical corps. Her three years in the army taught her a lot more about medicine than nurse's training did. Her medical knowledge would be very useful in special education. Her enlistment ended at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California where she met a handsome, talented sailor and started a new career as a wife and mother.
Her husband, James Landon, was a Chinese and Korean linguist with the U.S. Navy. His career took them to Taiwan, Okinawa, California, Japan, Maryland and Hawaii. By the time she was able to join her husband on Taiwan, they had an infant son, Tom. They hired an ahma, [maid] named Sue and she brought her youngest son, Tung, with her to work. Tom was soon speaking very good Chinese for a baby. It was wonderful to watch her with the two little boys. Sue was an exceptional person. Her insights about children would influence Mrs. Landon.
Transferring to Okinawa was sad because the Landons had to leave Sue, but it became devastating when Sue passed away within six months of their transfer. She had been the sole support of her family, and the Landons were very concerned about her children. A Chinese friend on Okinawa helped them correspond with Sue's husband and he agreed to let the Landons adopt the two next to the youngest, Sharon (7) and John (5). The adoption took almost a year with the Pueblo Crisis in the middle. By the time they actually got the children they had had another baby, Jonathan.
Living near or on military bases overseas afforded Mrs. Landon the opportunity to finish her B.A. in Far Eastern History (1968), three credits at a time. She graduated from the University of Maryland in a ceremony held in Tokyo, Japan. Earning her degree was made much easier by her husband who served as proofreader, secretary and chief encourager. He also made it possible for her to be home with the children until they were all in school, which she genuinely enjoyed.
While they were in California, she became a Girl Scout leader which she continued in Japan. The military base in Japan had a beautiful white sand beach so the troop could camp as much as they wanted. There were no amenities, so the base would send out a water buffalo [a huge water tank on wheels] and park it for the weekend. Other than that, they would rough it. There were a lot of activities for the children on base. Besides being the Girl Scout leader, she worked with the Base Chapel Sunday School, Youth Judo and was co-organizer for the Summer Swimming Program for about 150 children.
One of their children began to have difficulty in school when they were in Japan. When he was assessed, he was diagnosed with minimal brain dysfunction, now known as ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). When they returned to the United States, Mrs. Landon set about trying to find help for him. Professional counseling and medication helped but he still had problems, so what would any mother do? She started researching the subject, which turned out to be a lot of subjects. She earned a M.Ed. in Learning Disabilities and Mental Retardation (1974) at Bowie State College. The local schools were desperate to fill special education positions and she started her teaching career. It soon became apparent that she was ill prepared to teach reading so she earned a M.S. in Reading and Reading Disabilities from Johns Hopkins University (1978). While in Maryland she also started working with Boy Scout Programs which would continue for 40 years.
In 1980 the Landons were stationed in Hawaii. While stationed there Mrs. Landon taught severely emotionally disturbed seventh and eighth grade students. She also developed and presented a unit on hyperactivity for Project Ho'okoho, a joint University of Hawaii and Hawaii Department of Education project. While in Hawaii she also served as Superintendent of Protestant Sunday Schools at Pearl Harbor Naval Station Chapel (1981-1983).
Upon returning to the mainland the Landons settled in California, where Mrs. Landon taught in several programs for emotionally disturbed children or youth. In 1990 she accepted a position in Grant Joint High School District as a resource specialist where she served at Martin Luther Junior High School for two years and Rio Tierra Junior High School where she served for seventeen years. She was department chair for eighteen years in Grant District. Mrs. Landon completed a postgraduate program in education for the severely handicapped at California State University, Sacramento, 1990. She retired from full time teaching in 2010, though she continued to substitute for another four years. Mrs. Landon was recognized as Grant District Teacher of the Year in 1997. She teaches fourth through sixth grade Sunday school for the Methodist church, and was a lay speaker and taught hermeneutics for the local Methodist district.
When asked about people who had mentored her, she replied, "A few of the many people who encouraged and mentored me have been mentioned here but my most important mentor was my mother, Mary Babbitt. She taught me a great deal about people. On Sundays when I was in my late teens, Mother and I would go to the homes of people who were sick and didn't have much of anyone to care for them. She would bathe them while I gathered up their laundry, did the dishes, or any task that time allowed. We sometimes brought food and even went to the thrift shop and bought warm clothes. I was certainly familiar with some of the needs of the very poor, but one day Mother asked me to drop her off at the house of a woman for whom we had both worked for as domestic servants. I ask her why she was going there. I will never forget her answer. 'Rich people get lonely too.' It was the people my mother served, not their status.
As I mentioned mother wanted to be a nurse. At the age of 50 she decided that if she couldn't be a nurse, she would study to become a Swedish masseuse and start her own business. After cleaning other people's houses all day she went to school at night. She earned her diploma and then managed to get a mortgage so she could buy a house and have a place for the business. Mother was the example of, "If you want to do something and are willing to do the work, there is little you can't accomplish."
In recognition of outstanding contributions to her profession and the Marquis Who's Who community, JoJene Landon has been featured on the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement website. Please visit www.ltachievers.com for more information about this honor.
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