Before Bernadeia Johnson was an educator, the Minneapolis superintendent was a banker for 13 years. 

Then she got laid off by what was then First Bank.

So she turned to the University of St. Thomas, using its Collaborative Urban Educator program to make a transition into teaching through an alternative licensing program that eventual earned her a masters degree in 1993. She progressed steadily from teacher to principal to deputy superintendent to top dog in Minneapolis schools.

Now St. Thomas has recognized that mid-career transition with its 2012 distinguish alumna award, conferred Wednesday. The award recognizes leadership and service.

You can watch a St. Thomas-produced video about Johnson at this link.