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Sam Catherine Johnston

Director of Postsecondary & Workforce Development
Photo of Sam Catherine Johnston

As Director of Postsecondary & Workforce Development, Sam Catherine Johnston provides thought and operational leadership in CAST’s workforce/postsecondary opportunities. Sam's primary research focus is on social learning processes and the use of online and blended learning to support peer-to-peer knowledge transfer.  She has conducted design-based research in the fields of mental health care, human services, criminal justice and education in order to find out what various workforces need to continue to learn when engaging in personally and professionally challenging work.

Before joining CAST, Dr. Johnston was a Senior Associate and Distance Educator at the Center for Social Innovation (c4si), leading the company’s online learning strategy.  She also helped develop a blended learning curriculum for criminal justice and behavioral health professionals to create community-based alternatives to jail for individuals with serious mental illness.

Sam serves on multiple advisory boards and has delivered workshops and keynotes nationally and internationally on UDL in postsecondary and workforce settings.

My Inspiration

Education, in the deepest sense and at whatever age it takes place, concerns the opening of identities-exploring new ways of being that lie behind our current state. Whereas training aims to create an inbound trajectory targeted at competence in a specific practice, education must strive to open new dimensions for the negotiated self. It places students on an outbound trajectory toward a broad field of possible identities. Education is not merely formative - it is transformative.

Etienne Wenger in Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning, and Identity(1998, p.263)

Current Projects

Past Projects


EdD, MEd, Harvard Graduate School of Education
BA, McGill University

Selected Publications 

Johnston, S.C., & Rose, D. H., Print and Its Disabilities. Exceptional Children in Today’s Schools, Fifth Edition. Edited/authored by Ed Meyen and Yvonne Bui. 2017. Pro-Ed.

Connell, M.W., Johnston, S.C., Hall, T.E., Stahl, W.M. (2017) Disconnected Data: The Challenge of Matching Activities to Outcomes for Students with Disabilities in Online Learning in Journal of Online Learning Research, Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE).

Johnston, S. C., Greer, D., & Smith, S. (Spring 2014). Peer learning in Virtual Schools. Journal of Distance Education (28)1.

Rose, D.H., Johnston S.C., & Vanden Boogart, A. (Winter 2013). Eds. Technology and Dyslexia Part 2. Perspectives on Language and Literacy (40)1.

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