Explore JJ Legacy


JJ Legacy School provides an excellent and equitable Montessori education in North Minneapolis to an intentionally diverse community of students.


Our students will develop the character strengths, social and emotional skills, creativity, passion for learning and college-preparatory academic capabilities that will enable them to lead lives of joy and purpose.

Our History

Committed to expanding Montessori school options to children living in urban areas, Ann Luce founded Bright Water Montessori Preschool in North Minneapolis in 2004. In 2007, the school expanded by opening a free, public elementary charter school, Bright Water Elementary. The school was refounded as Legacy of Dr. Josie R. Johnson Montessori School in 2020 to reflect a changing student and staff population.

JJ Legacy provides an education that honors the spirit and cultural experience of all of our legends.


Who We Are

Legacy of Dr. Josie R. Johnson Montessori is a K-6 public charter school and includes a tuition-based Preschool in North Minneapolis with a mission to provide an excellent, equitable Montessori education to an intentionally diverse student body. The school is led by Tonicia Abdur Salaam, an educational social justice leader. She has created a foundational approach with an intense focus on a learning community broadened to include leveraging Montessori pedagogy in collaboration with evidence-based practices, specifically, Dr. Wade Nobles' world-renowned research and pedagogy, Nsaka SunSum (Touching the Spirit). This powerful pedagogy offers a full educational experience that honors the whole child in order to combat white supremacy in education. 

At JJ Legacy, we believe all children can be at the center of that important development, by finding their cultural and racial identity in education along with their purpose in the learning environment.

View our Minnesota Department of Education Report Card.

Board of Directors

The Bright Water Board of Directors sets the polices for the school operations. The board is made up of parents, community members, leaders and staff. Parents and community members are welcome and encouraged to attend meetings.

For more information email boardchair@jjlegacy.org or check out their designated page here.

Meet Mama Josie

Dr. Josie R. Johnson is a “living legend” in Minnesota. An educator, activist and public servant for more than seven decades, she is a beloved member of the local and national civil rights community. She has been involved with civil rights and campaigns both locally and nationally. In the 1950s and '60s, Johnson lobbied to pass Minnesota's anti-discrimination laws. She was also at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s side at the March on Washington in 1963. She is a committed champion for fair housing, equal employment and better educational outcomes for children.

Dr. Johnson is the recipient of numerous awards and honors. She also was the recipient of the Committed to the Vision Award from the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights. Her story is an integral part of Minneapolis’ identity. She published her memoir “Hope in the Struggle” in 2019.

We Need Your Support!

JJ Legacy is working harder than ever to ensure that our scholars receive intensive academic interventions and extended learning opportunities.