When you’re part of the team that ensures 25,000 people at American Airlines receive their paychecks, a lot is riding on you to execute every maneuver correctly. Voted “Friendliest in Class” by her classmates in 2007, Courtney (Bishop) Johnson ‘07 takes it all in stride as her high-stakes payroll career has her flying high at one of the largest airlines in the world.

The Hill Country graduate didn’t initially envision such a career taking shape when she received her high school diploma in 2007. After graduation, Courtney made her way to Galveston, Texas, where she studied Marine Biology at Texas A&M University at Galveston. After spending seven years on the coast, Courtney decided it was time for a change, so she packed up and moved to Dallas, where she now resides. 

“While we all imagine life will be executed from a well-thought-out plan, does it ever really happen that way?” asks Courtney, reflecting on the last decade. “Through years of hard work, long days and nights, countless flights, and the drive to reach each challenge, I have worked my way up from a simple data clerk to a payroll software analyst and trainer. I travel to beautiful cities to train airport management and work with a star-studded team of leaders, the hardest workers, and innovative thinkers.” Courtney travels so often that even her dog has an (unofficial) passport. 

When asked to reflect on life at Hill Country, Courtney was happy to oblige. “The first challenges I ever faced were in school, pulling me out of my comfort zones and forcing me to do what I thought I never could,” says Courtney. “It wasn’t easy, I’ll tell you that much. But teachers at Hill Country are dedicated to identifying the strengths and even the weaknesses within each of us, to help us learn how to hone in on them and improve or refine. They help nurture those intangible qualities that we each possess. It is so very clear that they care about students, their well being, their success, and [their] future. Education aside – while worth highly mentioning – I gained from my years [a] valuable wealth of self-awareness of what I could offer and what I could learn down the road. Hill Country is a remarkable institution and has grown so much in the last decade… I am proud to be an alumna.”