Acceleration 2020: Every child college and career ready

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Dr. Bernadeia H. Johnson, superintendent of Minneapolis Public Schools, is directly responsible for overseeing academic achievement for all students and the school district’s business functions. Her areas of focus include implementing focused instruction, or what is taught, how it is taught and how student progress is measured; and teacher evaluation that is both supportive and meaningful. Dr. Johnson’s superintendency began in July 2010. Her continuing priorities include implementing core strategies that will put a good teacher in every classroom, a strong principal in every school and a high quality school in every neighborhood so that all Minneapolis students receive the education and support they need to succeed in school and in life. Key to that effort is developing a healthy, productive work culture and ensuring that administrative services provide optimal support to schools.

Dr. Johnson believes that all students should have high quality leaders and teachers and a rigorous curriculum that promotes critical thinking, engages learning and prepares them for success in the 21st century. Her efforts to drive student achievement were reflected in the 2011 MCA-II results, which showed that MPS for the first time in six years made progress in its work to narrow the achievement gap between students of color and white students. One of the key architects of the development of the MPS strategic plan, Dr. Johnson emphasizes the importance of high expectations for herself and every MPS employee. She values family and community involvement in and beyond the school day to promote continuous learning for all students.

Dr. Johnson served as deputy superintendent of MPS from August 2005 to June 2010. Her responsibilities included providing leadership, leadership development, service and support to improve the academic achievement of all students. Her work in Minneapolis has also included identifying school reforms and practices to support accelerating student achievement; leading decisions around curriculum and instruction, professional development, assessment and accountability; establishing programs to improve principal leadership and teacher quality; forging partnerships with universities, foundations and community organizations; and planning for the academic, financial and operational future of the school district.

From April 2004 to July 2005, Dr. Johnson held the position of deputy superintendent of Memphis City Schools, the largest school system in the state of Tennessee, where she was responsible for the creation of a team that included representatives from academic departments to focus on the clear alignment of academically focused work. She was principal at Elizabeth Hall Community School in Minneapolis from July 1999 to March 2004 and she taught and served as an assistant principal in the Saint Paul Public Schools from 1991 to 1999. Prior to her work in the education field, Dr. Johnson was a financial analyst in Minneapolis.

In May 2011 Dr. Johnson completed her doctorate in education policy and administration at the University of Minnesota. She earned her Master of Arts degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of St. Thomas in 1992 and her Bachelor of Science degree in communication disorders from Alabama A & M University. 

Dr. Johnson was honored in 2012 with both the Minnesota School Public Relations Association (MinnSPRA) District Leadership for Excellence in Communications Award, presented annually to one superintendent in Minnesota for outstanding leadership in school public relations and communications, and the University of St. Thomas Distinguished Alumnus/Alumna Award, presented annually to one individual for leadership and service to St. Thomas, the community and in his or her field of endeavor.

In September 2014, the George Family Foundation named Dr. Bernadeia Johnson as one of  84 exceptional women leaders making remarkable contributions to building the Twin Cities. Dr. Johnson was honored for her leadership and contributions to the Minneapolis community and leading the Twin Cities in building institutions and solving significant social problems.