In 2014, Johnson was appointed to the position of Education Department Director by former Mayor Michael B. Coleman. After the election of Mayor Ginther, Johnson was re-appointed to the position in 2016. Throughout her time as director, Johnson was committed to broadening the education opportunities for and addressing the needs of students living in Columbus.
"I would like to thank Rhonda for her tireless service to the City, and to Columbus as a whole. She has been a stalwart advocate for children, education and educators her entire professional career, and she has been critical to the City's efforts to increase access to high-quality pre-k, and to lay the groundwork for a comprehensive birth-to-five policy agenda," said Mayor Andrew J. Ginther. "While Rhonda's contribution to our mission will be missed, the work of the Education Department will continue, and our commitment to early childhood education is unwavering. This transition represents an opportunity to continue to align the community around a bold agenda to invest in the health, well-being and education of our youngest residents."
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Since 2014, the Education Department has spent almost $27 million to improve accessibility, opportunity and quality of education for Columbus students. Rhonda Johnson and her staff established the Early Start Columbus program, making it possible for more than 4,500 4-year-olds to have access to high quality pre-kindergarten education.
Prior to her tenure as Education Department Director, Johnson was a teacher in the Columbus City School district from 1978-1994 until her election to Vice President of the Columbus Education Association. In 2004, Johnson was elected to president of the CEA and was both the first female, and first African-American to lead the organization.
Deputy Director Matt Smydo will serve as interim education director.
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