In March the Danville Board of Education approved a recommendation by Rowland to create the new position. However, Rowland had not at the time selected a person to fill the position.
“The Danville Board of Education recognizes the imperative need to stay ahead of the issues associated with closing the achievement gap (between races and genders) and the No Child Left Behind Education Act,” Rowland said Tuesday.
Johnson’s job will be to “support school initiatives as well as classroom strategies to close the identified gaps so that all children make adequate yearly progress toward proficiency in academics” in the classroom and on standardized tests, the superintendent said.
“I am convinced that this will be an extremely positive step toward achieving the goal of educating all children in the Danville schools and will serve as a model for other districts that endeavor to do the same,” he said.
Johnson will work closely with principals
Johnson said she will “work closely” with the principals at all five city schools — Hogsett, Jennie Rogers and Toliver elementary schools, Bate Middle School and DHS — to “develop strategies for closing the achievement gap and meeting all the requirements of No Child Left Behind.”
Johnson said the district as a whole and each of the five schools have implemented several programs in recent years aimed at closing the achievement gap and meeting No Child Left Behind requirements. “What we have now is a person to coordinate all these efforts throughout the district and at each school so we can make even more progress,” she said.
“As principal I have made it one of my major goals to improve reading at all levels, in all grades, because gaining proficiency in reading leads to improvement in performance in all core content areas that are tested by the state and in the classroom and in more progress toward closing the gap,” she said. “Principals at the other schools have been undertaking similar academic improvement programs.”
Johnson said she will miss serving the students and teachers at the high school, but believes she has been able to achieve or make significant progress toward meeting many of the goals that the board set for her and she set for herself when she replaced Rowland as principal in the 1998-99 school year.
“In addition to the goals pertaining to improving reading and the overall academic proficiency and performance of all of our students, another major goal was to increase enrollment,” she said. “When I came here we had 411 students. This year we had 490 and next year we are projected to have 540, which will be the largest enrollment at the high school in many, many years.”
Johnson came to DHS from Hopkinsville High School, where she had served as assistant principal for three years. She had spent the previous 24 years primarily as a high school and college math teacher in Louisville and in Rhode Island.
She said she would like to cap her career in education as a superintendent.
“I’m aspiring to be a school district superintendent, and, frankly, hope that my service in this new position, as well as my last six years as principal at one of the state’s outstanding high schools, will enhance my chances,” said Johnson, who is a member of the Aspiring Women Superintendents Institute.