Mayor Andrew J. Ginther announces retirement of Education Department Director Rhonda Johnson
After five years of serving as the
Education Department Director, Rhonda Johnson will retire from the City of
Columbus in early August.
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
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.