CCS is proud to have Johmyrin Johnson serving on its Board of Directors. A New Orleans native currently working as a pharmacist and a pastor, Johmyrin is passionate about education and giving back to the New Orleans community. Keep reading below to see our Q&A with Johmyrin and learn more about his past work in education, current roles in the city, and some of his goals for himself as a board member.
Can you tell me about yourself and how you got involved with CCS?
I met the CCS cofounders, Kate Mehok and Julie Lause, in 2000, before they founded Crescent City Schools. I met them both through the Summerbridge program, which is now the Breakthrough Collaborative. I began as a student, matriculated through the program, and became a teacher. The model there was students teaching students, so, as a high school student, I turned around and taught middle school students. My directors were Kate and Julie. So I’ve known both Kate and Julie for a long time, and they made a huge impact in my life.
What about the Summerbridge program most impacted you?
After participating in the Summerbridge program, I wanted to continue on in education. I wound up going to Loyola for undergrad and getting a chemistry degree. Then, I became an AP biology teacher shortly thereafter.
How did you end up as a pharmacist, a pastor, and a CCS board member?
I was an educator for five years before moving into pharmacy work, where I am still working. I’m also a pastor for a church here in the city. One of my dear friends is Morgan Williams, who served on the CCS board for many years. Morgan and I taught together at Summerbridge, so he knew about my passion for education and suggested that I look into serving on the CCS board. When I learned that Crescent City Schools was Kate and Julie’s brainchild, so to speak, I was extremely excited because I remembered the impact that they both had on me. I know their intentions and how deliberate and purposeful they both are. I researched the organization and the schools affiliated with it, and I was absolutely sold. I thought it was an organization that had a lot of potential and was showing a lot of growth. I wanted to do whatever I could to support the vision that Kate and Julie have for kids in New Orleans.
How did you feel when you were appointed as a board member?
It was very exciting. Education is always going to be something that I will advocate for on behalf of students in New Orleans and around the world. I’m a born and bred New Orleanian and because of my deep roots, I really feel that I have to serve in some capacity. I’m excited about bringing whatever resources I have to the board.
What are your goals as a CCS board member?
I want to support Kate in her vision for the organization, and Julie, as she supports the principals. I want to be a support through my own personal service. We are at a critical juncture in New Orleans where, after COVID, after Hurricane Ida, there are not as many kids in the city. I want to make sure that New Orleans students and families have a voice, and that we are thinking through this process of reimagining what school can look like for kids in New Orleans.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
I am confident in the CCS board. It is a group of people who genuinely want to see students and families succeed. Truly, every single person who sits on this board is very thoughtful and conscientious. Even when we disagree, we work together to come up with the best possible plans to move forward to pursue opportunities for growth, improvement, etc. I think having a board that’s not afraid to push their leadership is critical.