He added that his daughter graduates from Lakeside High School this spring, and being a board member through her high school years made it tough to just be a dad at school events.
“It’s sustainable leadership,” he said. “When I asked my wife if it was OK to run, she said, ‘It’s not forever, is it?’ This wasn’t some knee-jerk reaction to challenges that were on the board or anything. This was a well thought-out plan.”
Johnson served 37 years as an educator with the DeKalb County School District, from teacher to principal, then rising through the administration as an area superintendent, then deputy superintendent. He retired from the district in 2004.
“I’d made up my mind six years ago how long I was going to stay on the board,” he said. “My love for these 102,000 students was the reason I came back.”
Johnson said he’s proud of helping steer the district away from its $14 million deficit from five years ago, as well as collaborating with the superintendent, school board and the community at large as the district sought a culture change.
As for his second retirement?
“I’ll travel and do the things I sought to do in my earlier retirement,” he said with a chuckle.