Jessica Johnson to Lead Program and Business Development at Education Northwest
Jessica Johnson, a highly skilled and experienced leader in the education professional services field, is joining Education Northwest as Chief Program & Development Officer. Johnson will oversee all program work and will also lead the organization’s business development efforts.
“Jessica is joining us at the perfect time,” says Education Northwest Chief Executive Officer Patty Wood. “She brings a national reputation and relationships that will help us build on our strong regional foundation. We are looking to expand our presence nationally, and she is the ideal person to lead that effort.”
Johnson brings a unique skillset, with deep experience in education-related professional services and a proven track record in business development. She most recently served as Senior Vice President for Policy, Practice, and Systems Change at the American Institutes for Research (AIR), where she oversaw a portfolio that included early childhood education, human services, K–12 education, workforce, health, and international development. She was responsible for revenue, business development, quality, impact, and human capital, with a focus on equity.
“There is some exceptional work being done at Education Northwest and potential to expand the organization’s footprint while still remaining committed to the Northwest region.”
“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to engage with Education Northwest to amplify its work on a national scale,” says Johnson. “There is some exceptional work being done at Education Northwest and potential to expand the organization’s footprint while still remaining committed to the Northwest region.”
Johnson has earned a national reputation for her work in school improvement. From 2012 to 2018, while at AIR, she partnered with the Illinois State Board of Education to co-design, staff, and run the Illinois Center for School Improvement, which offered a set of consistent, high-quality coaching and professional development services for schools across Illinois. Participating schools had statistically significant improvements in test scores, graduation rates, attendance, and truancy.
Before joining AIR, Johnson was a Chief Program Officer for Learning Point Associates, a nonprofit education organization that merged with AIR in 2010. At Learning Point, she built a team from the ground up and directed the development of a school turnaround service line to transform teaching and student learning in the lowest performing schools. This work led to multiple turnaround projects, and participating schools saw double digit gains in performance. Johnson and her team later won a $10 million contract with the U.S. Department of Education to further this work, and in 2010 she testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Education Committee on this topic.
“I’ve spent my entire career working in education,” says Johnson. “It’s where my heart is at. Beyond the appeal of helping to grow an organization with so much potential, I was drawn to the mission and vision of Education Northwest and to its genuine commitment to equity. In my experience, a successful organization is one that leads with its values. That’s what I see at Education Northwest, and that’s what we will build on as we grow.”