Former Congressional Black Caucus Foundation fellow David Johns has been appointed as the executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans. The announcement was made by Arne Duncan, U.S. education secretary.
The initiative amongst many objectives will seek to improve educational outcomes, expand educational opportunities and deliver competitive education for all African -American children. The initiative was enacted by President Obama in 2012. Johns will be responsible for identifying evidence-based best practices to improve African-American student achievement.
Johns was a CBCF Fellow in the office of Rep. Charles Rangel of New York during the 2006-2007 academic year. “David is yet another example of the talented young people that we have attracted to the Foundation through our stellar fellows program,” said A. Shuanise Washington, president and chief executive officer for CBCF. “We are very proud of his work and continue to foresee David making a difference in the lives of many African Americans,” she said.
Prior to joining the administration, Johns was a senior education policy advisor to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP). Before working for the Senate HELP committee, Johns served under the leadership of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts. Johns earned a master’s degree in sociology and education policy at Teachers College, Columbia University, where he graduated summa cum laude while simultaneously teaching elementary school in New York City. He graduated with honors from Columbia University in 2004 with a triple major in English, creative writing and African-American studies.
“David had a passion around education issues from his early days as a fellow,” said Marjorie Innocent, vice president of Research and Programs, the department which administers the fellowships. “He always spoke about working to improve educational processes, administration and the delivery of services especially to low income and minority students. He has also been a continuous supporter of the Foundation, volunteering on a number of projects to help us achieve our mission,” she said.