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Donna Johnson Honored for Unwavering Commitment to Education

For Immediate Release: September 4, 2018
Contact: Renée Rybak Lang,, 703-740-4841

Donna Johnson Honored for Unwavering Commitment to Education

Alexandria, VA—The National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) is pleased to present its David Kysilko Award to Donna Johnson of the District of Columbia’s Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) for her service to the Delaware State Board of Education and her work on behalf of students in Delaware, Maryland, and now DC.

Johnson served as the executive director of the Delaware State Board of Education for seven years. Before that, she was the district supervisor for mathematics and STEM initiatives in Caroline County, Maryland, and a National Board–certified teacher in high school mathematics at Sussex Technical High School and Caesar Rodney High School in Delaware. She was president of the National Council of State Boards of Education Executives (NCSBEE) and served on NASBE’s Board of Directors.

In April, Johnson joined the OSSE as director of accountability and strategic planning and performance officer. She will be leading the development and implementation of DC’s new accountability system, called the STAR Framework; the new state, LEA, and school-level report cards; and other items related to accountability and ESSA implementation.

She has worked with state and national leaders on changing policy to improve teacher and school leader programs focused on strengthening instruction and career development, early childhood literacy, digital learning, state/school accountability, and areas of equity in education. She has been involved with policy reviews, conference presentations, and webinars presenting information related to college and career readiness standards, next generation assessments, accountability framework design, school leadership pathways, ESSA, educational technology, and career and technical education.

In her work with the Delaware State Board of Education, Johnson was a leader in education policy development, analysis, external relations, communications, and program management. She helped create a statewide multiple-measures accountability system and played a key role in developing the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, Delaware’s first charter school performance framework. She also assisted in developing policy and practice that revised teacher licensure, certification, and preparation program requirements including Delaware’s Educator Preparation Program report cards and performance analysis. She co-chaired a statewide group focused on strengthening educator preparation, recruitment, and retention and led the Delaware Pathways initiative, which has resulted in the creation of more opportunities for students to graduate high school with an industry-recognized credential, a high school diploma, and credits toward an associate’s or bachelor’s degree or apprenticeship.

“Donna is one of the first people state board executives turn to when they take up their role. She has helped numerous execs navigate education systems and create more equitable programs and regulations across the country,” said John-Paul Hayworth, executive director of the District of Columbia State Board of Education and current NCSBEE president. “She is gracious with her time and expertise and has been a guiding force for not only Delaware and now DC, but for state boards across the country through her tireless work on behalf of the National Council of State Board of Education Executives and the National Association of State Boards of Education.”

“Donna’s depth and breadth of experience in the classroom, in school administration, and at the state level makes her a powerful advocate for children,” said Kristen Amundson. “Donna is a true leader in state education policy and her legacy through NASBE and NCSBEE will be felt for many years to come.”

The 2018 David Kysilko Award will be presented during NASBE’s national conference in Denver, Colorado, October 17–20, 2018.

NASBE is the only national organization giving voice and adding value to the nation’s state boards of education. A nonprofit organization founded in 1958, NASBE works to strengthen state leadership in educational policymaking, promote excellence in the education of all students, advocate equality of access to educational opportunity, and ensure continued citizen support for public education. Learn more at


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