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Dr. Christine Johnson

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Community Colleges of Spokane

Community Colleges of Spokane (CCS) Chancellor Christine Johnson has championed excellence and equity in education for her entire career. She has a passion for innovation, a dedication to delivering quality and affordable education and a pursuit of districtwide excellence. Dr. Johnson, who joined the district in 2010, is charged with leading a complex district that spans six counties over a 12,300 square mile area. The district includes two accredited community colleges - Spokane Falls Community College and Spokane Community College - as well as 15 off campus and rural learning centers, over 20 Head Start/Early Learning centers and more than 2,300 employees.

Dr. Johnson responded to significant state budget reductions shortly after her selection by leading a districtwide reorganization using LEAN principles and strong employee involvement to streamline management and preserve funding for instruction and direct student services support.

A recognized community leader, Dr. Johnson collaborates and supports all of the higher education institutions in the region. This includes serving on the Board of Trustees for Gonzaga University, the Advisory Council for Eastern Washington University, the President’s Advisory Council for Washington State University Medical School and forging strong partnerships with those universities as well as Whitworth University and the University of Washington. Dr. Johnson also works closely with public schools in the region, including 43 rural school districts, and participates in the K-12 Roundtable. She has held numerous state educational leadership roles including serving as chairperson for the Strategic Visioning Committee of the Washington Association for Community and Technical Colleges.

Dr. Johnson’s commitment to innovation has resulted in piloting significant new educational programs at CCS that went on to gain national acceptance. This includes the American Honors program, which provides a pathway for these students to gain admission into top tier universities. She also has led CCS in an expansion of its Global Education program and has championed the expansion of online and competency-based educational offerings.

At the national level, Dr. Johnson’s service includes as board member for Achieving the Dream, the Educational Advisory Council for Viridis, Community College Survey for Student Engagement (CCSSE), Western Governors University (WGU) Academic Affairs Council, and the American Association of Community College’s (AACC) 21st Century Commission on the Future of Community Colleges. Effective community colleges work closely with their business and industrial partners and Dr. Johnson has built strong partnerships through her leadership as chair of Greater Spokane Incorporated (GSI) and board member of Washington STEM. She also led partnership for integration and alignment with Spokane Area Workforce Development Council (SAWDC) into the CCS system to enhance business support and workforce training efforts.

An active member of her community, Dr. Johnson has served to support a broad cross section of non-profit organizations as a past board member for the Spokane Symphony, Friends of KSPS, the University District Board, Boy Scouts and Daybreak Youth Services. Prior to joining CCS, Dr. Johnson’s career included more than 30 years of teaching, administrative, leadership and policy-shaping experiences in K-12 and higher education to initiate innovation and foster continuous improvement in education on behalf of students. She taught English and Spanish in a Denver high school; taught as a graduate education adjunct faculty at the University of Colorado Denver. She was a high school principal in Denver, Colo., and recognized as Colorado Principal of the Year in 1986; and served as an executive director of K-12 education for Littleton Public Schools, Littleton, Colo. She was the director of urban initiatives for the Education Commission of the States and special assistant to the provost at University of Colorado Denver.

After service as chief academic officer for the Colorado Community College System, Dr. Johnson was selected as president of the Community College of Denver on the Downtown Auraria Campus shared with the University of Colorado Denver and Metropolitan State College.

Dr. Johnson earned a doctorate in educational administration and supervision and master’s degree in curriculum administration from the University of Colorado Boulder, and bachelor’s in secondary education from New Mexico State University, Las Cruces.

Among the many recognitions Dr. Johnson has received are: Girl Scouts of America Woman of Distinction, Colorado Pioneer Honoree by the Hispanic Chamber as the first female Hispanic president in the state (of CO), Woman of Distinction by Mexico’s President Vincenté Fox and a Colorado Association of Career and Technical Education (CACTE) award.

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