Get to know the School Board candidates: Allison Johnson


On Sept. 9, Minneapolis voters will vote to send six of nine candidates for School Board to the general election on Nov. 4. Three of those six will be elected to at-large seats.

Candidates are listed alphabetically. Address and phone numbers are provided via public filing information; website or email has been provided by the candidate, when applicable.

Carla Bates
Mary Buss
Jill Davis
Thomas Dicks
Sharon Henry-Blythe
Allison Johnson
Lydia Lee
Doug Mann
Kari Reed

Allison Johnson
3033 Excelsior Blvd., Suite 467

Johnson has run her own law firm for the last nine years and was previously a chemist for the Drug Enforcement Agency and pharmaceutical industry, and a patent attorney for two Minneapolis law firms. She holds a Bachelor of Science in chemistry from Indiana University and a law degree from Santa Clara University

Johnson said Minneapolis schools are the victims of federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) regulations. As a member of the School Board, she would lobby federal and state officials to repeal the regulations. She also blamed “poor or low-income” students’ poor academic performance on their parents.

“Unless you change the mindset of poor or low-income families to make the education of their children their top priority,” she said, poor and low-income students’ academic performance will never improve.

Many poor and low-income students in Minneapolis’ public schools are not white. How this culture gap plays out in the classroom is not always addressed in debates on education policy.

When pressed, she admitted that “it’s difficult to say how this would be implemented,” and said that schools should take the lead to “educate” poor and low-income families to this end. “I don’t have the answer right now … There are enough interactions [between school staff and parents] and mechanisms to put a program in place.”

Johnson said she was not familiar with the details of the district’s strategic plan, passed this year, but she does not believe the plan’s flagship goal of making “every child college-ready” by 2020 is feasible, given the current state of the school system and the values of “poor or low-income” families.

Generally speaking, she said she was in favor of more funding for public education and supports the “Strong City Strong Schools” referendum. “Something needs to be fixed,” Johnson said, “I don’t know what it is but I have the brain power and … the time and the passion to fix it.”