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Rena Samara Johnson, Rocketship DC Board Member

Rena is the former principal of DC Scholars Stanton Elementary, Washington’s first elementary school turnaround charter and district partnership school. She joined the school’s leadership team in 2011 as the Chief of Staff, managing the school family engagement strategy, school culture team, and operations. Ms. Johnson left a legacy of successfully working with families of students and rallying teams around aligned initiatives. Through her leadership and training, teachers conducted more than 450 visits to homes of students and their families in one school year. In 2015, after working closely with her staff, Ms. Johnson wrote a grant to create The Boys Institute at Stanton to foster the talent and genius of her black and brown boys. The Boys Institute received one of the highest financial awards and continues to receive praise across the DC region. DC Scholars Stanton experienced steady academic growth on the DC CAS and PARCC Assessments during her tenure, including 10% point gains in math in the second year of PARCC—outpacing most charters and district elementary schools in the city’s ‘forgotten’ ward, Ward 8. Ms. Johnson is currently the Senior Director for School Launch and Incubation at CityBridge Education, committed to incubating, launching, and transforming schools to deliver on talent and the potential inherent in our children, specifically the most disinherited by poverty and race. Ms. Johnson began her education career as an elementary school teacher in Atlanta, GA as a Teacher For America (TFA) corps member before joining the TFA DC Regional Team, where she managed placement strategy and new corps member transition. From TFA, Ms. Johnson became a resident principal with New Leaders for New Schools where she led the implementation of the Achievement Network data driven instructional model and founded a New Teacher program for all 1st year teachers. Ms. Johnson holds a BA from the University of Virginia and a master’s degree in Education, Policy, and Management from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.