DC Charter School Alliance Announces New Chief of Staff

Jan 7, 2022

Washington, DC –– Today, the DC Charter School Alliance welcomes Ariel Johnson as its new Chief of Staff. In this role, Johnson will coordinate and manage essential DC Alliance activities, overseeing strategic plan execution to ensure all organizational functions are efficient and effective.

As Chief of Staff, Johnson will help drive strategic planning, support, and direct change management throughout the organization. Johnson will work with and report directly to the Executive Director to support the DC Alliance’s internal functions and processes, and advise on DC Alliance initiatives.

“During this past year, we have consistently advocated on behalf of charter school students, families, and educators,” said DC Charter School Alliance Founding Executive Director Shannon Hodge. “Ariel adds tremendous expertise, skill, and capacity to the DC Alliance’s work to ensure that every student can choose a high-quality public school and receive a great public education.”

Johnson brings a distinguished career in the charter school community. She began her career as a juvenile justice legal advocate for diverse learners adversely affected by the criminal justice system and school-to-prison pipeline. Believing that she could affect change at the district level, she moved to the law department at Chicago Public Schools where she worked on legal cases related to school discipline, due process, and compliance.

Most recently, she served as the Chief of Staff at the Illinois Network of Charter Schools and its sister entity, INCS Action, where she has been a passionate, social justice leader in the education reform movement. During her time as Chief of Staff, Johnson lobbied at the Illinois State Capitol and Chicago City Council, supporting the passage of numerous pieces of legislation, including equal funding for charter public schools. She’s defeated over 70 anti-charter bills that sought to harm the most vulnerable students in the state. In her political capacity, Johnson has run over 50 campaigns for high-quality pro-education equity candidates, through INCS Action’s independent expenditure committee.

As the first in her family to obtain a degree from a four-year university, Ariel is keenly aware that access to high-quality education can shift generational narratives.

“My passion for education equity stems from my own authentic lived experiences as a resident of the South Side of Chicago,” said DC Charter School Alliance Chief of Staff Ariel Johnson. “My lifelong commitment is to stabilize under-resourced neighborhoods through education access and economic development.”

Ariel received her undergraduate degree from John Carroll University and her law degree from Loyola University Chicago School of Law, where she focused on school law and child and family law. She was selected as a National Lawyers Guild, Haywood Burns Memorial Fellow, and a Surge Institute Fellow. She also serves on the board of the Sharper Moise Foundation.