Jesse Johnson is a tireless, passionate, and dedicated youth and family advocate in the field of education. He currently works as a Human Resources Strategic Partner in South King County developing programs to increase awareness around post-secondary options and build the capacity of families to navigate the school system.
Jesse has been a Federal Way resident for over 20 years. He lead the way for his family through Federal Way Public Schools; all of his younger siblings followed his trajectory to Nautilus Elementary, Sacajawea Middle School and Federal Way High School. As an adolescent, he spent his summers working with his dad, playing basketball at Steel Lake Park, and walking to the 320th library to participate in summer reading programs. During high school, he diversified his engagement in extracurriculars as a three-sport student-athlete, National Honor Society member, and committed volunteer at the Boys and Girls Club. Throughout both high school and college, he worked as an apprentice in the commercial painting industry which prepared him to understand the blue collar trades. He has witnessed first-hand the profound growth of the city and loves the community of Federal Way. In continuing to challenge himself and pursue higher education, Jesse earned an academic scholarship to attend the University of Washington, where he immediately pushed himself to engage in leadership roles, participating in an internship at Boeing and serving as representative of the University’s Diversity Scholars program.
In addition to studying Political Science, Jesse dedicated his time and efforts connecting with young folks to provide access and opportunities to college, career, and life resources as a Student Ambassador in the Office of Minority Affairs/Diversity. He caught his first glimpse into politics by becoming a local delegate in the 30th legislative district and knocking on thousands of doors for the Obama campaigns as well as interning with both Congressman Adam Smith and former State Senator Tracey Eide. These experiences sparked his desire to transform the policy system.
Upon graduation, Jesse was hired onto the College Access Now AmeriCorps National Service team at Garfield High School in Seattle. Fulfilling a duo educator and mentor role, he spent half the day teaching in 9th/10th grade Language Arts classrooms and facilitating weekly tutoring/advising sessions for a cohort of over 100 low-income students after school. After his year of service, Jesse became a visible and focal voice throughout the region as a Multicultural Outreach and Recruitment Coordinator for the University of Washington, speaking in classrooms and organizing conferences such as the Essence of Success and Young, Gifted, & Black Student Conferences. Unable to be complicit in complacency and being a natural trailblazer Jesse vowed to himself that he would become the first in his family to receive a Master’s degree. While working full time in the district office as a School Family Partnerships Coordinator leading academic tutoring and parent programs, Jesse received his Masters in Education and Program Administrator certification through the University of Washington’s highly selective and rigorous Danforth Educational Leadership Program before transitioning to his current position. Through grassroots community organizing, Jesse has created college preparatory conferences for thousands of students, facilitated parent programs, and spearheaded alliances to mentor young males of color. He has also led a multitude of professional developments for education staff around family engagement, inclusivity, and multicultural education.