Growing up in Chicago, Darren Johnson knows firsthand the value of educational programs that help the underserved. A Daniel Murphy Scholarship Program and Chicago Urban League/Jewel-Osco Award recipient, he is a graduate of Boston College, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Human Development and also obtained a M.ED in Elementary Education through the Donovan Scholars Teaching Program. Upon moving to New York City he took his first full-time teaching position with Arturo Toscanini Middle School (JHS 145X) in the South Bronx. This was followed by four years as a science and physical education teacher at the Academy of the Arts (PS 335x), also in the South Bronx. He later served as an assistant director for the New York Junior Tennis League after-school program at The Edward Collins School - P.S. 146X in the South Bronx, working on recruitment, curriculum and program logistics.
While teaching, Darren won a MetLife Fellowship from the Teachers Network Fellowship Institute. His culminating research project, “How Do You Effectively Teach Science 2-3x a Week?” sought to understand dynamics and create change in the classroom and school environments. He learned about public administration and policy issues such as the Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) and how it adversely affected New York City’s schools. He later secured another fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities to attend a four-week intensive seminar on the abolition of slavery, held at The Library Company of Philadelphia. Through this experience, he gained knowledge about the issues of government legislation and state’s rights versus those of the federal government.
Upon completing his second M.ED in Leadership from St. John’s University in 2011, Darren accepted a position as a director of Magic Recreation, Inc. in Bayside, Queens where he was able to build an organizational structure, improve the bus system, and add academic and recreational programs. Darren's last teaching position was as a social studies teacher at QRCA in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Prior to becoming an educator, Darren pursued a career in corporate financial world, working within the Boston financial market at Investors Bank & Trust and on the consumer side with a financial planner at The Jacobs Company, a subsidiary of Jefferson Pilot Securities.
As a National Urban Fellow Darren wants to transfer his skills and abilities to the government and nonprofit sectors. In ten years his goal is to start a school and nonprofit organization focused on helping low-income children of color, especially Black male youth.