Paul Johnson leads diversity, equity, and inclusion at Seattle Waldorf School

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IAS alum Paul Johnson has joined Seattle Waldorf School as their first Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI). In this capacity, Johnson will develop and implement programs and strategies to help ensure that all students, faculty, and staff feel valued for their individual talents and unique cultural perspectives. He will also seek to broaden the diversity of the community and collaborate with school leadership on recruitment and retention initiatives - for students, faculty, staff, and administrators.

Johnson with son, Roman, at march for Black lives“Being the father of a precocious 8-year old and watching the shifting social climate across the country has caused me to reassess some priorities,” says Johnson. “After spending several years working for some great global corporations, I am excited about this opportunity to focus attention on K-12 education. This is an important space where I can better support my son, his peer-group and a future generation of ‘world changers’.”

Johnson earned his Master of Arts in Cultural Studies (MACS) at UW Bothell in 2011 and says it is crucial to his work at Seattle Waldorf School. “The knowledge I acquired as a graduate student in the MACS program has been instrumental in much of the work I’ve done over the years, but in my newest role, cultural studies is a foundational necessity. The time I spent with my MACS cohort provided me skills to examine complex issues and taught me how to interrogate concerns that involve systemic and structural power within institutions. By definition, many private and independent schools were founded on principles of exclusion and separation, therefore one of the challenges of doing DEI work within an independent school, is working to dismantle strongly indoctrinated power structures that tend to adversely impact BIPOC and historically marginalized groups. It is also critical for me understand how factors such as race, ethnicity, gender, class, orientation and religion can influence power relationships. Each day at work, I find myself tapping into what I learned in the MACS program.”

Prior to joining Seattle Waldorf, Johnson worked in human resources and DEI at Junior Achievement, Starbucks, and Microsoft. For the last eight years, he’s been at Boeing leading Employee Movement and Career Growth within Employee Relations & Labor Relations. “My experience as an MACS student helped me to focus the great passion I have for equity and social justice work,” says Johnson. “The MACS program enabled me to seek out the kind of work I plan to do for the rest of my days.”

Always learning, Johnson is currently working on a doctorate in Organizational Change & Leadership at the University of Southern California. In addition to his M.A. in Cultural Studies, he holds a bachelors in public administration from Seattle University, a masters in human resources from Villanova University, a masters in project management from Georgetown University.

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