Dr. Vanessa O. Johnson, a native of New Orleans, Louisiana, graduated from L. B. Landry High School in June 1971. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education and Special Education and graduated Cum Laude from Dillard University, New Orleans, Louisiana in 1975.
After four years of teaching, three of which she taught Special Education, she entered Officer Candidate School at Newport, Rhode Island, and was commissioned and Ensign in the U. S. Navy in December 1979.
She attended postgraduate school at San Diego State University, where she earned a Master’s in Educational Administration and acquired a subspecialty in Education and Training Management in 1987 in the Navy. Following Postgraduate School in 1987, she was assigned as Assistant Director, Technical Training, Recruit Training Command, San Diego and subsequently as the Director, Standards and Evaluations.
Lieutenant Commander Johnson served as the Commanding Officer of the Tampa Military Entrance Processing Station in Tampa, Florida from 1991 to1994. She then served as the Executive Officer of the Atlanta Region, Navy Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) Unit consisting of Georgia Institute of Technology and Morehouse College ROTC units in Atlanta, Georgia where she retired from the Navy in November 1995. After retirement, she became the Coordinator of the Center of Excellence at Morehouse College coordinating a $6.7 million grant to increase the number of minorities in science and engineering.
She served as the Senior Naval Science Instructor of the Frederick Douglass High School, Naval Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) Unit. In addition, she earned a Doctorate in Education from Clark Atlanta University in December 1999 and started her own company, “VanEdge” developing workshops and educational presentations for parents and students, pre-school through college. She served as the Assistant Principal of Crabapple Middle School in Roswell, Georgia and Parklane Elementary School in East Point, Georgia. She retired as the Principal of Liberty Point Elementary School in Union City, Georgia in 2013.
In June 2015, Dr. Johnson started a summer camp and after school program called E.S.T.E.A.M. E.S.T.E.A.M. stands for self-Esteem, Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics. Her program won second place out of hundreds of ideas submitted in the Ideas Challenge sponsored by The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta.
Dr. Johnson is currently serving as the Head of School of Arlington Christian School in Fairburn, Georgia. In September 2017, she was recognized as one of Atlanta’s 100 Top Black Women of Influence by the Atlanta Business League.
Dr. Johnson’s military education includes the Naval Command and Staff College at the Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island where she received a Master’s in National Security and Strategic Studies in March 1991 and the Armed Forces Staff College, Norfolk, Virginia 1991.
Dr. Johnson is married to Reverend Edward J. Johnson, Jr., of New Orleans, Louisiana, who is the senior pastor of Flat Rock A.M.E. Church and currently serving as the First Black Mayor of Fayetteville, Georgia. They have two sons, Edwin, a graduate of Morehouse College and Georgia Institute of Technology in Mechanical Engineering (wife Joy) and Devan, a graduate of Georgia State University in Business Administration. She is also the proud grandmother of three beautiful and intelligent granddaughters, Erin 9, Jamie 7 and Cayla 4.