Aleesia Johnson is superintendent of Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS). IPS is the largest district in Indiana and serves more than 30,000 students, most of whom are children of color from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Johnson has been an educator for more than 16 years, achieving success as a teacher, school leader, and administrator in both public charter and traditional district schools. A Teach For America alumnus, she led KIPP Indy College Prep Middle School from 2012 until 2015, meeting or exceeding student achievement standards and increasing student retention year over year. In 2015, Johnson joined IPS as innovation officer, where she launched and expanded a new autonomous school model within the district and helped transform the central office to better support individual schools.
Prior to being named superintendent, Johnson was deputy superintendent for academics at IPS. She oversaw all aspects of curriculum and instruction; performance and continuous improvement; postsecondary readiness; special education; student services; and portfolio initiatives. She implemented strategies that led to increased academic and postsecondary outcomes related to the district’s 3Es: enrollment in a two- or four-year college or university, enlistment in the military, or employment at a livable wage upon graduation.
A native of Evansville, Ind., Johnson comes from a long line of educators, including her mother, who is an elementary school principal; and her grandfather, Anthony Brooks, one of the few African-American administrators in the Evansville area during the 1970s and 80s.
Johnson holds a doctorate in educational leadership and a master’s in secondary education from Oakland City University, a master’s in social work from the University of Michigan, and a bachelor’s from Agnes Scott College. She is an alumnus of the fourth cohort of the Future Chiefs leadership development program.