Brady Johnson, Superintendent
Brady Johnson has faithfully served the schools of Iredell County for 40 years, and is currently serving his tenth year as superintendent of the Iredell-Statesville Schools (I-SS). He has always remained committed to public education in Iredell County, as his greatest passion lies in ensuring that every child in our community has an opportunity for a successful future.
Superintendent Johnson is an Iredell County native and graduate of South Iredell High School. He received his associates degree from Mitchell Community College in 1974. After graduating from Mitchell, Johnson earned his Bachelor of Science in Social Studies from Appalachian State University and later completed his Master of Arts in Educational Leadership from Gardner-Webb University.
Johnson entered education as a classroom teacher in I-SS, and has devoted his entire career to his hometown school system. Through the years, he has served as a teacher, an assistant principal, principal, deputy superintendent, and in 2009, he was appointed superintendent of I-SS.
As superintendent, Johnson represented I-SS as recipient of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, a recognition presented by then-Vice President Joe Biden. I-SS is one of seven public school systems in the United States to be recognized by the Baldrige Organization.
In his tenure, I-SS has successfully received more than $60 million in competitive federal grants for its leadership, innovation in education reform, efforts to close academic achievement gaps, and implementation of a one-to-one technology initiative that revolutionized the way curriculum is delivered to students. Most recently, I-SS received a $6.2 million federal GEAR UP grant to address awareness and access to post-secondary educational opportunities for students.
In 2014, Johnson’s success as I-SS chief administrator earned him the title of the A. Craig Phillips North Carolina Superintendent of the Year. N.C. Governor Pat McCory appointed Johnson to serve as the superintendent advisor to the N.C. State Board of Education the following year. Johnson has also served as chairman of the Southwest NC Education Alliance and President of the N.C. School Superintendents’ Association.
Johnson has directed I-SS towards state and national memberships with other innovative school districts including the N.C. Innovation Project and the League of Innovative Schools. I-SS has been recognized for its work in workforce development as a school system that qualifies as a N.C. ACT WorkReady Community. In 2016, I-SS was selected by the Department of Public Instruction to pilot the state's initiative known as the Whole School, Whole Child, Whole Community. Through this work, I-SS has greatly increased the number of partnerships with agencies throughout the county and region. Currently, more than 50 member agencies have formal partnerships with the district including: Children's Hope Alliance, Piedmont Mediation, the Partnership for Young Children, local health care providers, numerous government agencies and more. During Johnson's tenure, the district has also expanded its partnership with faith-based organizations from across the community. These partnerships include: the Good News Clubs, Truth Girlz (Pregnancy Resource Center), the Iredell County Bible Association, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Power Cross and numerous local churches.
As superintendent, Johnson has encouraged the district to fully embrace the school choice movement. I-SS now offers a wide range of parental choice options including Spanish Dual Immersion, International Baccalaureate, three early colleges, STEM themed schools, an A+ Arts Integrated Magnet School (Scotts Elementary) and a variety of options for students in the area of career and technical education.
I-SS consistently ranks in the top quartile in North Carolina academically despite ranking near the bottom for per pupil funding. Recognized by the John Locke Foundation as a district that "gives the taxpayers a great return on their investment", Johnson credits the Board of Education's commitment to conservative, fiscal management and notes that I-SS has had no local, state or federal audit findings in the last 10 years.
Beyond his career in education, Johnson has served on multiple community-based agencies as a board member including: the Statesville Chamber of Commerce, the United Way of Iredell County, the Boys and Girls Club of the Piedmont, Child Evangelism Fellowship, Crosby Scholars, and Iredell Memorial Hospital. In 2016, Johnson was named as the Statesville Citizen of the Year by the Greater Statesville Chamber of Commerce. He received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Mitchell Community College Alumni Association in 2017. Most recently he was recognized by the Gemstone District, Piedmont Council Boy Scouts of America with the 2018 Outstanding Citizen of the Year Award.
Throughout his career, Johnson has often spoken about his belief that public education is one of the cornerstones of American society and our democratic system. He often quotes Horace Mann who stated " education is the great equalizer, the balance wheel of the social machinery." Driven by the belief that public education is "every child's chance and every community's future" Johnson challenges the staff to continue its focus on the vision:
"Together, ensuring student success by igniting a passion for learning."