James Johnson, a seven-term member of the Delaware House of Representatives serving the 16th district and a former president of a United Auto Workers local has been appointed by Gov. John Carney to serve a seven-year term on the New Castle County Vocational Technical School District Board of Education. Johnson took his oath of office at the school board’s monthly meeting April 26. He fills the seat formerly held by Renee Taschner, whose term had expired.
Unlike other Delaware public school districts, vo-tech school board members are appointed by the Governor, not elected by the community. Johnson’s term will run until 2028.
Johnson first entered public service in the United States Army, then spent nearly 40 years working at the Newark Chrysler plant. He was a member of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists where he led the fight for workers’ rights and fair wages within the General Assembly during his first year of elected office in 2005. He served in the Delaware House of Representatives for 14 years until 2019.
School District Superintendent Joseph Jones said he and the district administration look forward to the expertise Mr. Johnson will bring to the seven-member school board.
“His background in the trades coupled with his extensive experience in public service and community outreach will add great value to our school board,” said Jones. “We look forward to working with him.”
A Delaware native, Johnson is a proud graduate of Howard High School.
“New Castle County Vo-Tech has such an outstanding reputation for preparing students to excel after high school,” said Johnson. “What an honor it is for me to be able to join the board for a school district that now includes my own former high school. This is a well-respected board of education, and I look forward to helping them continue the good work they are doing.”
“We will lean on Mr. Johnson’s knowledge of how the needs of our community and local industry intersect with the resources of our state and local government,” said NCC Vo-Tech School Board President Yvette Santiago. “Finding ways to give our students an edge by supporting innovative educational programs and services while maintaining fiscal responsibility is no small task. We welcome him to our team.”
A former member of the Delaware Dept. of Labor’s Workforce Development Board, Johnson said it is important that vo-tech students not only learn great skills but also have great job opportunities after graduation. “The success of these students lifts up our entire community,” he said.
Mr. Johnson lives with his wife Ernestine in New Castle.