It is Our Mission to Produce Lifelong Learners

Johnson School of Excellence will provide students with a highly skilled staff of educators who create a safe and supportive environment and engage students in a rigorous academic program that helps them develop the knowledge, skills, and productive habits necessary for excellence in academics and in life.

Pre K-8

Johnson School of Excellence

1420 S. Albany Ave.
Chicago, IL 60623

Enrollment: 520
A CPS Neighborhood School

Principal's Message


Greetings and Welcome to Johnson School of Excellence

The Academy for Urban School Leadership, the Johnson staff and I are committed to ensuring your child receives a high quality educational experience.  We strive to maintain a structured, nurturing and well-disciplined environment to support your child’s efforts to achieve academic successes. Thank you for continuing to select the James Weldon Johnson School of Excellence to provide your child’s education.

Educationally Yours,

Takia J. Foster



Our Growth In

Steady, positive improvements in academic achievement, student engagement, and parent satisfaction are hallmarks of all AUSL-managed CPS schools. You will find reports for Johnson School of Excellence to the right.This school received a Level 1 rating, which is a high rating at CPS. This rating is based on the CPS School Quality Rating Policy (SQRP)

Our History

Building on Our History to
Create a Culture of Excellence


Johnson School of Excellence is named in honor of James Weldon Johnson (1871 – 1938), an American author, politician, diplomat, critic, journalist, poet, anthologist, educator, lawyer, songwriter, and early civil rights activist. Johnson is remembered best for his leadership within the NAACP, as well as for his writing, which includes novels, poems, and collections of folklore. He was also one of the first African-American professors at New York University. Later in life he was a professor of creative literature and writing at Fisk University.

Johnson School of Excellence opened in 1963. The four-story building includes 26 classrooms and was designed by McPherson, Swing, and Associates and originally housed grades K-6. The building was designed to facilitate team teaching as well as with art activities in mind; expansive windows were intended to allow children to draw scenes of Douglas Park in different seasons. The opening of Johnson relieved overcrowding in nearby schools and allowed students to vacate mobile units that had been placed in Douglas Park.

Johnson’s Child-Parent Center (then called a schome, or school-home), opened in 1972 at 1418 S. Kedzie for preschool aged children. Due to the high costs of asbestos removal and other building maintenance, a new building was build to house the center at 1504 S. Albany, just south of Johnson School of Excellence. The center moved to the new space in 1997 and now houses preschool and kindergarten classes.

Today, the building contains 31 classrooms, serves 400 students up to grade 8, and is fully accessible.


AUSL (Academy for Urban School Leadership) is a Chicago nonprofit school management organization that creates schools of excellence by developing highly effective teachers and transforming educational outcomes for students in the lowest performing schools.

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) turned over management of Johnson School of Excellence to AUSL in 2009 as a turnaround school. Turning around a school is one approach that CPS uses to improve neighborhood schools that have been failing for many years. The transformation begins with the new leadership and teachers in the building to deliver effective instruction and the right climate and culture to the same neighborhood students.

AUSL is committed to to providing all AUSL students with a quality education to prepare them for college and career.

Staff List

Questions for Our Staff?


If you have any questions, the Johnson School of Excellence staff will be happy to assist you.

Phone: 773-534-1829

Fax: 773-534-1355


Takia Foster

Talisa Martin
Asst. principal


Sarah Potter 101
1st grade
Email Me

Stefanie Brown 102

Simone Mcalphine 104
Email Me

Room 105
Specialized Service for Students

Mariah Jones 106

Chris Cvengros 201/202
Email Me

Turron Clayton 203
Student Advocate Counselor

Troy Williams 203
Youth Interventionist

Rachel Hersch 204
6/7th grade

La'Tina Redmond 205
7th/8th ELA/SS/WRT
Email Me

Amber Bradley 206
6th grade Math
Email Me

Stephanie Bonaroti 207
7/8th grade Math

Joseph Waggoner 208
Diverse Learners

Melinda Ademuyiwa 401 Tuere Atkinson
Diverse Learners

Eleni Sakarakis 402
ELA/SS/WRT 4th grade

Dominique Morris 403
5th grade

Justin Stewart 404

Carla Harper 305
3rd Grade 3rd Grade Math/Science

Ashley Gardner 306
3rd ELA/SS

Lauren Dixon 405
5/6th grade Math

Nicole Mullen 406
3rd-8th Math

Kelechi Maxey 407
4th grade Math

Patrick Zotti 408
Diverse Learners/Case Manager

Amber Bradley 402
5th Grade, Math

Dominque Morris 403
5th/6th ELA/SS

Charise Gardner
Instructional Coach

Lauren Dixon 405
8th Grade, Math
Email Me

Nicole Mullen 406
5th - 8th Science

Julie Klotz 307
Diverse Learners/Case Mgr

Patrick Zotti 408
MS Math DL and Case Manager
Email Me

Support Staff

Danisha Simpson
Email Me

Troy Williams
Youth Interventionist

Robert Harris

Robert Thompson

Nicoli Buchanan
SPED Classroom Asst

Marcus Jones
SPED Classroom Asst

Christopher Glenn
SPED Classroom Asst

Turron Clayton
Educational Support Personnel

Georgia Jackson
Educational Support Personnel

Vashon Jordan
Educational Support Personnel

Denise Perkins
Educational Support Personnel

Meshell Robinson
Educational Support Personnel

Amanda Smith
Educational Support Personnel

Sharon Smith
Educational Support Personnel

Shakia Carter
Food Services

Greg Cox
Food Services

Marquetta Thomas
Food Services

Rigo Iniguez
Facilities Management

Charise Gardner
Instructional Coach

Shanecka Thomas
Teacher Assistant