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.

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


Simone Mcalphine 104
Email Me

Rae Swain 103
Email Me

Mariah Jones 106

Jacqueline Dodds 101
Email Me

Sarah Potter 102
Email Me

Dione Daniels 105
Primary DL
Email Me

Justin Stewart Gym
Physical Education

William Jones Gym
Physical Education

Brenda Newbern
Counselor/ CM Prek- 8th

Beatrice Peter
DL Support

Sarah Brunner 204
1st Grade
Email Me

Stefanie Brown 203
1st Grade

Bethany Hiltibran 205
2nd Grade

Ashley Gardner 206
2nd Grade

Myeisha Harmon 207
4th Grade ELA/ SS /Writing
Email Me

Kelechi Maxey 208
4th/5th Grade, Writing & Science

Charise Gardner 301
2nd - 8th Grade Reading Interventionist

Antonio Brown 303

Lauren Dixon 405
7th/8th Grade, Math & Science
Email Me

Carla Harper 305
3rd Grade

Adebisi Ige 406
8th Grade MS Science

Letisha James 306
3rd Grade

Chris Cvengros 201
Email Me

Melinda Stevens 308
Inter. DL
Email Me

Jeremiah Vipond 308
DL inclusion

Patrick Zotti 408
Diverse Learners
Email Me

Dominque Morris 403
5th Grade, ELA & Social Science & writing
Email Me

Georgia Jackson 106
Teacher assistant/ PT Aides/ PW

Amber Bradley 402
5th Grade, Math &Science
Email Me

Cheryl Wright 104
Teacher assistant/ PT Aides/ PW

La'Tina Redmond 401
6th Grade, MS ELA
Email Me

Sharon Smith CPC
Teacher assistant/ PT Aides/ PW

Meshell Robinson 2nd
Teacher assistant/ PT Aides/ PW

Ericka Heller 3rd
Teacher assistant/ PT Aides/ PW

Denise Perkins 1st
Teacher assistant/ PT Aides/ PW

Zyonna Braggs
Teacher assistant/ PT Aides/ PW

Aeysha Evans
Teacher assistant/ PT Aides/ PW

Amanda Smith 103
Teacher Assistant/ PT Aides/ PW


Chevonne Toney
Beh. Health Therp

Support Staff

Danisha Crook
Main Office Clerk
Email Me

Troy Williams
Community Rep.

Turron Clayton
C/C Team Special Service Advocate

Chenthiel Lewis
DL Support, SECA

Nicoli Buchanan
DL Support, SECA

Robert Harris

Robert Thompson

Araia Babayeju
Specialized Serv.OT

Paris Brumfield
Specialized Serv. CSN

Therese Jezuit
Specialized Serv. Aud

Barbara Deer
Specialized Serv.SLP

Nicole Parker
Specialized Serv SSW

Georgia Jackson 106
Teacher assistant/ PT Aides?PW

Barbara Deer
Specialized Services :Speech Pathologist

Shondele Gillens
Instructional Coach

Michael Becton

Ms. Bryant

Cassandra Blanton
Facilities Management; Lunchroom

Greg Cox
Facilities Management; Lunchroom