Candy Johnson, wife of Hamilton County Schools Superintendent Bryan Johnson, joined Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke's staff as his new senior adviser last month.
Candy Johnson was spotted at her first City Council meeting on Tuesday, May 28, and her first day was May 24 after she was appointed to the role, according to a city spokesperson. Her annual salary is $90,000.
"As senior adviser, Johnson will serve as a member of the mayor's senior staff and top management planning and decision team," said the spokesperson in an email. "She will oversee a number of the mayor's initiatives and serve as a principal liaison between the city's volunteers and professional leadership groups and the mayor.
"She has a decade of experience developing policy with both the public and private sectors, and has served on national platforms promoting workforce and talent pipeline development for organizations such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Ford Hub Next Generation Learning," the email said.
Johnson takes over the role previously held by James McKissic, who served as senior adviser to Berke as well as multicultural affairs director. McKissic left the city to join the Urban League of Greater Chattanooga as its vice president and chief operating officer in January.
Karen McReynolds now serves as the city's multicultural affairs director, according to a city spokesperson.
Since moving to Chattanooga in 2017, when her husband took over the helm of the county school district, Johnson has been working with nonprofits and organizations through her consulting firm for nonprofit organization management, Johnson Consulting.
She has been appointed to several boards, including the Erlanger Health System Foundation board, the philanthropic arm of Erlanger; the steering committee for the Tennessee Educational Equity Coalition; the Tennessee Aquarium; and the YMCA of Metropolitan Chattanooga's Y-CAP program board. Y-CAP was launched by District 3 school board member Joe Smith.
Before the move, Johnson was the policy director for the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce.
Both she and her husband previously worked for the Clarksville-Montgomery County school system. While Bryan Johnson rose to chief academic officer, Candy Johnson worked for six years in corporate and community relations for the school district before joining the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce in 2016.
From 2008-2012, Candy Johnson served on Clarksville's City Council. She previously told the Times Free Press that she credits her grandmother, civil rights activist Virginia Simms-Hatcher, for her decision to run for office at such a young age.
Johnson graduated from Austin Peay University in 2006 and received a master's degree in public administration from Murray State University in 2009.