Tim Johnson

Spotlight on the Candidates: SSUSD Board of Education

Linda Saholt

News Review Correspondent

Tim JohnsonBefore Tim Johnson ran for the Sierra Sands Unified School District Board of Education the first time, in 2008, he was chairman of the Measure A “Bond for Modernization of Schools.” Today, he is the president of the Board of Education. He is also running as an incumbent for reelection to one of two four-year seats available.

“It’s nice to see all the progress made in modernizing our schools. I want to make sure that project is brought to completion and that other opportunities for modernization and improvement are implemented,” said Johnson. If he is elected, this will be his second term.

The board voted to reduce the number of seats on the board from seven to five over the next two election cycles. Each time, the number of seats will be reduced by one. That’s why there are three incumbents (and one challenger) running for two seats. On this cycle, the number of seats goes down to six; next cycle, it will go from six to five.

“We have a great working board right now. The decision to go from seven to five is to reduce the workload for district staff and to save money for the district,” said Johnson.

His regular job is as deputy, chief of operational tests director, at VX-9, China Lake. He has lived in Ridgecrest for 30 years, which is also how long he’s worked at China Lake.

“I’m running as an incumbent because I want to keep on the path we’re on to ensure success for our school district,” he said. “The expertise I bring is 30 years of leadership experience as a naval active duty and reserve officer, as well as program manager of many programs on base.

“I am also the husband of a teacher, so I bring the educator’s perspective to the board.” Johnson and wife Barb have been married for 29 years and have four children, all of whom have attended district schools. Two have graduated and two are in high school. Barb teaches at a district school. “She’s awesome,” said Johnson.

He sees the budget as the greatest challenge to the board right now. “As a board, we’ve already made all the easy cuts and now we have to make the difficult choices as the budget shrinks,” he said. “Eighty percent of the district’s budget is employees and benefits. There’s not much room for cutting programs without affecting people.

“As we look at this challenge, we need to ensure that all stakeholders have opportunities to have input and to help find a solution,” he said.

“I think I bring the teacher’s perspective to the board, as well as making sure the military family members’ children are represented, because their parents are mostly not California residents and are not voting members of our district,” he said.

Johnson holds a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering. He graduated from Navy Test Pilot School and is the commanding officer of a Navy Reserve unit. He had a tour in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2009 and is a Bronze Star recipient.

Story First Published: 2012-09-26