DALLAS – Literacy Instruction for Texas (LIFT), a leading provider of adult literacy services in North Texas, announced the selection of education and nonprofit leader Linda K. Johnson as its next president and chief executive officer. Johnson joins LIFT from Dallas Independent School District (DISD), where she served as the Executive Director of the College and Career Readiness departments. Johnson will succeed Lisa Hembry, who joined LIFT in 2010 and will retire this year.
LIFT was founded in 1961 by the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW), Greater Dallas Section, in response to their concern over the illiteracy rate among adults in the Dallas area. Under Hembry’s leadership, the organization relocated to CitySquare’s Opportunity Center, a collective impact campus, and formed partnerships with The Shelton School, DISD, and Southern Methodist University to provide innovative literacy curriculum and curriculum delivery tools. LIFT also partnered with Dallas Theater Center’s (DTC) Public Works Dallas to offer theater classes to LIFT students, teachers and staff, and participated in DTC’s Tony award-winning production of The Tempest.
Johnson was selected by the board due to her extensive background in nonprofit management, strategic planning, and data analysis, her knowledge of career readiness programs, and her experience in understanding the education and skills required to join today’s workforce and go to college.
“Linda has a vision for LIFT that has inspired us to imagine a greater impact for low-literate and illiterate adults who want to develop the skills needed to improve their lives,” said Paul Thibodeaux, Chair of the LIFT Board of Directors. “She is passionate about helping adults develop the literacy skills they need to improve their lives, and has valuable experience in helping our students achieve those goals.”
While working for DISD, Johnson oversaw district efforts that increased student performance in college and career programs, including the expansion of career programs to more than 200 high-growth pathways. She has more than two decades of nonprofit management experience, serving for 15 years in the CEO role for various organizations in Texas and Connecticut.
Johnson earned a Ph.D. in Public and Urban Administration from the University of Texas at Arlington, and an M.B.A from the University of Dallas. She was a developer of the College and Career Readiness Indicator System (CRIS), and won the 2012 Council of the Great City Schools/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Research and Assessment Leadership national award for her white paper “Early Indicators of Future College Success.”