Jonathan Johnson

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Jonathan Johnson

2015 Black Male Achievement Fellow
Founder of Rooted School

Jonathan Johnson 2015 Black Male Achievement Fellow

Bold Idea 

Improve college-readiness for students in New Orleans while addressing critical workforce demand by offering industry-focused project-based learning, personalized learning paths, and mentorship.


Rooted School will be a network of charter high schools that partners with regional companies to prepare New Orleans students for employment in six high-growth, high-wage industries in addition to college. Combining personalized learning paths with hands-on experiences designed by its teachers and industry professionals, Rooted delivers an educational experience that closes the gap between what schools teach and the skills needed in tomorrow’s jobs. Students graduate from Rooted prepared to critically think in these industries and are fast-tracked to lives of financial stability and independence.


Jonathan is the founder and chief executive officer of Rooted School, where he helps prepare students for college while providing a consistent local talent pipeline to New Orleans high-growth, high-wage industries. Rooted's flagship campus focuses on the digital sector, creating a model of schools that provides lucrative career pathways for the Greater New Orleans region. Previously, he taught eighth graders at KIPP Central City Academy in New Orleans. During this time, 83 percent of Jonathan’s students achieved a passing score on the eighth grade test compared to the average passage rate in his district of 57 percent. In 2014, Johnson was a finalist for the Fishman Prize, a highly selective and prestigious national teaching award. Most recently, he won the Future of School Challenge, an innovative competition of 4.0 Schools, New Schools for New Orleans, and Khan Academy to incubate radically new public school designs for New Orleans. Jonathan has been featured in Forbes and interviewed by NPR’s Michel Martin to discuss the need for Rooted and its potential for impact across the United States.

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