Dr. Ashanti Johnson
Superintendent of Cirrus Academy
Dr. Ashanti Johnson is one of the first African American female chemical oceanographers in the US, an international STEM expert, a highly accredited speaker, and author, profiled in Wikipedia.
Dr. Johnson has been featured in television broadcasts, podcasts and on National Public Radio, as a result of her professional activities and contributions to our global society.
Since receiving her Ph.D. in Oceanography from Texas A&M University in 1999, Dr. Johnson has engaged in scientific research, as well as educating, mentoring and professional development of students and early career professionals. Her areas of expertise include STEM diversity and inclusion; women in STEM; faculty recruitment and diversity; as well as workplace and career empowerment; aquatic and environmental sciences; student academic and career readiness strategies; faculty and staff professional development; institutional change; organizational leadership and advancement convocations.
Dr. Johnson has over 15 years of senior leadership experience in university, non-profit and K-12 organizations, including serving as the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) Assistant Vice Provost for Faculty Recruitment and Diversity; Special Assistant to the President (STEM Initiatives) at Morris Brown College, and most recently the founding CEO/Superintendent of Cirrus Academy (a state-wide STEAM charter school system); CEO/President of STEM Human Resource Development Inc.; Executive Director of Minorities Striving and Pursuing Higher Degrees of Success (MS PHD’S) Professional Development and Mentoring Institute; and Vice President of Outreach and Implementation of Mat’l Science, Inc.,
Dr. Johnson’s activities have brought her around the world to provide awareness, input and guidance regarding STEM initiatives and future opportunities in Samoa, Fiji, Cambodia, Brazil, Spain, China, Mexico, as well as across the U.S. at several U.S. government agencies, universities, international conferences, and K-12 organizations.
Her initial interest in oceanography and marine biology began at a young age while watching Jacques Cousteau on television and was strengthened during an opportunity to interact with a female marine biology graduate student. She still cherishes these childhood memories that continued to inspire her throughout her college and professional career and as a result of these experiences, Dr. Johnson is committed to sharing her experiences and lessons learned with children, teachers, community leaders, college students, and federal government officials.
Dr. Johnson has over 20 years of experience as a university faculty member. She is currently a Visiting Associate Professor of Chemistry at Fort Valley State University and has previously served as an Associate Professor of Environmental Science at UTA, an Assistant Professor of Marine Science at the University of South Florida, an Aquatic Geochemist at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Marine Science Researcher at Savannah State University.
Among Dr. Johnson’s various honors and awards include a 2010 U.S. Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring from President Obama at the White House; receiving the prestigious American Geophysical Union (AGU) Excellence in Geophysical Education Award, the AGU Ambassador Award, and being recognized as an AGU Fellow in 2017; and most recently being awarded the 2019 Sigma Xi John P. McGovern Science and Society Award, in recognition of her many achievements that have transcended traditional research and have facilitated significant contributions towards global research, the communication of science, and the impact of science on society.