Russell L. 'Rusty' Johnson
Candidate for Nassau School Board, District 4
FAMILY: Married Nancy Carroll Johnson for 34 years; 2 sons: Jake 24, who attended Okefenokee Technical College, and Kyle, 20, who is a student at the University of West Florida.
OCCUPATION: "I am retired from the United States Department of Agriculture, (USDA), and Farm Service Agency (FSA) with 34 ½ years of service. Presently, I am raising beef cattle (cow/calf operation) on my farm. My career began when I started working for the Department of Agriculture. I served in both Sumter/Citrus and Nassau/Duval counties, as the County Executive Director where I administered federal farm programs to farmers and ranchers. I served as a Farm Program Specialist in the Florida State Farm Service Agency in Gainesville, Florida for 21 years, administering conservation programs statewide. I was responsible for dispersing anywhere from 2 to 20 million dollars in program funding per fiscal year to qualified farmers. That held me responsible for following policies and procedures in accordance to Federal Laws, Statues and Regulations as established by our nation’s federal government. My duties included administrative training, account funding, technical and resource support, employee program training which included in person and web-based program training for all state employees."
EDUCATION: Product of our school system as well as my parents, grandparents, and siblings, all five of us; graduated from West Nassau in 1972; Bachelor of arts in political science and public administration, University of North Florida
POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: "As a first time candidate, however, I consider my experience in the work force along with the core values I hold to be true integrity, dedication, leadership and personal excellence qualify me for the position of school board member."
WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE TOP THREE ISSUES IN THIS RACE?
- "To keep the budget financially sound. Serving as a Florida State Farm Program Specialist, I was responsible for administering conservation programs statewide. I appreciate the importance of following polices and procedures. I value the accurate means of dispersing millions of dollars to qualified individuals. I also know how to achieve a balanced budget by following the guidelines established by our nation’s federal government. I performed as a good steward of those monies and have been a good steward of my own personal finances. I will likewise be a good steward of the Nassau County School Board’s money as well; by ensuring that children, teachers, and taxpayers receive, the very best there is to offer in this rising world of new academic adventures.
- "To maintain steady progression of the latest instruction in STEM education, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics as designated by Florida State Educational Guidelines. Schools must be continuously equipped with the latest technology at all age levels, to keep up with fast-paced learning, ever-evolving technology, and high expectations of today’s academic world. By continuing to incorporate STEM labs into our schools, like the one at Yulee High School, students experience hands-on STEM learning that is progressive, innovative and cutting edge. Training is essential for both students and teachers so that our students are able to compete not only for higher learning, but also in the vast technological job market. As teachers work for the advancement and improvement of STEM education, they will continue to weave academic strategies throughout the curriculum at the elementary level and align CORE Standards to student learning at the secondary level. We must allow our students every opportunity to achieve academically so that we have not failed or limited their ability.
- "Being in the know and on top of current development within the county is beneficial for all stakeholders. As our Nassau County Economic Development Board initiates a plan to create 3,800 new high wage jobs that target industries, our students must be marketable to compete in this future work force. That means Vocational Education training must move to the forefront for students whose strengths and interests lay in these areas. With resort/ hospitality being Nassau County’s second largest employer, and the Nassau County School Board the first, it is insightful to continue our partnership with Florida State College of Jacksonville, through the Betty P. Cook, Nassau Center. This affiliation will also permit students with interests in electrical, plumbing, air conditioning, and/or building industries, other options. This line of study will afford them the ability to enter the work force prepared, therefore, opening many doors to Nassau students who wish to work within the county."
HOW CAN YOU HELP VOTERS IN A WAY IN A WAY THAT OTHERS RUNNING FOR THIS OFFICE CANNOT?
- "Believing that education is the backbone of our society and a child’s hope for a better tomorrow, I will work with the superintendent, other board members, teachers, students and the public to pledge the following:
· to ensure policies for effective operations are provided, so that learning can take place
· to be a careful listener with appreciation for facts and data for effective operations and general improvements
· to be sensitive to community concerns, without micromanaging board decisions or school operations
· to establish accountability, communication, and transparency, as to ensure an open climate of trust and collaboration to all stakeholders
· to encourage involvement of the public as vital contributors
WHAT WOULD YOU HOPE TO BE REMEMBERED FOR ACCOMPLISHING AFTER SERVING IN THIS OFFICE?
- "That as one part of the School Board for Nassau County, I assisted with eliminating waste by revisiting existing programs in order to evaluate necessity. That I sought out beneficial methods for staying within the budget; including the set plan of action of “pay as we go without borrowing”. That I ensured all entitled allocations were received; funding from the State to administer educational programs, District Property Taxes and Educational Impact Fees to assist in the building of new school facilities or adding additional space as the student population grows."
CAMPAIGN WEB SITE: None