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Gloria Johnson, State Representative in House District 13, is a retired Knox County school teacher with 27 years experience educating special needs children. Her advocacy work over the past 10 years with health care and a lifetime advocating for public education keeps her energized and inspired to run for HD13.
Though her family has been in East Tennessee for generations, Gloria was born in Colorado. Her family moved to California and then to Mississippi for her father’s work as a Special Agent with the FBI. By the seventh grade, Gloria’s family was transferred back to Knoxville, as was their hope.
Gloria has dedicated herself to making sure that children, working families, seniors, teachers and all Tennesseans have a voice at the legislature. The endless patience and boundless energy Gloria draws from for her political work is also put to work in her professional life as an advocate and as an education consultant. Since she passed the Community Schools Act in the 108th General Assembly, she has been collaborating with others locally, statewide, and even nationally, to develop the Community Schools model.
For years Gloria taught students at schools in State House District 13, including South Doyle High School, where she led efforts to help the school earn the distinction of “School of Promise” in connection with America’s Promise and Knoxville’s Promise. Today, Gloria is using her expansive knowledge of public schools to assist in connecting and organizing people and programs in education.
Gloria knows Knox County Schools because she not only taught there, she graduated from Knox County schools. Upon graduation from Farragut High School, Gloria attended the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, where she earned her degree in education, while working full time to pay her tuition. When Gloria was in college, tuition was more affordable and she was able to work hard and pay for her college tuition without student loans. Within two weeks of graduation, she began teaching at Mooreland Heights Elementary School and loved every year she was teaching throughout those 27 years!
In 2001, Gloria made the difficult decision to seek a unique opportunity in Denver, Colo. at Dakota Ridge High School working with students with emotional disabilities, including some who had been affected by the Columbine tragedy. After initiating the program, Gloria earned an award for “Valuing Students” in the Jefferson County School System, one of the largest school systems in the country. After spending three years in Colorado, Gloria returned to Knoxville to help with her aging parents.
She immediately returned to Knox County Schools, this time at Central High School in Fountain City. Back in Knoxville, Gloria discovered that, in addition to her love of travel and live music, she had a passion for politics. In 2008 she trained on weekends in South Carolina with some of the Barack Obama campaign’s best field organizers and returned to Knoxville to organize 700 active volunteers to work in Knox County and travel to bordering states. In 2009 Gloria was elected chairwoman of the Knox County Democratic Party. Her experience organizing for the Obama campaign injected energy into Knox County Democrats and helped build the party district by district. Gloria was re-elected chairwoman in 2011, and in 2012 decided to run for State House District 13 to give a needed voice for students, teachers, and working families in Tennessee. She served in the 108th General Assembly as a strong advocate for public education, affordable health care, our Tennessee mountains, and good jobs with good wages.
In 2015, Gloria went back to organizing across the state for the passage of Insure Tennessee, Governor Haslam’s version of Medicaid expansion. She built organizing coalitions across the state on the issues of healthcare and education and was overwhelmingly voted back in the legislature in 2018, once again to serve the families of the 13th District. She wants to ensure that every child has access to a high-quality, well resourced public school. She wants to ensure that every family can go to the doctor when they are sick without going broke. And she is standing up to corrupt corporate special interests and prioritizing people who work for a living.
Whether she is encouraging students or advocating for her neighbors, she is always standing tall for our values.
For more information about these events please call Sara at 865-356-6198
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