Team Member

Kalima Johnson

Message Kalima Johnson

Kalima Johnson

Associate Director of Advocacy and Partnerships

Kalima supports Ed Trust–NY’s efforts to advance policies that close equity gaps in early childhood education, K-12, and higher education. She supports the development of and leads the execution of the advocacy strategy for Ed Trust–NY’s policy agenda, including organizing letter writing campaigns, coordinating sign-on letters, and leading meetings with policymakers.

Prior to joining Ed Trust–NY, Kalima worked at the New York City Council where she advised local elected officials on developing strategy, policy, and legislation to make New York City’s education system more equitable. Before the Council, Kalima was a second and third grade teacher at the Bronx Charter School for Children.

A native of Brownsville, Brooklyn, Kalima holds a master’s degree in special education from Hunter College and a bachelor’s degree in mass communications from the University at Albany.

Proudest Moment

When my godson was born. He was 9 pounds, 7 ounces and 19 inches long! Definitely the biggest (and cutest) newborn I’ve ever seen.

What drew you to education?

As a student growing up in Brownsville, I realized that the education system asked people who looked like me to invest in a narrative that ignored our identities and real lived experiences. Every year, my classmates and I learned about historical wars, while the wars in our community were never discussed, even when a classmate was lost to violence. Every day, our teachers taught lessons about Europeans who shaped history, while they saved their few lessons on prominent Blacks for February. I was drawn to the education system because my story and childhood friends’ stories can no longer be the status quo – the system must change.

Why are you passionate about working at Ed Trust?

I am inspired by Ed Trust’s equity-driven and data-centered approach to help transform our education system so that every student, regardless of zip code, receives a high quality education.