Bishop Johnny J. Young, Ph.D.
He is a man of unwavering faith, a community advocate, a businessman, a political leader and he is determined to provide for the children of Inglewood the best education not only in the State but in the nation.
With the current state of the California budget and continually declining funding to local school systems, not many people would want the job as President of a school system, let alone one as large and complex as the Inglewood Unified School District (IUSD). But on July 1, 2011 Bishop Johnny J. Young, the longest sitting member of the IUSD Board did just that. And, he is assuming the mantle with an outlook that is not only positive, but truly inspirational.
Bishop Young, who is also the Senior Pastor of Miracle Temple Church of God Pentecostal, has been living in and serving the Inglewood community for almost 38 years. He is the only person to ever work for the Inglewood School District and then be elected to the board where he is now serving his third term as a board member and serving as the board’s president for a second time.
A well-respected leader in the community, Bishop Young is extremely popular and well known in local and state political circles alike. He was a major supporter of Inglewood Mayor Butts and played a key role in helping him get elected. State Senator Curren Price who represents a large part of Inglewood believes Bishop Young is just the man to help navigate Inglewood through the difficult financial times that the district is currently under. When asked about Bishop Young as President, Senator Price had this to say “I am pleased that Dr. Johnny Young has been elected president of the Inglewood Unified School District governing board. Dr. Young brings significant experience to his new role as board president, and is well suited to lead the district back to financial solvency during these challenging times. For more than three decades, Dr. Young has served the Inglewood community with great distinction. Prior to his election to the school board in 2003, he was very involved in the education community as a teacher, counselor, principal, parent and volunteer. Dr. Young is a great leader with a proven track record.
“I am confident he will do a great job as board president and look forward to working with him during his tenure.”
As school districts all over California, and throughout the nation, struggle with budget cuts, layoffs and declining enrollment, Bishop Johnny J. Young, the newly elected President of Inglewood Unified School District sees his second term as board president, not only as the worst of times for the district, but also as the best of times for the district. “As for the worst of times, I’ve never seen the financial woes like we have today. We have the task of cutting a $30 million budget; we’ve had to lay off some very good and qualified teachers, as well as classified employees… I think our immediate past president (Arnold Butler) did an excellent job of navigating us through this. We were on the verge of a state takeover, and as I mentioned earlier, it’s because of the economy, the declining enrollment and the (reduction in) state funding–we have less funding and delayed funding because of state budget cuts,” stated Bishop Young.
Despite this myriad of challenges, Dr. Young still foresees that under his leadership IUSD can continue moving forward, getting better and Inglewood’s children will still get a quality education. “We are committed to doing more with less; we’ve continued to improve ourselves throughout this year. Despite all of the budget woes that we have, our district has just been acknowledged as a national blue ribbon school, and we are implementing magnet programs throughout the district. Morningside High School is about to move up to another level. Next year, it will be a math, science, engineering and medical magnet school. We’re also looking at Inglewood High School to become a visual and performing arts magnet high school; and City Honors School (which ranks as one of the top 10 in the nation), is our dependent charter school.”
Throughout California, Bishop Young is known as a man of unwavering faith and is a well respected member of the clergy community. His focus on providing a quality education during what he see’s as the best of times for Inglewood residence is what has led him to take on this challenge. Dr. Young believes that personnel accountability is of primary importance, he believes that education is a labor intensive business, and nothing is more important than the attitudes of the individuals working directly with students, and providing support throughout the system. Proper quality education has to incorporate all facets of the student’s well-being including, but not limited to: the physical, as well as the social and academic environment, education materials, and the concerted, combined involvement of parents, teachers and the public.
Bishop Young has been a community leader and community advocate his whole life, not only does he serve Inglewood as a Sr. Pastor, and as President of IUSD, he is also the Founder and Chancellor of the Ministerial Training Institute, which has grown into one of the leading bible seminary schools in the state.
When asked what led him to be on the school board in the first place Dr. Young had this to say, “This is my second term as the board’s president and I have been a part of this community since 1973. I am the first and only school board member in the history of the school board to have been a teacher, and elected to the school board, I have served as a member of the IUSD board, as a counselor, as an assistant principal, and as a principal in IUSD. I’ve also been a volunteer, a parent, a community liaison, I’ve served on the school psyche council, and I’ve been a liaison to the board when I was the president of the Inglewood Area Ministerial Association. I’ve also been a pastor for 29 of the 38 years I’ve been in this community.” With those credentials, Dr. Young’s tenure as president of the IUSD board bodes well for the schools in the district as well as for the board members who elected him president.
However, Dr. Young is not in this fight alone. Trina Williams was recently elected as vice president of the board and she is equally as committed to bringing IUSD to the pinnacle of achievement, and determined to navigate IUSD through these most challenging of times. “It is an honor to work under the leadership of Bishop Johnny J. Young. He is a man of strong integrity, discipline and understands the benefits of working hard in excellence. I look forward to being his vice president for school year 2011-2012”.
Arnold Butler, past president and current member of the board had this to say about Bishop Young, “The Inglewood School Board is very pleased to have Dr. Johnny Young as the president of the board, and we believe with his leadership skills and his knowledge of the district, he will enhance the momentum that the district is beginning to show as we move toward the direction where it will be the best school district in the South Bay District”.
Dr. Young with the support of Vice President Williams and members, Arnold Butler, Carol Raines-Brown and Cynthia Giardina, has refocused its energy and its priorities explained Bishop Young, “We are now placing an emphasis on our secondary schools, with the La Tijera project coming on board by the end of the year… and the fact that we’ve already renovated (Frank) Parent and Munroe Schools … we are expecting that with our ‘per capita’ improvements, we’ll be seeing our API scores increasing all across the district. It is my goal that before my term is over, all 20 schools in Inglewood will be distinguished schools … high performing and/or magnet.”
As president of the board, Dr. Young has two priorities. “By the time I end my term (as president), I’m looking to see that we have a budget that is balanced and that we are fiscally solvent … that is my number one goal,” he said. “For the next goal, I’m expecting our enrollment–in the midst of declining enrollment–to pick back up to over 17,000 students.
“IUSD is also looking to attract and retain the best of the best educators, administrators and teachers for the district. With all of the improvements Inglewood is making to its facilities and by working with city redevelopment programs, we are going to attract more students, and we’re looking to attract new highly qualified teachers. “I’m looking at starting salaries, by 2015, to be no less than $50.000. And furthermore, we expect all teachers at City Honors (high school) to be AP certified. When students leave City Honors, they will not only have earned a high school diploma, but they will have also earned an AA degree.”
Through a bond measure Inglewood has spent millions of dollars to improve the infrastructure of the schools throughout the district despite the fiscal restraints and confines of the current and possibly future economic realities. Dr. Young said, “La Tijera School is but one example of the great work the district has done using Measure K funds. In fact, La Tijera is the last school to be renovated using these funds. “I helped lead the charge in getting Measure K on the ballot and to getting it passed at the tune of $131 million. What has happened since that time, we have received matching funds from the state, and other matching funds in the amount of $100 million, and now we are looking at providing sound insulation in all of the schools that are in the flight path of the planes coming in and out of LAX.
“Looking at the general fund and the capital fund in the district, with all the things happening–the expansion of the airport and the city sound mitigation programs–our facilities are going to be in good shape and state of the art.”
Dr. Young not only has a vision to make IUSD and its students a shining example of how a school district can operate and grow during these challenging financial times, but he feels that IUSD can be a model for how the district can help stir the economic pot for all of Inglewood. His methodology of attracting quality contractors and vendors is similar to the formula he believes will work in attracting quality teachers. “The board has set a clear mandate since 1998 that our school district, [a majority-minority school district] has made a commitment to the community that we would reach out and do business with businesses from this area, and with businesses who look like the people who live in this community. We go the extra mile to find qualified contractors who look, and have a workforce that represents the diversity of this city. This is how we recycle these tax dollars back into the community and to the citizens who pay the bills in the first place. That is a commitment the board has made and we will keep intact.”
Jerome Horton a long time Inglewood resident, former city councilman and now a member of the California State Board of Equalization also believes Dr. Young has the fiscal formula for success for IUSD, and sees Dr. Young’s strategy for improving the district’s operations as key to Inglewood’s financial success. “During these challenging times, Dr. Young’s ability to build coalition and his passion for education will help unite and empower the district to meet its mission of educating our children,” stated Horton.
Dr. Young stated, “We now have a number of minority firms doing work for the district. We have firms providing legal services, providing educational materials and supplies, architectural services; construction and construction management for the district. Both I, and on behalf of my colleagues on the board, we are very satisfied with what we are getting now; they are all doing an outstanding job. We will continue to work with these highly qualified firms and will also continue to forge partnerships with other businesses down the road.”
For IUSD, there are many challenges which lay ahead, but the community and his colleagues on the board are very pleased with the vision and leadership that Dr. Young is providing the children of this district. And with all that IUSD has planned for the next few years, the future has never looked brighter.