BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - A Kern County man is making history in the Panama Buena Vista School District this year.
Darryl Johnson told The Now Bakersfield that his new position as the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources never existed in the Panama Buena Vista School District until now. He said he's honored and humbled to be the first African American to hold an Assistant Superintendent position in the district.
Thursday was the first day of school for the Panama Buena Vista School District and it was also Johnson's first semester in his new position, “Responsibility to make sure things are in order and so I take that responsibility with a lot of pride," Johnson said.
Even though Johnson's mother and father were both educators this job wasn't always what he saw in the cards for his future, "I didn't enjoy school initially as a student, as a kid because I lacked a little bit of motivation," Johnson said.
Eventually Johnson gave it his best effort and graduated with a masters degree in administration from Cal State University of Bakersfield. His path later led to a position as a detention aid at the Casa Loma Elementary School in Bakersfield. "Then once I started being around the kids and enjoying just the rapport, the companionship and learning I said ok this is something that I can do," Johnson said.
From there Johnson worked as a teacher, a principal and as a director of human resources in the Panama Buena Vista School District over the past several years. Now he is the first person ever to hold this new position in the human resource department and the first African American to serve as Assistant Superintendent in the district.
However, Johnson said this accomplishment represents more than the color of his skin, "I think it's more about the timing of the growth of the district, I mean our motto is excellence and education so that comes with why I am very humbled and honored."
The Superintendent and the Panama Buena Vista School District board elected to create the new Assistant Superintendent of Human Resource position. After it was approved by all parties, Johnson’s colleagues knew he would be the best person suited to hire leaders with motivation to inspire young minds."It's critical to have a person like Darrly Johnson. I say he's got a foot on the dance floor and foot up at the balcony. He sees the big picture, he knows what kind of employees we're looking for in the organization,” Superintendent of the Panama Buena Vista School District Dr. Kevin Silberberg said.
Johnson is now setting out to hire hungry, humble and smart educators to influence the next generation, while creating a sturdier team of administrators behind the success of students this school year. Johnson also knows that it won't be an overnight process, "To provide the best service throughout the district, so that's going to require a lot of collaboration with other departments so that we are understanding truly how we can better serve them and it's going to strengthen the work that we do throughout the district," Johnson said.
Johnson also told The Now Bakersfield that he wants to focus on providing teachers with the necessary training to address students dealing with trauma this school year and that he hopes that by hiring the strongest educators, students will also become stronger over the semester.