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Brad Johnson Honored as "Hometown Hero"

Over the eleven months since CHCCS classrooms closed because of the pandemic, the heroic efforts of many staff members, district leaders and parents have often gone unrecognized. But one “Hometown Hero,” Transportation Director, Brad Johnson, received a well-deserved shoutout from the local radio station, WCHL, on January 18.

Johnson’s nomination was put forward by another CHCCS “Hometown Hero,” Director of Child Nutrition, Liz Cartano; together, since the middle of March, they have helped create and sustain Food for Students, a massive campaign to keep our children fed in during the pandemic. 

In the brief radio interview, Cartano explained the urgency of discussions among CHCCS leaders, nearly a year ago as they planned for the transition to remote learning. “The big question became, how are we going to see kids?” Cartano said. “Brad and his team immediately stepped up to the plate and offered us the drivers and the buses to deliver meals. We identified families who maybe could not get to those sites for one reason or another, and Brad immediately said, ‘Oh, we’ll drop the food off at their door.’”

“So we have — I don’t even know how many families right now — they go from door to door, dropping off food to these families that maybe can’t get out. His kindness makes so many people feel valued everyday,” said Cartano.

Food for Students began with fewer than 20 sites for food delivery, and now nearly 40 sites are served throughout Chapel Hill and Carrboro. Bus drivers from the Transportation Department have been an integral part of the expansion, and Johnson has overseen his staff’s participation and contributions. 

CHCCS Special Projects Manager, Christine Cotton, has also been a part of the Food for Students planning and management since March. “Brad is such an amazing person! He inspires his team and those around him,” Cotton said. “He is incredibly flexible and willing to do what is needed to help others. He is one of the most humble people I have ever met. Brad deserves so much credit for the success of Food for Students and the Y Learning Centers ....and he always gives the credit back to his team.”

Cartano noted in the “Hometown Hero” interview, “It doesn’t matter how busy Brad is. He is about being an active partner in this community, about what he can do for the kids and for his employees.”

Johnson came to CHCCS in 2016 from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District where he served as their director of transportation. He oversees a Transportation Department with more than 90 employees, most of whom are bus drivers. 

Congratulations, Hometown Hero, Brad Johnson!