Skip to main content

PRESS RELEASE: Karen Johnson Named Equity and Inclusion Administrator

Released August 21, 2018

Contact Jeremy Barclay, (360) 515-6661

DOC Communications

portrait of karen johnson

Equity and Inclusion Administrator Karen Johnson (DOC Communications)

TUMWATER – Dr. Karen Johnson has been named as the Equity and Inclusion Administrator by Human Resources Director Melia Olsen within the Washington Department of Corrections effective August 8, 2018. Johnson currently serves as adjunct faculty at The Evergreen State College and brings more than 20 years of experience and leadership in federal and state government to the role.

“I selected Karen for this key leadership role because she is dedicated to equity, diversity, inclusion and respect (EDIR) in the workplace,” said Olsen. “Our agency’s commitment is to operate a safe and humane corrections system with professional staff. Dr. Johnson has the passion, drive, and expertise to help us further our commitment and values.”

Johnson served as the strategic operations manager at the Employment Security Department, chief administrative officer with the James E. Van Zandt Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and regional Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) program manager for the Veterans Affairs Ann Arbor Healthcare System. Previously, as the strategic initiatives executive at Department of Social & Health Services, she led the development of a respectful, equitable, diverse and inclusive (REDI) workplace culture to achieve organizational excellence and results.

Johnson earned her Master of Public Administration and doctorate in Urban Studies from Old Dominion University. She is a Certified Master Respect Facilitator, a Certified Diversity Professional, is currently pursuing the Certified Diversity Executive credential, and is a 2018 participant in the Leadership Women America program. She has an extensive portfolio of community service and currently serves on the Special Education Advisory Council and the Washington Statewide Reentry Council.

“I am blessed by the opportunity to support others in building an equity-driven, inclusive culture, making corrections an even better place to work,” said Johnson. “I’ll work together with staff at every level and partner with others across the state to foster and inspire equity, diversity, inclusion, and respect.”

Johnson’s appointment follows the departure of Melanie Garrison, Human Resources program manager, who was named as a Human Resources field office administrator at the new Department of Children, Youth, and Families.