Karen Johnson Joins Yale’s Campaign School

Karen Johnson accepted into Yale's Campaign School to enhance political campaign skills.

Nashville Davidson County Register of Deeds Karen Johnson has been accepted to the The Campaign School at Yale’s annual 5-day Summer Session. The prestigious campaigning boot camp will be held June 10-14 in New Haven, Conn. Just 68 people nationwide and beyond have been accepted into this intensive non-partisan, issue-neutral campaign training program.

Johnson will learn tools and insights necessary to navigate the complexities of modern political campaigns, with instruction by experts from both major political parties. Lessons will emphasize the unique challenges women face in running for office, including asking for contributions, security on the campaign trail, the economics of campaigning, and more.

The mission of The Campaign School at Yale is to train women – and the men helping them – win elected office.

“Register Johnson represents a wave of women who know they can lead in a less ego-driven and more collaborative way,” said Patricia (Patti) Russo, executive director of The Campaign School at Yale. “Women lead differently, and we need strong, enthusiastic women like Johnson in office to help bridge the bipartisan gap that is plaguing our government.”

Johnson expressed her gratitude and excitement about being accepted into the program, stating, “I am humbled and honored to be accepted in this program that attracts participants from all over the world. Because women are so underrepresented in office, it has been a long-held principle of mine to lend a helping hand to qualified women who want to be elected, or who are trying to hold onto seats that they have, or who are being asked to consider opportunities to serve in higher office. With the Yale experience, I hope to gain new campaign tools that I can use and share.”

“But this session is not just about winning races. We will learn about running ethically, running in a way that brings the community together, not tearing it apart. I look forward to growing and becoming a better member of the political community and the Nashville community that I proudly serve.”

Johnson’s career in public service includes various roles from presiding over her homeowner’s association and the PTA at her children’s school to becoming the first woman and the first African American elected Register of Deeds. She has served on the Metro Boards of Zoning Appeals and Parks and Recreation, the Metro Nashville School Board, and the Metro Council before being elected Register of Deeds in 2018 and re-elected in 2022 without opposition.

Among the teachers at the Summer Session are Betsy Ankney, campaign manager for Nikki Haley’s presidential run; Earnestine Dawson, Director of Strategic Planning & Special Projects for U.S. Rep. and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries; Emmy Ruiz, Director of Political Strategy and Outreach at The White House, and several prominent campaign consultants.

Alums of the Summer Session include Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords, and many more working as campaign managers nationally and internationally.

About The Campaign School at Yale:

The Campaign School at Yale, a party- and issue-neutral campaign training program, endeavors to increase the number and influence of women in elected and appointed office in the United States and around the globe.

About the Register of Deeds Office:

The Register of Deeds is a constitutional office established by the Tennessee General Assembly as the custodian of legal documents pertaining to real property. The office is currently led by Karen Johnson, who made history as the first woman and African American elected to the position.

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