Community Champion: David Johnson
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David E. Johnson, Sr., a native of Jackson, currently serves as Senior Vice President and Director of Community Development for BankPlus. He is responsible for managing, monitoring, and maintaining an ongoing Community Reinvestment Act/Community Development Program in the state of Mississippi. David reports to the Chief Executive Officer of the bank, and has served as a member of the bank’s Senior Management Committee since 2005. He is a financial services executive with over 37 years of banking experience. David previously worked for Deposit Guaranty National Bank, AmSouth and Trustmark National Bank. He is a product of the Jackson Public schools and graduated from Murrah High School. David is a summa cum laude graduate of Hinds Community College and a magna cum laude graduate of Jackson State University.
Over the past 37 years, David Johnson has worked diligently through the youth ministries of his church (Zion Chapel Church of God in Christ) and his employer’s (BankPlus) outreach programs to encourage and empower the youth of the church and community to achieve greatness in their lives. Most of the youth come from single-parent homes and families whose income is considered low- to moderate-income. Despite the socio-economic backgrounds from which they come, David encourages them to set goals for themselves and to become successful in spite of their circumstances. He has encouraged them to build solid educational foundations upon which they can build successful careers. He has encouraged them to aspire to the highest level of educational attainment they can achieve. He regularly reminds them that the greater their education attainment, the greater their earning potential will be. He has served as a role model and mentor to countless youth who now attribute much of their success to the influence he’s had in their lives.
On his Sunday school leadership: "Having served as Sunday school Superintendent at my church for over 25 years, I was approached by one of the Sunday school teachers who had become frustrated with teaching her class. She taught 9 – 12 year old students. Her students wouldn’t listen or respond to her. It appeared that she could not get through to them and she didn’t know what to else to do. So, she decided to resign, However, I encouraged her not to resign and offered her several teaching strategies to try. Unfortunately, they didn’t work and she resigned her teaching position.
"So, I then asked the Lord to give me the right person to teach the class. His response: 'You teach them.' I tried to convince the Lord that I couldn’t teach them because I was the Sunday school Superintendent and that wouldn’t be proper. However, the Lord insisted that I teach the class. So I relented and began teaching the class.
"My approach to teaching was different from the former teacher’s. While the class would always read the entire lesson, my goal was for them to understand and remember at least one or two points from the lesson. And I insisted that the students would apply the lesson to their lives by sharing stories or situations in which they could use the information learned from the lesson. Additionally, I always strived to make the class fun and exciting by incorporating games and activities the students enjoyed. I also told them how smart they were and that I believed in them. Additionally, they were required to share with me their report cards each semester. Every student received some form of recognition for their performance. And if a student’s performance was not what it should have been, I would find educational materials on the subjects in which they struggled. Then I would work with them one-on-one to ensure their comprehension of the subject matter and persist until their grades improved.
"After several months of teaching the class, the mother of one of my students came to me and thanked me for getting through to her son. Her son had been labeled Autistic and he seldom spoke in Sunday school class. He exhibited the same behavior at the middle school he attended. However, he was now outgoing and very outspoken. He responded well both in Sunday school and at the school he attended. He was even now making good grades in school. The mother shared with me that no one had ever been able to get through to him. However, I had done it and she was eternally thankful. Today that young man is an outstanding 11th grader who excels in school and has plans to go to college."
In addition to teaching Sunday school at church, David has taught countless numbers of financial literacy classes to students across the state to impart wisdom and knowledge of how to manage their finances. He has taught them how to budget, save and invest their money to have nest eggs for rainy days and to prepare to make large purchases in the future. He’s also taught them how to establish, maintain and even repair their credit so that they won’t have to pay egregious rates of interest to borrow money. As a 37-year financial services executive, David has also shared with students many career opportunities in the field of banking. He currently serves as mentor to numerous junior banking officers at banks across the state of Mississippi.
David and his wife, Doris, are the proud parents of two children: D’Ebonie and David Jr. David and his family attend Zion Chapel Church of God in Christ in Bolton, MS, where he serves as pastor. After the demise of his father in January 2016, he was appointed pastor on April 25th, 2016. He is passionate about preaching and teaching God’s word and is relentless in leading others to Christ.
David was recently named Parent of the Year for the Hinds County School District for the 2015 – 2016 school year. He earned this award because of his tireless and relentless devotion to ensuring the educational success of every student in the school district. In addition to serving as an officer of the Terry High School PTO, he has served as a reading fair judge for the Hinds County School District, member of the Terry High School Band Booster Club and Terry High School Choir Booster Club. He has also facilitated Real World Fairs in the district for the past 10 years. Additionally, through his employer, David has helped to secure funds for Project Graduation, Project Dropout Prevention, Teen Summit, Reality Fairs and Delta State Chamber Choir trip.