Tim Johnson

Tim was born in Athens, GA and went to Child St. Chase and Alps elementary schools, Clarke Junior High and graduated from Athens Academy.  He went to college at Georgia Tech, studying Engineering Sciences & Mechanics and Applied Mathematics, then transferred to Emory University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in English and Political Science, but says he really studied community organizing and environmental issues. As a student he wrote a bill to create a solar energy tax credit and worked on extensive landlord/tenant law reform, both of which passed. Tim has served as the Executive Director for thirty years of Family Connection-Communities in Schools of Athens, a nonprofit collaboration of organizations that serve local families’ needs. FC-CIS was established to address issues affecting children by looking at what data tells us happens to kids in Athens, identifying priorities from that and working across systems to address those issues. The collaboration includes the local health department, Advantage Behavioral Health, Juvenile Justice, the Department of Family and Child Services, local government, Chamber of Commerce, School District, local government, local nonprofits, UGA  and others – more than 100 organizations in all – working together to serve children and their families in the community.  There have been more than 50 programs initiated through that process, including Pre-K through the school district (it served as the model adopted by the state when the Lottery passed), Early Head Start, Teen Matters clinics, and comprehensive sex education to the community. Tim is a member of the Athens Religious Society of Friends (Quaker Meeting). He lives in Normaltown with his wife, Robin, who is a retired health educator and their little dog, Max.  They have four grown sons and two grandchildren.

 

 

 

 

What do you love most about the work you do?

 

A lot. I get to work with and get to know and truly learn from an incredible diversity of people who are all committed to making this community a better place. We all want to make the world better than if we hadn’t been around and my career helps me do that. So I guess: making a difference. 

 

When you are not working, what are some of your favorite things to do in Athens?

 

I love being in the woods hiking around whether that is at the Botanical Gardens or Sandy Creek Park or Nature Center or anywhere there are woods. In non-Covid times I very much enjoy eating at any of Athens’ wonderful restaurants and enjoying the company of family and friends doing that. Of course, I love hearing Athens music, which I have not done in person in over a year now, but looking forward to getting back to it when things open up.   

 

What advice would you give your younger self?

 

I think that is a fairly easy one because it is the advice I gave myself in my mid-twenties and it has steered me well: there is one person you are going to always be with and that is yourself. So, be a person that you would like to hang out with all the time. 

 

Do you have a favorite book, or a book you find yourself referencing or rereading or gifting most often?

 

There are so many books, but I think the one that I have been recommending to people the most over the last few years is, All the Light We Cannot See [by Anthony Doerr]. It is a pretty amazing novel. That is the one I have recommended the most lately. 

 

Do you have a favorite movie, or remember the first movie you saw in a movie theatre?

 

Actually, I think the first movie I saw in a movie theatre was The Absent-Minded Professor, the original one. There was a movie theatre downtown called The Palace Theatre. On Saturday mornings, children could get into a kid’s matinee with milk bottle tops, off the home-delivered bottles with paper tops on them. It was during the summer I guess when it happened. We would go every Saturday morning to the Palace Theatre. As far as a favorite movie, probably the one I watch the most is It’s a Wonderful Life. I love [Frank] Capra [the director]. 

 

Is there a business that makes you nostalgic for the older times in Athens or a business you miss?

 

I guess my daddy’s business since he owned a chain of gas stations called Magnolia Oil Company. There were a lot of Magnolia gas stations around town. There was also a little seafood place, Swamp Guinea, on Whitehall Road that we went to that I liked a lot.  

 

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

 

Well, that is New Zealand. Almost all of my life I have wanted to go to New Zealand. It is so beautiful from all the pictures, and I know a lot of my friends have gone there. And these days their politics are great. At least their Covid response was a lot better than ours. 

 

What is something interesting about you that most people might not know?

 

I have an all time track record that will never be broken. When I was in high school, I ran the 440, and I made it to the state finals in Class C high schools, but I injured myself as I crossed the finish line in the semi-finals and I couldn’t even walk, let alone run. So, in the finals I hopped around the track for the 440. That was the slowest 440 ever officially recorded in a Georgia high school track meet. It will never be broken, certainly not for a Class C because there is no longer a Class C, but also now they run the 400 meter instead of the 440 yard dash. So, no one will do a slower 440. It was pretty great, too because our track meets would be in Jefferson, where a benefactor there had built a nice stadium so as I was coming around the announcer was saying things like, “this is what high school sports are all about, folks,” and by the end I had about 9,000 people standing up and giving me a standing ovation. I’ll never get that again!

 

If you could see any band or show, anywhere, who would it be and where?

 

I think it would Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, the whole band, at the 40 Watt Club.

 

If you could have lunch with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and where?

 

My first reaction to that is Barack and Michelle Obama. But, I was thinking about that and I think it would actually be Robin Williams. I just think it would be so much fun. I would say we’d eat at a nice restaurant, of his choosing…in New Zealand. 

 

What three words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word “home”?

 

Love, family and support for each other.

 

 

 

 

 

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