The Irony of Mark Johnson’s Latest Hire (And What It Communicates)

There’s a task force in Raleigh trying to blindly reformulate how public schools are funded.

There are more studies coming out suggesting that charter schools are increasing segregation amongst students.

There is an unfunded class size mandate that the state senate refuses to deal with.

There’s a court case in which the mostly GOP-appointed state board of education is suing the current state superintendent who is from the same party.

There’s a reduction in the budget for the Department of Public Instruction in a state that has had significant population growth.

But thank God that the non-communicative Mark Johnson has finally hired a Community Outreach Coordinator (said with three layers of verbal irony).

If Johnson’s ultimate goal is to help preserve as much of the McCrory administration as possible, he is succeeding.

Yet, if Johnson is wanting to construct more bridges to all parts of the state that are navigable from both sides, then this hire may not be the best use of taxpayer money that was never meant to be used in this way to begin with.

Why? Because Graham Wilson is not the most qualified “communicator.”

Wilson is the former press secretary for former Governor Pat McCrory, the only incumbent governor in North Carolina history to not win reelection. That is a doubly dubious “title” to hold when you consider that he lost the gubernatorial race in the same state that voted for Trump on the same day.

A press secretary is someone who is responsible for press releases and public relations for an office or official organization. Think Sean Spicer. Think Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Wilson was the guy who had the hardest job in North Carolina for a period of time – defending HB2 on behalf of Pat McCrory making sure to focus on the effects of non-existent transgender sexual assault in public schools. In June of 2016, this blog had a post concerning Graham Wilson’s attack on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools stance against HB2. You may find that here:

Someone who attacked the largest school district in the state over protecting some of its students in the name of an unconstitutional law may not be the best person suited to speak for the public school system in the state.

Also worth considering is the need for people to be willing to listen to the very person who is the “Community Outreach Coordinator.” That person should be someone who is what Malcolm Gladwell calls a “connector.”

From Gladwell’s The Tipping Point,

“Sprinkled among every walk of life, in other words, are a handful of people with a truly extraordinary knack of making friends and acquaintances.”

A “connector” not only knows a lot of people, but is someone who gains the trust of lots of others. Furthermore, if a “connector” is into community outreach, then should he/she not have the trust of the community to adequately represent hose voices?

That’s what makes Wilson an interesting hire. Consider he recently ran for office in his own community.

It did not go well.


Maybe Mark Johnson wants to remain non-communicative with the state by hiring someone who seems to not have the ability to bend a lot of ears.

Maybe Mark Johnson needs a communications person used to representing someone who is not straightforward and bows down to West Jones Street.

Maybe Mark Johnson just wants to use taxpayer money to give a job to a former McCrory admin person.

Or, maybe it’s all three.