Women of PCSD: Anna Johnson, Senior Project Manager, Washington

For Women’s History Month, PCSD highlighted the many extraordinary women who guide our charter school partners through the complex facilities development process so our partners can focus on what matters most – teaching and learning.

How long have you worked at PCSD?

4 1/2 years

How did you get into the field of facility development and education?

During high school and college and coming out of college, I worked in a lot of educationally focused organizations: outdoor education, international education, etc.. I was always interested in education.

After college, I decided to go to law school but not with the intent to practice. So once I graduated law school, I pursued charter school roles since I was interested in the various models and thought that charters were doing interesting work to serve students beyond what traditional public schools were providing. I became the founding Director of Operations at a high performing charter school in Washington, D.C. which was a great experience. Eventually I wanted to return to Oregon, where I am from originally, and I assumed I would not be able to continue to work in charter schools. But there happened to be a charter school finance organization that was based in Portland and I ended up joining their team. They had a facility arm that was growing and it was something that I was interested in doing more of after being involved in various facility acquisition and expansion projects in my previous role. I also did some consulting work with a charter school outside of Portland that was looking to acquire and develop a long-term facility. It was then that the job at WCSD became available. I was looking for this type of project management role and was also interested in staying on the west coast. It was the perfect opportunity at the right time

What advice would you give young women entering this field?

If I had to do it over again, I would have gotten a Masters in Real Estate instead of a law degree. If you are interested in this industry, I would try to shadow people and identify what you like about it and what you don’t and what role you may want to play. There are so many different roles involved in real estate development that there are a lot of opportunities.