San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

COVER: Former Mayor Lucy Johnson on her family’s ranch, the Halifax, situated between Kyle and Wimberley on the Blanco River. Johnson has been appointed as the U.S. Department of Education’s deputy assistant secretary for rural outreach, a job she begins July 28. COURTESY PHOTO


KYLE — Former Kyle Mayor Lucy Johnson has won a presidential appointment as the deputy assistant secretary in charge of the U.S. Department of Education’s rural outreach.

Lucy Johnson

Lucy Johnson

A Hays County native who grew up on her family’s 3,500-acre cattle ranch along the Blanco River, Johnson attended tiny St. Stephen’s Episcopal School in Wimberley through third grade and then transferred to public schools in the Hays Consolidated Independent School District. She graduated from Jack C. Hays High School in 2002 and attended Parsons The New School for Design in New York where she earned a bachelor’s degree.

“I feel like this is a really unique opportunity to combine a lot of my experiences as mayor with the rural background I had growing up in Hays County on the Halifax Ranch,” Johnson said on Friday from Washington where she is scheduled to begin her new job on July 28. “One of the missions of the Department of Education is equal access [and] I feel strongly about making sure that rural school districts and rural students have the best possible access to education and 21st century technology.”

Johnson, 30, said she was offered the position on June 11, the day after leaving the mayor’s office. She declined to seek a second full term in May’s municipal election and backed eventual winner Todd Webster in a runoff election.

The youngest mayor in Kyle’s 134-year history, Johnson was 26 years old in 2010 when she was elected to complete the unexpired term of her predecessor, Mike Gonzales, who had resigned to run unsuccessfully for Hays County commissioner. Overwhelmingly elected to a full three-year term in 2011, Johnson presided over the city council during a period in which the city’s population increased an average of 4.4 percent a year, growing from 28,016 in the 2010 census to 31,760 by June 2013, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

“It’s amazing coming from a youth that was centered mainly around a rural, agriculture existence and to see that same community transform into a really bustling, high-growth small city. I’m happy about the role I played in navigating Kyle through some of that growth. I definitely will put that knowledge I gained into the new job,” Johnson said.

While mayor, Johnson led efforts to form the Kyle Area Youth Advisory Council and oversaw construction of a new public library. She campaigned against the Legislature’s public education funding cuts in 2009 and campaigned for Hays CISD’s inclusion into the Austin Community College district in 2010.

She also sat on the board of Hope and Love for Kids, a nonprofit organization that raises money for school supplies and Christmas presents for poor children.

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