Van Johnson - Purpose, Passion and People


Purpose, Passion and People are the core principles that guide and drive the life of the Honorable Van R. Johnson, II,  First District Alderman of the City of Savannah, GA.

Honorable Van R. Johnson, II

Honorable Van R. Johnson, II

Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, but with strong Savannah roots, Alderman Johnson is a graduate of the New York City Public School System and has earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from Savannah State and Georgia Southern University.

As a radio talk show host, political commentary and author of local weekly columns, Alderman Johnson has distinguished himself as an independent, thoughtful and passionate voice on current events.

As a nationally certified Human Resources and Georgia certified Law Enforcement professional, Alderman Johnson has utilized his unique skill set as a sought after trainer, speaker and consultant in these areas.

In 2004, Alderman Johnson was elected as the First District Alderman on the Savannah City Council.  He has been re-elected 3 times by the citizens of the District.  During his tenure on Council, Alderman Johnson has served as Mayor Pro Tem and Vice Chairman.  He has consistently used this sacred platform to advocate on behalf of the least, the last and the lost and to promote inclusion and equity for all of Savannah’s citizens.

Alderman Johnson has demonstrated leadership nationally as only the 4th elected official from Savannah to serve on the Board of Directors of the National League of Cities. He was recently appointed to serve as Chair of the Advisory Board of the National League of Cities, becoming the first Savannahian to hold such an office. 

Alderman Johnson is nationally recognized as an innovator and thought leader in the areas of youth development and engagement through his service of over 20 years as the Director of the Chatham County Youth Commission.  Since that time, he has assisted cities and counties across the country in developing governmental youth leadership programs, to include co-founding the Savannah Youth Council in 2004.

Locally, his service has been dedicated to children, youth and families.  He currently serves as the President of the Board of Directors of the Wesley Community Centers of Savannah, past Board Chair of the Chatham County Department of Family and Children Services in addition to numerous local non-profit organizations.

Alderman Johnson’s efforts have been recognized as the 2016 Savannah State University Fellow, 2017 Savannah Martin Luther King Observance Day Parade Marshal, 2017 Savannah Black Heritage Festival honoree, 2017 Association of County Commissioners of Georgia Civic and Community Service Award Recipient and the 2017 James P. Simms Public Service Award by the King Tisdell Cottage Foundation.