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Minnesota State College Southeast
A Technical & Community College
MSC Southeast

Press Release
Contact: Katryn Conlin, Communications Director
Office: 651-385-6343

For immediate release  

Jim JohnsonSoutheast Technical President James J. Johnson announces plans to retire in June 2014

Winona, Minn. (October 8, 2013) - In 1981, Jim Johnson joined the staff of what was then known as Winona Technical Institute. He has remained in administration at the College over the last 32 years, growing through the positions of Trade and Industry Coordinator, Adult Extension Director, Associate Director, Vice President/CEO, and his current position of Minnesota State College - Southeast Technical President since 1995. In August, Johnson announced that he plans to retire when his current 3-year contract comes to an end in June of 2014, allowing the Minnesota State College and Universities system time to recruit his successor and make a smooth transition to new leadership.  

Jim has evolved along with the College through three name changes, two college presidents, eight state chancellors, the 1992 consolidation with Red Wing Technical College, and the 1995 merger of all state technical colleges and universities into one system, Minnesota State College and University System (MnSCU). 

Jim's plans for his final year at the College revolve around preparing for a transition, "We won't be undertaking any major new initiatives this year. I want to ensure that the college is prepared for a new leader: finances in order, instructional programs healthy, procedures and policies are up to date, and the staff is ready to support that person." 

He states that the highlight of every year he has served as the College's president has been being part of the graduation ceremonies. "Every year when the graduates walk across the stage, it's so emotional to see those graduates and their families' pride in their accomplishment.  It is also so reassuring to know that the College has given them a skill set for life. I've greeted thousands of students crossing that stage and seeing their faces, their tears, that in itself is what has kept my batteries recharged."

While he will certainly miss being part of Southeast Technical, Jim has been making plans for his future years. "After 32-plus years here, I'm ready to go another direction in my life. I've been a college president for 19 years. Now it's time to pay more attention to other interests, like my two-year-old grandson, travel with my wife Mary, hunting, old cars, house boating - and of course part-time truck driving! When I decided to get my Class B truck driving license, I went to the premier college in the country - and I'm proud to say, that was Southeast Technical."

About James J. Johnson

Jim Johnson holds an A.S. degree from Rock Valley Community College ( Rockford, Ill.), continued his undergraduate education at University of Idaho and the University of Wisconsion--Stout by earning a bachelor's degree in Industrial Education and master's in Vocational Education. His post-master's work has been at Winona State University in Educational Administration and the University of Minnesota in Vocational Administration. Jim began his career in 1977 at Sparta, Wisconsin, teaching high school vocational metals. After a hiatus to industry as a 4-color separator and maintenance machinist in Colorado and Texas, he returned to vocational/technical education at Winona Technical Institute in 1981, advancing to the position of Minnesota State College - Southeast Technical president in 1995. 

He has served in countless leadership roles in the wider community, including president of the Winona Area Chamber of Commerce, president of Minnesota Technical College Vice Presidents Association, executive director of Minnesota Technical College Administrators Association, founding board member of Southeast Minnesota Regional Training Consortium, and founding member and chair of Winona Area School to Work Council. Jim is current past president of 7 Rivers Alliance, a tri-state (MN, WI, & IA) consortium seeking to enhance and develop the economic region. He also served eight years on the Minnesota Governor's Workforce Development Council. Jim is currently a board member of the "Every Hands Joined" initiative in Red Wing and a past chair/current board member of Red Wing 20/20. Jim is also a member of the Red Wing Dawnbreakers Kiwanis club and the Minnesota City Sunset Lions.


About Minnesota State College - Southeast Technical
With a clear mission of "Education for Employment," Minnesota State College - Southeast Technical provides students a strong foundation for acquiring the knowledge, skills, and attitudes they will need for a lifetime of learning. Its Winona and Red Wing campuses merged in 1992, becoming Minnesota State College - Southeast Technical in 1999. For more information, visit


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