Tennessee Justice Center names Johnson to succeed Bonnyman as executive director

Transition to be finalized at year's end

The Tennessee Justice Center today announced that managing attorney Michele Johnson will succeed Gordon Bonnyman as executive director at the end of this year. 

Bonnyman will continue to serve clients as a TJC staff attorney.

Bonnyman and Johnson co-founded the public interest law and advocacy nonprofit 17 years ago to advocate for Tennessee’s vulnerable populations, particularly those struggling to find access to health care.

Johnson, a Nashville native, is nationally known for her legal work with children who have special health care needs. As managing attorney, she represents uninsured children in working families and TennCare patients who are denied care by their HMO.

Johnson is president of the board of Tennessee Voices for Children (TVC) and serves on the Board of Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services and the Nashville Bar Association Board of Directors. She was recently awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award for advocacy by Tennessee Voices for Children.

“I am excited that Michele will assume full leadership of the organization that she has already helped make an effective voice for Tennesseans in need,” Bonnyman said in a release. “For the past 17 years, Michele has demonstrated time and again a relentless passion for justice and unyielding support for those in need. Her creative leadership will ensure that TJC continues to have an outsized influence in making this state we both love more just, humane and inclusive for all Tennesseans.”

During his tenure at TJC, Bonnyman has earned a national reputation for his expertise in health policy and civil rights. In 2003, The Tennessean named Bonnyman Tennessean of the Year for his work on behalf of low-income Tennessee residents. He has received awards from numerous state and national organizations, including the Southern Poverty Law Center and the National Center for Law and Economic Justice.