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Debbie Johnson

POWER Commissioner


Debbie Johnson served on the Upper Arlington City Council from January 2010 to January 2018. She served as vice president of council from 2014-2015 and president of council/mayor from 2016-2018. She has served on the Upper Arlington Community Improvement Corporation, the economic development arm of the city, and chaired the community’s sidewalk task force as well as the Community Facilities and Services Master Plan committee. She has also served on the Franklin County Planning Commission as a Commissioner Designate in 2015-2016. Johnson was awarded the 2012 Community Service award by the Upper Arlington Chamber of Commerce.

She is a graduate of the Jo Ann Davidson Ohio Leadership Institute and remains active in their programs. She is also president of Leadership Catalyst, where she has consulted with a variety of clients, with an emphasis on leadership development programs.

Among her community leadership roles, Debbie has served as president of the board for Women for Economic and Leadership Development (WELD) and is currently active on Otterbein Women’s Leadership Network at her alma mater, Otterbein University. She also serves on the John Glenn College Women in Leadership Commission.

In another leadership role, she is a founder of the Ross Leadership Institute, where she serves as the founding director and is responsible for the day-to-day activities of the Leadership Development Institute. Johnson specializes in connecting people to maximize the individual’s or organization’s leadership development.


Portable Innovation, Policy Wormholes, and Innovation Diffusion
Environmental Policy and Management
August 07, 2019
This article explores the effects of city managers' career paths on the diffusion of climate policy innovation among municipal governments in the United States.
The COVID-19 Pandemic and Student Achievement on Ohio’s Third-Grade English Language Arts Assessment
January 27, 2021
This report draws on data from the fall administration of Ohio’s annual Third-Grade English Language Arts assessment to examine how the COVID pandemic has affected student learning in the state.
Whatever it Takes: Sexual Harassment in the Context of Resource Dependence
Social Policy
March 09, 2021
Research suggests powerful resource dependencies are present in the public and nonprofit sectors.
Glenn College Releases Review of Columbus Response to 2020 Protests
Civic Engagement, Advocacy and Volunteerism
April 26, 2021
In July 2020, Columbus City leaders commissioned an independent, outside after-action review of the City’s response to protests that took place last summer. Former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio Carter Stewart and the John Glenn College of Public Affairs were named the lead investigative team.
Resilience Decision Making in Repeated Disasters
Public Finance and Budgeting
June 07, 2021
The research, published in Environment Systems and Decisions Journal, examines resilience decision making in the context of repeated catastrophic events.
Maximizing the Efficiency of Active Case Finding for SARS-CoV-2 Using Bandit Algorithms
June 14, 2021
Using bandit algorithms, the authors of a paper in Medical Decision Making present and test an approach for finding otherwise undetected cases of COVID-19 before they lead to a widespread outbreak.
Not All High-Growth Firms Are Alike: Capturing and Tagging Ohio’s Gazelles
June 29, 2021
In this study, published in Economic Development Quarterly, the authors present a statistically valid typology of high-growth firms, also known as gazelles, to determine if payroll and job growth patterns differ between groups or clusters.
How the COVID-19 Pandemic Affected Student Learning in Ohio
August 27, 2021
Analysis of Spring 2021 Ohio State Tests
Informational Determinants of Large-area Hurricane Evacuations
Environmental Policy and Management
August 30, 2021
This study, published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, presents an experimental design that overcomes the counterfactual problem present in all prior published experiments by relying on an actual storm with a known outcome.