From Custodian to Assistant Director, Read the Inspiring Story of Carnard Johnson

Thursday, February 3, 2022

A Message from Wendy Givoglu, Interim President, East and Winter Park Campuses

When Assistant Director of Transitions Planning Carnard Johnson began working at Valencia College in 2011, he had no idea he would become an assistant director one day. During the three years he worked on East Campus as a day shift custodian, Carnard attended evening classes to earn 30+ credit hours before transferring to another university. He was a non-traditional student who initially took one or two courses per semester until he was able to manage a full-time course load. Even during his day shifts, Carnard had a passion for student-centered service. As he was pursuing his own education, he desired to help other students accomplish their academic goals.

“I recall a student crying in the hallway because they didn’t know how to pay for a class,” Carnard said. “I walked the student over to the Business Office to help them get signed up with TIPS.”

When he moved with his family to Apopka, it became difficult to attend classes on East Campus, so he began taking night classes at Palm Beach Atlantic University, which was much closer to his home.

“Valencia taught me how to be a successful student, something I did not learn in high school,” he shared.

Fast forward to 2015, Carnard was close to graduating with two bachelor’s degrees in ministry and organizational management. He then transferred to Osceola Campus to take a position as working supervisor, day shift. He worked in that position for nine months and moved to the School of Public Safety, where he worked as an implementation coordinator for the construction program, continuing education, for 2 ½ years. As a part of the construction program, Carnard worked with students from all walks of life including inmates from the Orange County Jail, Coalition for the Homeless and various community organizations.

“I was able to become an instrument of change through the work of recruitment and implementing classes during my tenure in the construction program,” he said. “It was an honor to participate in transformative work that’s long lasting.”

He joined the West Campus Transitions department in 2017, and Carnard accepted the position of assistant director of transitions planning on East Campus in June. He worked during the day and took classes at night. His goal was to “be successful, provide for his family and be a role model to his children.”

Working in Transitions Planning, “I’m able to support youth that have a strong foundation, but I am also able to encourage and provide hope to potential students that don’t believe in themselves so they know that Valencia is possible,” he explained.

“Carnard’s heart for people is what shines through,” explained Director of Transitions Niurka Ferrer. “Not only is he an encourager, but the authenticity behind his words has reached many students, families and our team. His contagious joy and positive attitude are just a few traits he brings to the work of recruitment and outreach. I am so proud of his journey and his commitment to education.”


  • Nicholle Trapp said:

    Wow!! I am so happy for you Carnard! So glad we met on East all those years ago and finally. Finally, people can read your inspirational story and receive the hope to keep pursing dreams and desires. Congratulations!

    AMThu, 03 Feb 2022 10:37:54 +0000Thu, 03 Feb 2022 10:37:54 +0000am22,10:37 am

  • Amy Matson said:

    I had the pleasure of working with Carnard on the Osceola Campus. He has a gift for listening and for connecting people with the resources that they need in order to be successful. I am very proud of his accomplishments and look forward to see where life's journey takes him!

    AMThu, 03 Feb 2022 11:41:23 +0000Thu, 03 Feb 2022 11:41:23 +0000am22,11:41 am

  • Stanton Reed said:

    Carnard is truly a game changer. Carnard's focus and commitment is invaluable to Valencia College. Again, Kudos!!!! Carnard. Keep going forward. You are just hitting your stride.

    PMFri, 04 Feb 2022 12:28:29 +0000Fri, 04 Feb 2022 12:28:29 +0000pm22,12:28 pm

  • Kristol Bell said:

    I am so happy to see you featured Carnard! Your story is inspirational and encouraging. You are a walking testimony to the power of perseverance. Congratulations!

    PMFri, 04 Feb 2022 16:52:55 +0000Fri, 04 Feb 2022 16:52:55 +0000pm22,4:52 pm

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