Viper Nation Education Foundation has new executive director

Courtney Johnson

Courtney Johnson

The Viper Nation Education Foundation, formerly Hill Country Education Foundation, has a new executive director, Courtney Johnson.

“We are excited to have someone of Courtney’s experience leading Viper Nation Education Foundation into the next level of growth,” said Kai Lamb, VNEF chairman. “She comes to us with deep knowledge of nonprofit management and has worked both as a classroom teacher and volunteer. I believe she has the skill set to make a positive impact on the foundation’s mission for academic excellence in our schools.”

Local resident Johnson served as director of community and public relations for the Long Center for the Performing Arts and later served as a trustee. She also served as the consumer advocate for Audiotoniq,Inc., and is a published author, having given speeches to school children around Central Texas. Last spring, she conducted her student teaching in 8th grade English Literature at Four Points Middle School.

“I feel like all the stars aligned, giving me this opportunity to serve as VNEF’s executive director,” Johnson said.

“As parents, my husband and I immediately realized our daughters were thriving in these schools and began supporting the foundation. Last year, when I taught in the classroom, I witnessed first-hand how hard our teachers work and how critical the Viper Nation Education Foundation’s programs are to the success of our schools,” Johnson said.

“I have spent my life working on causes for which I have passion and I am thrilled to be working alongside so many dedicated teachers and volunteers to make our great schools even more phenomenal,” she added.

Over the summer, the foundation’s board approved the nonprofit’s new name, Viper Nation Education Foundation.

“As beautiful as the Texas Hill Country is, the name was not specific enough for our supporters. People had a hard time understanding what and where we were. With our new name, people already ‘get it.’ Vandegrift is one of Texas’ top high schools, and every child within the feeder pattern of schools we support will eventually become a Viper,” explained Michelle Beck, outgoing executive director and current board member.

“We were extremely fortunate to have founding board member Michelle Beck step in as our first executive director when the job became full-time. She steered our nonprofit through years of success and growth. We are grateful she will continue serving on the board,” said Lamb.

The VNEF is a registered 501(c) (3), having invested more than $500,000 in Leander ISD schools since its inception in 2009, primarily focusing on the eight schools within the feeder pattern to Vandegrift. VNEF’s mission is to enhance academic excellence in the areas of college readiness, leadership and science, technology, engineering and math. For more information, please visit: