Craig J. Johnson, an administrator in New Mexico's State Land Office, has been selected as new director of Utah's School Children's Trust.

SALT LAKE CITY — Craig J. Johnson, an administrator in New Mexico's State Land Office, has been selected as new director of Utah's School Children's Trust.

The job offer was extended Tuesday by the Utah State Board of Education but salary negotiations are ongoing.

Johnson, commercial resources division director of the New Mexico lands office, succeeds Tim Donaldson, who was director of Utah's School Children's Trust from 2013 until Aug. 4, when he suddenly resigned. The State School Board accepted Donaldson's resignation the same day but did not comment except to say it was a personnel matter.

Johnson has been assistant director of strategic planning and development for the New Mexico agency for the past two years, managing economic development projects. He has also served as professional staff for the New Mexico Legislature and has experience in the private sector, according to his profile on the agency website.

Johnson holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and economics, as well as a Master of Business Administration from the University of New Mexico. He entered a doctoral studies at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln in 2006 to study political science, the agency website states.

The School Children’s Trust Section administers the School LAND Trust Program statewide. The section is within the offices of the Utah State Board of Education. The section oversees activities of the land management and fund investment trustees. It also is responsible for training and supporting school districts and schools as they train of school community councils.

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In the 2017 legislative session, Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, sponsored legislation he said was intended to give the director of the School Children's Trust Section greater autonomy. It passed in the House of Representatives but was not voted on in the Utah Senate.

HB291 contemplated that the director would serve a six-year term, with the option for additional terms.

The legislation was opposed by the State School Board over concerns it was written to protect individuals rather than the position, a spokeswoman said at the time.