Sanford School of Public Policy Announces Associate Dean of Finance & Administration

 June 12, 2024

Zach Johnson
Zach Johnson

The Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University is pleased to announce that Zach Johnson will serve as the new associate dean of finance and administration beginning Sept. 1. 

Johnson has served as director of finance and strategy for Sanford since 2012. In his current role, he has significant interaction with school and university leaders providing financial management and strategic planning. He is directly involved in the development of the school budget, school financial agreements and data analysis of the school’s operations.

Johnson will succeed David Arrington, who will retire on Sept. 30 after 25 years of service at Sanford and almost 43 years at Duke overall. Arrington’s tremendous service, legacy and honors to Sanford and Duke will be celebrated this fall before his retirement. Arrington and Johnson will collaborate in the overlap period in September.

Johnson will serve as the incoming chief financial and administrative officer for Sanford, providing overall administrative management and coordination of business functions such as finance, budget development, information technology, grant administration, human resources and facilities planning and space management. He will serve as the key liaison with a range of other offices, particularly with the Provost’s Office, Financial Services, Research Support, Facilities Management, and Information Technology. He will report to and serve as senior advisor to the Dean.

In his new role, he monitors and coordinates business practices among central administration operations, graduate and undergraduate programs, and 11 diverse and complex centers and programs that comprise the school.  He will oversee a growing faculty and staff comprised of almost 350 employees across the school.

Dean Judith Kelley said, “It has been a distinct pleasure to work with Zach and David for many years, and I celebrate this moment for Sanford and these amazing leaders. Zach has proven himself highly capable in his many years here at Sanford. His character and professionalism shone through even brighter in this rigorous search. Zach knows Sanford and is a true Sanford champion. The Sanford School and Duke University are fortunate that Zach will be in this leadership position. He will continue to grow, nurture and support the school now in new ways.”

Incoming Interim Dean Manoj Mohanan echoed the congratulations. “I am delighted to welcome Zach into the Sanford senior leadership team this fall and to work with him in this way for Sanford’s future. His experience and deep knowledge of our school’s finances, community and operations will help us in our next stage of continued growth.”

The search committee was chaired by Josh Bond, Sanford’s associate dean for development and alumni relations. The search committee included colleagues around the Duke campus, who conducted a rigorous search for this leadership role.

Bond noted, “The search committee was impressed by Zach’s experience and passion for all areas of Sanford’s administration and finances – and importantly, our community of students, staff, faculty and alumni. We look forward to working with Zach to enhance Sanford’s priorities and future.”

“I’m thrilled to accept this role and to be part of the senior leadership team of the Sanford School of Public Policy. I am especially grateful to have been mentored by David over these many years and I look forward to building upon his mindful stewardship of the school’s operations. Sanford is a special community to me. As many others can attest, it comprises excellent faculty, staff, students and alumni who care about the future we create for ourselves and for future generations. I'm grateful to everyone involved in this search process and I look forward to working together for the continued success of the Sanford School,” Johnson said.

Johnson received his B.A. in global health administration from the University of Iowa and his M.B.A. from the University of Mississippi. Prior to joining Sanford, he worked in healthcare financial administration and process improvement. Outside of the office, Johnson enjoys all things Duke Basketball, yard work, reading, and spending quality time with his wife Stephanie, and three children: Titus, Lehn and Jean.


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