Leadership Team

Michael Johnson, MBA
Chief Executive Officer

Michael Johnson, MBA, currently serves as Chief Executive Officer for Boys & Girls Clubs of Dane County. Johnson has made it his priority to ensure that Boys & Girls Clubs (BGC) continues to be a leader in youth development while enhancing its partnerships to produce positive outcomes for young people and their families. In the five years as CEO his organization has made some significant accomplishments. 

  • Johnson developed a bold, five year, 15 million dollar strategic plan that has resulted in doubling the number of children and families being served in Dane County. In five years under his leadership BGC tripled the number of employees and grew the organization’s operating budget by over 185% in less than five years.
  • He has led an effort through their partnership with the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) that has produced graduation rates of over 90% for five consecutive years in a row with more than 82 percent of their students currently enrolled in local colleges and universities. This program is the largest public/private partnership in the MMSD and in the Verona Area School Districts and the only college preparatory program of its nature validated by third party data from the University of Wisconsin.
  • Under Johnson’s leadership, BGC has also worked closely with local businesses creating internship opportunities for more than 250 young people paying them wages of $10-15 an hour ensuring that young people are being exposed to both college and career pathways.
  • In addition, Johnson led an effort to expand the number of school-based sites from two to seven locations in five years and secured a 1.5 million dollar agreement (combined) for Boys & Girls Clubs of America in partnership with Oscar Mayer and Fiskars benefiting Boys & Girls Club locations nationwide.

Johnson currently serves on a host of boards and committees including:, Caplin Family Charities, Overture Center, Agrace Hospice Care, Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation, the Board of Visitors for the School of Human Ecology and Morgridge Center for the University of Wisconsin. Below are some awards Johnson has received over the years.

  • In Business Magazine “Most Influential Person” 2014(Cover Story)
  • State of Wisconsin, Friends of Education Award from State Superintendent of Schools (2014)
  • Wisconsin State Journal “Five People to Watch” in 2013
  • Named 2012 Midwest Executive of the Year by Boys & Girls Clubs of America
  • 2012 Pennsylvania House of Representatives and Senate Honoree
  • 2011 Madison Magazine, Person of the Year (Cover Story)
  • 2011 Citizen of the Year-Omega Psi Phi Wisconsin Chapter
  • 2006 Proclamation from the Mayor of St. Louis “Michael Johnson Day”

In addition, Johnson holds an MBA from the University of Phoenix and a BA in Business Education from Chicago State University. Johnson also holds Certifications in Fund Raising Management from the Center of Philanthropy at Indiana University and Certifications in Human Resource Management from Cornell University. Johnson is married to Toya and they have three children ages ten, four and one. Prior to moving to Madison, Wisconsin, Johnson spent 15 years in executive level positions in Chicago, Philadelphia and St. Louis leading large, complex government and nonprofit agencies. 

Rod Mitchell
Chief Operating Officer

Rod Mitchell comes to the club with 15 years of youth development, operations and educational leadership experience. Rod is also an accomplished finance manager, human resource professional and organizational leader. Rod has made it his mission to work “for” youth and provide access to “door way” services that helps the under-served become viable citizens. Rod has a Bachelors degree in Education and Sport’s Management, a Master’s degree in Higher Education Administration and multiple certifications through professional organizations. In is spare time Rod enjoys, going to the gym, riding his bike, and watching sports at every opportunity.

Nichelle Nichols
Chief Academic Officer

Nichelle Nichols, Chief Academic Officer, Boys & Girls Club of Dane County, has served as a non-profit manager and leader in various Dane County organizations serving children and families for the last 15 years. At BGCDC, she provides leadership for all education programs including College Club, AVID/TOPS and college continuation services for students enrolled in college. Nichols has a Master of Science in Business Management from Cardinal Stritch University and a B.S. in Family & Consumer Journalism from University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is an active member of the Dane County Youth Commission. Prior to her role with BGCDC, Nichols’ career has included leadership for school-based educational programs for the Urban League of Greater Madison, development and community outreach  for Community Action Coalition, and management of volunteers and parent programming at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dane County and Family Enhancement, respectively.

Karen Gallagher
Director of Development

Karen is a mission driven leader with a national reputation and significant achievement as an educator, coach, fundraiser, consultant, and major program initiator.   Experienced in creating new initiatives, leading and motivating, negotiating and persuading, marketing and public speaking, budget planning and strategizing.