Leadership Team

Michael Johnson, MBA - President & Chief Executive Officer

Johnson currently serves as President & CEO for Boys & Girls Clubs of Dane County (BGC) and has made it a priority to ensure BGC continues to be a leader in youth development while enhancing partnerships to produce positive outcomes for young people and their families. In seven years as CEO, the Club has made some significant accomplishments.

  • Johnson developed a bold, five-year $15 million plan that has resulted in more than doubling the number of children and families being served in Dane County, tripling the number of employees and grew the organization’s operating budget by over 185 percent.
  • Through its partnership with MMSD, BGC’s AVID/TOPS program has produced graduation rates of over 90 percent for seven consecutive years, with more than 85 percent of their students (390 students) enrolled in local colleges and universities. This program is the largest public/private partnership in the Madison and Verona Area School Districts, and the only college preparatory program of its nature validated by third-party data from UW Madison.
  • Johnson is also leading the most cost efficient college preparatory program in the nation based on a study conducted by the University of Vermont and because of his leadership he was featured in a national televised commercial through Culver’s Frozen Custard which aired in 37 states across the United States and was also included in a video archive through History Makers where his work is being featured in the Library of Congress in Washington DC for African Americans who have made significant contributions to American life, solitary and culture.
  • Johnson has also worked closely with local businesses to create paid internship for more than 500 young people securing wages of $10-20 an hour, helping to ensure that young people are being exposed to both college and career pathways. He also championed and secured a $1.5 million cause marketing agreements (combined) for Boys & Girls Clubs of America in partnership with Oscar Mayer, Fiskars and Van Holten Pickles to benefit Boys & Girls Club locations nationwide

Johnson currently serves on the following boards: Caplin Family Charities, Overture Center, and the Board of Visitors for the School of Human Ecology.

Below are some awards Johnson has received over the years.

  • Culver’s Hero Award (Featured in National Commercial) 2016
  • Madison 365’s “Most Influential African Americans in Wisconsin” (2015)
  • In Business Magazine’s “Most Influential Person” (2014, cover story)
  • State of Wisconsin’s “Friends of Education” award from State Superintendent of Schools (2014)
  • Wisconsin State Journal’s “Five People to Watch” (2013)
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s “Midwest Executive of the Year” (2012)
  • Pennsylvania House of Representatives and Senate Honoree (2012)
  • Madison Magazine’s “Person of the Year” (2011, cover story)
  • Omega Psi Phi Wisconsin Chapter’s “Citizen of the Year” (2011)
  • Proclamation by the Mayor of St. Louis to create “Michael Johnson Day” (2006)

In addition, Johnson earned a BA in Business Education from Chicago State University and an MBA from the University of Phoenix. Johnson also holds a certification in Fundraising Management from the Center of Philanthropy at Indiana University, and a certification in Human Resource Management from Cornell University. Johnson is married to Toya and they are blessed with three children ages eleven, five and two. Prior to moving to Madison, Johnson spent 15 years in executive-level positions in Chicago, Philadelphia and St. Louis leading large, complex government and nonprofit agencies.

Rod Mitchell, M.A. - Executive Vice President & 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.

Karen Gallagher - Vice President of Development

Karen Gallagher, Vice President of Development, has served the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County for over four years. Karen brings a wealth of experience with 10 years working in fund development, leading and  growing  organizations in the Madison Community, such as; St. Colette of Wisconsin, American Heart Association and today the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County.  Karen has also served on many community committees to further the mission of many agencies to enhance educational opportunities, and leadership development for young people. A fun fact about Karen is that she was the first coach for the University of Wisconsin Softball Program, and she lead the program to Big Ten and national prominence in her 12 years at the helm.

Dr. Cheryl Bailey Gittens - VP of Education & Chief Academic Officer

Dr. Cheryl Bailey Gittens joined BGCDC as the Vice President of Education & Chief Academic Officer. She is an education professional in academic and student affairs with more than 25 years of operational and administrative experience in higher education. She has successfully led and collaborated on the design and implementation of programs and services devoted to driving college entry and student success. Cheryl was formerly the director of student affairs and community service learning at UVA, Curry School of Education. In her role, she lead efforts that facilitate enrollment and retention of undergraduate and graduate students and community-based service learning initiatives with K12 schools, AVID programs, and community-based organizations. In supporting the enrolled students, she facilitated initiatives to create welcoming environments, implemented induction and transition activities, and identified resources and opportunities to meet students' needs on a social, academic, and development level. Her work at Curry also included working with administrators, faculty, staff, and education leaders to assess student needs to align appropriate services. Prior to her work at UVA, she was the former director of the Virginia Tech McNair Scholars Program/Center for Academic Enrichment and Excellence. Through McNair and other student enrichment programs, she led initiatives to promote graduate school readiness and success among underrepresented populations and worked directly with faculty and administrators to recruit and select highly qualified candidates for enrollment and funding opportunities. This role also included advising prospective  students about academic plans, career development, financial aid, networking, and professional development opportunities. Cheryl earned both BA and MSW degrees from Rutgers University and completed the doctorate of Education in Higher Education Administration at the George Washington University, Graduate School of Education and Human Development. Her dissertation and other publications focus on the identifying factors and interventions that support academic and social integration and success among low-come, first-generation college and underrepresented students. She lives in Waunakee with her husband, Brian, and two children, Brian and Bryce.