ASHLEY JOHNSON VARNER
The Kresge Foundation
Ashley Johnson-Varner is a program officer at The Kresge Foundation. Ashley supports the Education Program which funds student-focused postsecondary access and success efforts that remove barriers to postsecondary degrees for traditionally marginalized populations.
Before joining the foundation in 2021, Ashley served as the founding executive director of Detroit College Access Network (DCAN) and the director of the Detroit Promise, where she led Detroit’s citywide college access network and worked to create equitable pathways for postsecondary access and success on behalf of Detroit students and families.
With over 15 years of experience in K12 and higher education, she also held positions with the University of Michigan Wolverine Pathways program and as a high school teacher.
A native of Shelbyville, TN, she earned a Doctor of Philosophy in K-12 education administration with a specialization in urban education from Michigan State University as well as a Bachelor of Arts in biology and a Master of Arts in curriculum and instruction from the University of Mississippi.