Joe Lee Johnson served students in Round Rock ISD for 36 years – from 1950 until his retirement in 1986 – as a principal, teacher and coach.

Johnson has a long history with Round Rock ISD, first as a student at the Hopewell Negro School, and eventually serving as principal of the school through its desegregation in 1966. The strong, kind and competitive spirit of Johnson allowed students to see his passion for student success, said Joe D. Johnson, son of Joe Lee and Mellownie Johnson.

Johnson taught at Central Elementary and later at Round Rock Middle School as a sixth-grade math teacher. His wife, Mellownie also taught at the Hopewell Negro School and at Central (Berkman) Elementary School.


Mr. Joe Lee Johnson was an icon and father figure to the African American and Hispanic communities in “Old Round Rock,” the heart of Round Rock. – Tina Steiner, former student and current Round Rock ISD teacher


Johnson was recognized as a Round Rock Local Legend in 1991 by the Round Rock Historic Preservation Commission. He died March 2, 1994. Mellownie Johnson died on June 1, 2017 at the age of 90.

Joe Lee Johnson Elementary School was approved in Bond 2014 with a bond sale of $36.7 million for the construction project. The school is located at 2800 Sauls Dr., Austin and opened in August 2016. The Round Rock ISD Board of Trustees unanimously approved the naming of Joe Lee Johnson Elementary School at its Dec. 17, 2015 meeting after it was initially proposed Nov. 19, 2015.

Joe Lee Johnson, circa 1960s
Mellownie Johnson, circa 1960s
Joe Lee Johnson, circa 1970s
The family of Joe Lee Johnson after the Board of Trustees approve naming Elementary School #34 in his honor. Johnson’s widow Mellownie is pictured front row, center. Photo taken December 18, 2015. Mellownie Johnson died on June 1, 2017.

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