Iowa Public Radio Hires New Leader

By Erin Jordan, Reporter


By Larry Burkum

DES MOINES, Iowa - Iowa Public Radio has hired a veteran non-profit manager as its executive director after firing the previous leader in February.

IPR’s Board of Directors named Myrna Johnson, a Wartburg College graduate, to lead the public radio network starting Jan. 27 at an annual salary of $140,000.

Johnson, who has spent 31 years in non-profit management, has been executive director for the Boston Schoolyard Initiatives since 2009. The public-private partnership seeks to turn school playgrounds into centers for learning and community building.

Johnson also has worked eight years as a government relations associate for National Public Radio in Washington, D.C., and served on the board of directors for a public radio station in Greeley, Colo.

She earned a bachelor’s degree from Wartburg and a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University, in Cambridge, Mass.

The IPR board voted 6-1 in February to fire former director Mary Grace Herrington following a review of employee morale. IPR paid Herrington a $197,000 settlement in April.

The network agreed in October to settle two lawsuits filed by a former Iowa Board of Regents member who alleged IPR violated Iowa’s Open Meetings Law when it made decisions about Herrington. The settlement required IPR’s former board president step down.

The agreement also includes provisions that IPR run public-service announcements promoting Iowa’s new Public Information Board.

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