Alumni Spotlight: Shelly Johannessen '88

During a Global Studies assembly on Friday, March 4, alumna Shelly Johannessen '88 — 2013 Saints in Service award recipient — spoke with Upper School students on current events in Ukraine and her experience serving as a Foreign Service Officer with the United States Department of State for over 25 years. Johannessen has held seven overseas postings at United States Embassies in Moscow, Russia (1999-2001), Baghdad, Iraq (2003-2004), and Vienna, Austria (2004-2007) with senior management and leadership positions in Minsk, Belarus (2007-2008), Havana, Cuba (2010-2012), Moscow, Russia (2012-2015), and Paris, France (2018-2021). Johannessen speaks and held USG language certifications in Russian, Spanish, and French as well as 6 years of academic and professional Japanese language usage both as an employee in the Press Section at the Embassy of Japan in Washington, DC (1994-1996) and as an English teacher in Kagoshima, Japan (1992-1994).
After earning numerous awards, recognition, and accolades for dedicated service to her country,  Mrs. Johannessen retired from the Federal Government in August 2021 and currently resides in England with her family. She enjoys Southern entertaining, gardening, creole and gourmet cooking, international travel, and spending time with her family which includes two canine companions, a Cuban and a Russian, who joined the Johannessen family while assigned to Havana and Moscow respectively.


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