Meleesa Johnson was elected by the City Council on February 8, 2016 to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of former alder Bryan Van Stippen. She was elected by the citizens of the 5th District for her second term on April 4, 2017. On April 18, her peers on the City Council elected her President of the body.
Map of District 5
Meleesa grew up in Portage County and attended area schools. She is the mother of three grown children, Sara and Beth (both living in Stevens Point), and Jeremy (Xian, China). She has two grandchildren, Ellie and Coltin. She says that her greatest joy in life has been sharing the parenting of her granddaughter Ellie, now a UWSP student.
In 1989, Meleesa and her children moved to Manitowoc County and she became a non-traditional college student at UW-Manitowoc in 1996. In 2000, she received a B.S. in Environmental Policy and Planning from UW-Green Bay. She graduated summa cum laude and with a distinction in her major. She served on student government at both campuses, and was student government president in 1998. She is a two-time winner of the Wisconsin Women in Government Scholarship and is a Morris K Udall Congressional Scholar for Excellence in National Environmental Policy.
After her granddaughter was born, Meleesa knew she wanted to move her family back to Stevens Point because of the superb schools, wonderful neighborhoods, and progressive atmosphere. She found that opportunity in 2003 when she accepted the position as the administrator of the Portage County Solid Waste Department. In 2009, she left that job for her current role, Director of the Marathon County Solid Waste Department.
In addition to her work managing the region’s waste, Meleesa served as adjunct faculty at the UWSP College of Natural Resources Soils & Waste Management Program. While she no longer teaches entire semesters, she is a frequent guest lecturer and mentor to numerous students each semester. She finds this work some of the most rewarding of her professional career.
For the past four decades, Meleesa has been an active member of her community. From the time her children attended Plover-Whiting School to today, she has used her leadership skills to take action and achieve results locally, regionally, and across the state. She is currently President of the Associated Recyclers of Wisconsin and is on the boards for the Solid Waste Association of North America, Wisconsin Counties Solid Waste Management Association, Wisconsin Counties Association Environment & Land Use Steering Committee, WI DNR Waste Study Group, and the UWSP Wisconsin Institute of Sustainable Technology. She is also a supervisor for the Portage County Board.
Recently, UW Green Bay awarded Meleesa the distinguished honor of Earth Caretaker for 2017. Her work to help people throughout Wisconsin reduce waste and recycle more, along with her continual efforts to protect human health and the environment, were cited during the award ceremony. Meleesa is also the 2012 Associated Recyclers of Wisconsin Recycler of the Year.
She is thrilled to be a part of the Common Council and looks forward to being a part of revitalizing the downtown and the north Division Street corridor, building greater integration of the university with the community, and developing policies that support workers and families. Her focus for the next two years will be to see the Council articulate a vision for Stevens Point and build a strategic plan that achieves that vision.
Meleesa’s passions are her family, her dogs, her job, bicycling, cooking & baking, summer beach time, and civic engagement.
Home Address: 1703 Division St., Sevens Point, WI 54481