New York, NY (December 19, 2019)— The Academy of American Poets is pleased to announce that Alexandra Jackson, James Johnson, and Eric Rayman are the newest members to join its Board of Directors. They will advise the organization as it looks to make its eighty-five-year-old archive available to the public, expand its award-winning K–12 Education Program, and strengthen its position as the nation’s leading champion of poets and poetry. 

Alexandra (Alex) Jackson is a Trustee of the Liana Foundation, which supports humanitarian and educational institutions. She worked for many years in publishing, including as the Managing Editor of Hearst Books and the Associate Publisher/Managing Editor at Harper Design International. She is also a graduate of the Institute for Culinary Education and worked at Nougatine and Jean Georges. She earned her BA in comparative literature from Smith College. Jackson became a board member of the Academy of American Poets in February of 2019.

James (Jim) Johnson, a retired partner at Debevoise & Plimpton and senior advisor in the New Jersey governor’s office, was recently named the new Corporation Counsel for New York City, where he leads the City’s Law Department. He has held several senior positions in the United States Department of the Treasury, which earned him the Alexander Hamilton Award—the Department’s highest award given to officials for excellence in service. He is also the recipient of the Attorney General’s Certificate for Excellence in Prosecution. In 2003, he was named to Black Enterprise’s List of the Nation’s Top Black Lawyers and to Crain’s New York Business’s List of Most Powerful Minorities. He is a member of the Harvard College Board of Overseers, a trustee of the Montclair Art Museum, and was the former Chair of the Board of the Brennan Center for Justice. He is the author of numerous articles that have appeared in national publications, including The New York Daily News and The Washington Post. Johnson has represented individuals, audit committees, and corporations in connection with a wide variety of regulatory, enforcement, and Congressional matters, and has taken on several high-profile public projects. 

Eric Rayman is a partner at Miller Korzenik Sommers Rayman LLP, where his legal practice focuses on media and publishing, employment and copyright matters. He previously held senior legal roles at three media businesses. Rayman was General Counsel to The New Yorker magazine; Vice President and Deputy General Counsel of book publisher, Simon & Schuster; and Vice President and Chief Counsel of Network Operations at HBO. He co-founded and served as president of Budget Living, a national women’s lifestyle magazine, which earned the American Society of Magazine Editors’ Award for General Excellence and a nomination for Personal Service Journalism. For over twenty years, he taught media and entertainment law as an Adjunct Professor at Cardozo School of Law. His freelance articles have appeared in the New York Times, Condé Nast Traveler, and other publications. He serves or has served on the board of directors of other nonprofit arts and media organizations, including The Harvard Lampoon and No Strings USA.

"In addition to their individual areas of expertise, Alex, Jim, and Eric are all passionate champions of poetry. We couldn’t be more pleased to have them join our leadership," said Jennifer Benka, executive director. 

About the Academy of American Poets  

The Academy of American Poets is the nation’s leading champion of poets and poetry with members in all fifty states. Founded in 1934, the organization produces, the world’s largest publicly funded website for poets and poetry; National Poetry Month; the popular Poem-a-Day series; American Poets magazine; Teach This Poem and other award-winning resources for K-12 educators; and an annual series of poetry readings and special events. In addition, the Academy of American Poets coordinates a national Poetry Coalition working together to promote the value poets bring to our culture and the important contribution poetry makes in the lives of people of all ages and backgrounds. This year the organization has awarded more funds to poets than any other organization, giving a total of $1,250,000 to poets at various stages of their careers.