The voice coming through Teree Caldwell-Johnson’s cellphone said it was Elizabeth Warren calling.Caldwell-Johnson, CEO of Oakridge Neighborhood and a Des Moines school board member, thought it was a robocall and briefly contemplated disconnecting. But the voice kept speaking and Caldwell-Johnson realized the caller was actually Warren, the U.S. senator from Massachusetts and one of 22 Democrats running for the 2020 presidential nomination.
Caldwell-Johnson said she had met with one of Warren’s campaign staffers in April and he likely shared her cellphone number with Warren.

During the 19-minute phone call, Caldwell-Johnson said Warren asked about the Des Moines school district’s educational policies. Caldwell-Johnson said she explained the district’s key performance indicators and how it measures students’ progress. 

The two also discussed findings in the 2017 One Economy report on the State of Black Polk County that highlighted racial economic disparities between African Americans and others. Caldwell-Johnson also said Warren talked about some of the policy papers she had written. 

Warren asked about the Oakridge Neighborhood, a nonprofit housing and human services agency located on 17 acres at 1401 Center St. Oakridge, founded in 1969, is Iowa’s largest project-based Section 8 housing complex, with 300 units and more than 1,000 residents. Oakridge provides affordable housing as well as numerous other services.

“She said she’d love to visit the next time she’s in town,” Caldwell-Johnson said.