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Director O'Leary comments on appointment of Laura Howard to Kelly administration

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

For Immediate Release

January 8, 2019

Contact:  Ruth DeWitt
Communications Manager

LAWRENCE —  Incoming Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly recently appointed Laura Howard, a University of Kansas School of Public Affairs & Administration faculty member and director of the KU Public Management Center, to serve as interim director of two key state social services cabinets.


“Laura Howard’s depth of knowledge of Kansas state government, human services delivery models and public administration is exactly what is needed right now to address the challenges facing the departments for Children & Families and Aging & Disabilities Services,” said Rosemary O’Leary, director of the School of Public Affairs & Administration.


“Laura Howard will be sorely missed here at SPAA, but the passion and commitment she brings to this opportunity are clear. Kansas’s most vulnerable citizens are getting a champion, and the stakeholders in the system are getting a competent, knowledgeable and collaborative leader,” O’Leary said.


Laura Howard started serving on Kelly’s transition team shortly after she was elected Nov. 6. 


Howard took over as director of the Public Management Center four years ago. The center provides professional training for public sector employees at all levels of government and nonprofit agencies. The center runs the Certified Public Manager program, the Emerging Leaders Academy, the Supervisory Leadership Training program and the Law Enforcement Leadership Academy, a partnership with the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center. The center also provides consulting or on-site services to entities requesting agency-specific assistance with things such as strategic planning, team building and leadership development.  The center works with approximately 200 public sector employees or community members a year.  


Howard has also served as a lecturer for the school at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. 


O’Leary referenced the Athenian Oath taken by city managers upon their swearing in, highly prized in the school, which is ranked No. 1 in for its local government management program by U.S. News & World Report. “The Athenian Oath challenges city managers to leave the city ‘greater and more beautiful than it was transmitted’ to them. Laura Howard has done that with the Public Management Center. She is leaving a stronger, more viable center and professional development resource than when she came. While we are saddened to see her go, we know she is up to this challenge, and the people of Kansas are getting an excellent public servant,” O’Leary said. “We are proud of Laura Howard and know she will be a vital part of the governor’s team.”    




Ruth DeWitt, Communications Manager
KU School of Public Affairs and Administration
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