We are starting with a new project called IAmPublicAdministration, which puts faces on the multifaceted and sometimes obfuscated world of public administration. Each month, chapter members representing federal, state, and local government as well as nonprofits. We ask them to share with us a bit about what they do as administrators and how their work is important for the public. They also share some biographical content and contact links, in case you’d like to reach out. Future editions may branch out to include academia and other sectors. We hope you enjoy this new segment and ask for your feedback.
See below for previously featured administrators.
Master of Public Administration (MPA) student, Walden University
I chose to pursue my MPA after years of having a career as a social worker. In this role, it was my responsibility to help individuals gain access to valuable public services such as mental health/substance treatment, crisis prevention, food, shelter, and emergency assistance.
Frequently seeing the populations I served, deal with constant day to day struggles, followed by their normal daily challenges, I realized that I held a passion for advocacy and public policy, and that I wanted to help people on an organizational level rather than on an individual level.
I look forward to my future in public administration and welcome the opportunity to network with my fellow public administrators. You may contact me at my LinkedIn at: www.linkedin.com/in/pamela-foster-a9ba0a75
Denver Supinger (Local Government)
Legislative Aide, Fairfax County Government
Erica L. Van Steen (Private Sector)
Government, Social Impact, and Organizational Consultant
Sally (Sarah) Jaggar (Nonprofit)
William "Billy" Leiserson (Private Sector)
I founded BL Insights to help public-serving institutions become more effective identifying, achieving, and communicating their strategic value. Before coming to Washington, DC, I was a career scientist and educator at Yale University, so I bring a scientific approach to my work. I became interested in public administration through local government. In Connecticut, I served on my town’s Inland Wetlands Commission for 12 years.
My interest in public administration grew when I was awarded a Science & Technology Policy Fellowship by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. During the fellowship, I spent three months at the Performance Improvement Council working with federal agencies on the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Education Cross-Agency Priority Goal, part of the president’s management agenda.
Later, I spent a year at the National Institute of Justice—the research and evaluation arm of the Department of Justice—leading an effort in strategic planning and evaluation. My current project involves working with criminal justice stakeholders to develop a strategic framework that will facilitate the application of science to improve criminal justice, analogous to the framework by which science informs other practical disciplines, such as medicine.
My career has been an exciting journey, motivated by my desire to bring about positive change. I began by studying the nervous system of fruit flies and teaching students. My interest in serving the public led me to became active in local politics and volunteering on a government commission. My move to public policy in Washington, DC, was a natural progression to merge my scientific, educational, and analytical interests with public service.
I welcome the opportunity to network with my fellow public administrators. You may contact me at LinkedIn at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/blinsights
Amy B. Edwards (Federal Government)
Paula Acevedo (Nonprofit)
I am the Research Associate at the Council for a Strong America, a national, bipartisan, nonprofit compromised of five member organizations that focus on ensuring our children are citizen-ready. I serve as the research point of contact for our early childhood education, K-1 2 and higher education, focusing on the skills gap, Common Core, testing, after school, teacher effectiveness, school finance, charter school, and career and technical education.
Dillon Clark (Nonprofit)
I am the Chief Financial Officer for Breakthrough Montessori Public Charter School, a start-up public elementary school in Petworth. I lead the finance, operations, maintenance and human resource functions for Breakthrough Montessori. Before coming to Breakthrough, I worked as a Specialist for Behavioral and Education supports for the District of Columbia Public Schools. During that time, I was appointed Team Lead for the Implementation of Scholarly Research to increase academic rigor in Self Contained High School Classrooms, and Behavior and Educational Supports Crisis Lead. Before DCPS, I was a Social Work Case Manager with the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services.
As Chief Financial Officer for Breakthrough Montessori Public Charter School I have to opportunity to serve families throughout entirety of the District of Columbia. School choice and academic achievement are important issues facing urban families. As Chief Financial Officer of a public school, I have the ability to create a positive school culture, drive operations, and expand human capital experiences to ensure staff are happy, healthy, and enjoy their jobs. I enjoy my work in public school administration because I have the opportunity to not only create a wonderful, exciting, and accepting place to grow and work for teachers and staff, but also a safe and welcoming place to learn and grow for students and families. As Breakthrough Montessori grows, I hope to continue to support and have a lasting impact on hundreds of students, families and employees.
It is also my goal to restructure the finance and operations of charter schools in the Washington, D.C. area. As the charter school movement grows, children from all neighborhoods, socio-economic backgrounds, religions, race, and ethnicities are given more choice and opportunity. Perfecting the financing and operations of these schools is paramount to expanding access to academic rigor and school choice to families who have limited access to quality public education.
I also currently serve as a Commissioner to the Montgomery County Commission on Landlord-Tennant Affairs a semi-judicial body in Montgomery County MD. I also advised start-up non-profits in New York and Washington, D.C. including multiple public charter schools, and serve as a member of the Board of Directors of a New York based non-profit organization that is on consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council and is focused on HIV and AIDS prevention education in immigrant communities throughout the United States.
I received my Bachelors of Arts in Politics with a concentration in World Politics from The Catholic University of America and a Masters of Science in Social Work with a concentration in Social Enterprise Administration and a minor in Law from Columbia University in the City of New York.
In my spare time I enjoy playing and listening to music, and getting to as many National Parks as possible with my border collie Max.
Dr. James Hurley (Local Government)
I am a fiscal officer responsible for the budgeting and financial management practices of a group of (12) agencies within the District of Columbia Government. From the Office of the Chief Financial Officer, I lead a team of budget analysts, accountants, and financial managers dedicated to the successful administration of and accounting for the city’s financial resources I have also served in senior level positions with other government entities during my public service career of more than 30 years, and I have provided leadership on several advisory committees and boards for nonprofit community organizations.
I have been a presenter at professional conferences sponsored by such organizations as the Association for Budgeting and Financial Management, Government Finance Officers Association, and American Society for Public Administration. I have served on national committees and twice as President of the Maryland Chapter of ASPA. I value the chance to meet and interact with professionals from all levels of government and to build national support for a strong public service.
I earned a B.A. from Georgetown University, a M.A. from University of Maryland, and a doctorate in Public Administration from the George Washington University. I taught financial management courses for many years as an adjunct professor with the Graduate School of Management, University of Maryland University College. My research interests and teaching experience focus on budgeting systems, performance measurement, and strategic planning. Also, I am an instructor for the Certified Public Manager Program administered by the District of Columbia.
When time permits, I enjoy golfing at local courses in Maryland, snorkeling in the waters of the Caribbean, hiking in the National Parks, and traveling to faraway places with family and friends. I welcome the opportunity to network with ASPA colleagues (email@example.com).
Cherie Brown (Federal Government)
I am Cherie McClam Brown, an experienced senior management and program analyst with 14 years in the Federal civil service and 10+ years of nonprofit and private sector experience. I possesses a wealth of knowledge and experience in management consulting and organization development, capacity building, strategic planning, and program management.
In 2002, I started my Federal career in the Office of Governmentwide Policy at the U.S. General Services Administration. In 2007, I continued her journey with the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affair’s Office of Passport Services. In August 2010, I joined the Office of Management Policy, Rightsizing, and Innovation, the arm of the Under Secretary for Management.
An “Excellence in Government” Fellow (class of 2010), I participated on varied efforts focused on continuous quality improvement, and performance measurements initiatives. I served as Chief of Quality Coordination (QC) Partnerships and Outreach, and engaged with stakeholders and Quality Teams at U.S. posts across the Bureau of African Affairs on matters of the Collaborative Management Initiatives (CMI)– a quality management system designed to deliver efficient, cost-effective, and high-quality services to federal customers under the International Cooperative Administrative Support Services (ICASS). She completed recent past assignments about CMI at the following locations: U.S. Foreign Service Institute in Arlington, Virginia; Durban and Johannesburg, South Africa; Garmisch and Frankfurt, Germany; and Bogota, Columbia.
As a certified FAC-COR Level III Contracting Officer Representative, my current portfolio involves oversight for environmental (i.e., air quality and energy) and labor contracts totaling more than $10 million dollars in total obligations.
When not in the office, I actively participate as an ordained member of the ministerial staff at the First Apostolic Faith Church (Baltimore, Maryland) and the Fellowship Bible Way Church (Washington, DC). I concurrently chair the Alexandria Project Discovery Board, an organization that prepares and motivates low income and first generation college-eligible students to access opportunities in higher education.
I hold a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from the George Washington University, and a Master of Public Administration degree from the School of Public Affairs at American University.
For 11 years, I have shared a beautiful life and continues to embrace all that life has to offer with my best friend and husband, Patrick G. Brown, an accomplished musician and educator in Baltimore, Maryland.
You may contact me at BrownCM1@state.gov.
Rodney Follin (State Government)
I am Rodney Follin, Business Manager for the Prince William Health District. As an agency of the Virginia Department of Health, my organization serves as the “local health department” for Prince William County and the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park in Northern Virginia. I have served in this capacity for the last six years. I lead and oversee all administrative services for the district including budget and financial management, human resources, facilities and records management, information technology, vital records, and clinic administrative support services.
Prior to my present position, I served as a senior management and budget analyst for the Prince William County Office of Management and Budget, where I was employed for 24 years and functioned as a human services management and policy expert. That experience prepared me well for many of my management responsibilities today. I have spent my entire career in local and now State government here in Northern Virginia, where I was born and raised. In fact, I started my public service career as a teenager working on a roadside litter pickup crew, protecting the environment of Fairfax County. It certainly has been an interesting journey from there.
My professional passion is resource allocation and budget management, which are the most gratifying uses of my problem solving skills. I will always be a “budget guy” and I enjoy applying those abilities in the ongoing development of my organization and the challenges it faces. Under ever tighter fiscal conditions, we are continuing to transition from traditional client-based services to innovative population-based services to most effectively accomplish our mission of “promoting optimum wellness, preventing illness, responding to emergencies, and protecting the environment and health of our residents.” For more information about the Prince William Health District please visit us athttp://www.vdh.virginia.gov/LHD/PrinceWilliam/.
When not serving the public, I like to hike in the mountains and play organized softball. My softball team has played together for the last 28 years. I encourage everyone to pursue work-life balance throughout their professional careers.
I can be contacted firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saunji Fyffe (Nonprofit)
I am a researcher at the Urban Institute’s Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy where I work on a number of projects with specific emphasis on strengthening the capacity of nonprofit organizations to deliver effective and high quality programs and services. Much of my work involves projects aimed to help nonprofit organizations measure and manage their performance. For example, I am part of an Urban Institute partnership that is developing PerformWell, a one-stop comprehensive on-line resource that helps nonprofit practitioners to identify performance measures and effective practices. Additionally, I worked on a pilot study designed to help nonprofit out-of-school-time (OST) programs measure outcomes and I am currently a part of the Measure4Change project team, a program to build performance measurement and evaluation capacity among local nonprofits in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area. Further, my dissertation research examined the attributes of resilient nonprofit organizations to explore elements of organizational capacity exhibited by small and medium sized nonprofits in Virginia.
My research also includes projects that examine nonprofit-government relationships, collaborations, and networks. I have worked on several studies that examine partnerships between nonprofit and government entities. For example, I researched cross sector relationships between Habitat for Humanity Affiliates and local government agencies; collaborations between New York City government and area nonprofits; and government-nonprofit contracting and grants relationships at the federal, state and local levels.
Prior to joining the Urban Institute, I was a seasoned organization development and human resources professional at several nonprofit trade associations. In this capacity my work included tasks such as analyzing organizational resources and processes to help ensure they are strongly aligned to achieve the overall mission and goals of the organization; managing organizational change processes to transition employees through changes in leadership, shifts in culture, and departmental restructurings; providing the framework, guidance, and coaching necessary to facilitate operational plans and objectives; implementing and evaluating organization-wide initiatives; consulting with senior leadership and management on strategic planning and budgeting activities; and advising senior management teams on process improvement activities to produce more efficient, productive, cost-effective and streamlined workflow.
I hold a BA from the University of Virginia, MPA from George Mason University, and a PhD from Virginia Tech.
Dennis Linders (Local Government)
As a CountyStat Analyst in the Office of the Montgomery County Executive and a PhD candidate at the University of Maryland, I help public administrators use data to solve problems and deliver results for residents. This work builds from two formative experiences earlier in my career: working on IT strategies with federal agencies at the start of the Obama administration’s Open Data Initiative and then studying the emergence of “smart city” innovations at the World Bank, as leading cities began to leverage data from sensors, connected citizens, and “big data” information systems to help make smarter decisions.
My experience of working with cities across the world at the World Bank led to a new appreciation for local government—and an awareness that, in this time of partisan gridlock, government innovation increasingly takes place at the local level. This led me to Montgomery County, where data informs everything that we do. For instance, to promote accountability, we annually assess the performance of all County departments through over 400 data-driven performance measures shared via online dashboards. To ensure customer service excellence, we use open data on citizen service requests to track the responsiveness of County departments in real-time.
Importantly, we also use data as a platform for collaborative problem solving. For instance, the CountyStat team mapped out pedestrian collisions to identify hotspots and target the activities of engineers, police officers, and public information officers; assessed community data to identify demand for English language training and potential gaps in coverage across 25+ service providers; and translated troves of community and government databases into actionable insights to help shape the County’s upcoming senior strategy in partnership with a dozen County departments and a multitude of community partners.
More and more local governments, regionally and nationally, are similarly recognizing the power of data and implementing data-driven programs like CountyStat. Together, we are jointly giving rise to a new profession within public administration—the “government data scientist”—as we use data and analytics to tackle public problems and improve the performance of government.
Dennis can be contacted at email@example.com and dennislinders.com. He also invites you to read his “smart city” chapter in the recently published World Bank – World Development Report 2016, available at bit.ly/wdr-smartcities.
W.Michael McDavit (Federal Government)
Call me Mike. I am currently the Chief of the Wetlands Strategies and State Programs Branch, Wetlands Division, Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds, Office of Water, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, DC. I lead a small unit that administers technical and financial assistance agreements for improving State and Tribal wetland protection programs. I also oversee the recurring National Wetland Condition Assessment, a national assessment of the ecological health of the Nation’s wetlands. The very first national survey in the series of nearly 1,200 wetland sites across the lower 48 is scheduled to be released in May, which also happens to be American Wetlands Month. In my current position, I collaborate with other federal agencies on special projects concerning the protection and restoration of wetland resources, such as the Interagency Coastal Wetland Working Group. I hold a BS in Environmental Science from the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay and a MPA from the George Washington University. Born and raised in the Washington, DC area, I am a third generation federal bureaucrat.
I am also Senior Fellow with the Partnership for Public Services’ “Excellence in Government” leadership program, an officer in ASPA’s Section on Environmental and Natural Resources Administration and a member of the Ecological Society of America. My 34 year federal career has spanned a variety of environmental disciplines, including regulation of pesticides, management of hazardous waste, and air and water pollution source control. During nine years abroad with the Department of Defense, I managed the U.S. military’s hazardous waste in Europe and helped close U.S. bases after the fall of the Berlin Wall. I also set up the first hazmat service program for U.S. troops in Southwest Asia after Operation Desert Storm. On the academic side, I currently teach environmental biology at Montgomery College, Germantown, MD and serve on the faculty of the annual “Washington Youth Summit for the Environment” at George Mason University. My wife, Kim, is a singer and piano teacher, and his son Grady is studying Irish dance/music at the University of Limerick, Ireland.
Becky L. Schergens (Nonprofit)
I am the National Advisor at the National Women’s History Museum. My career path has been nothing short of nomadic. I arrived in Washington, DC with a degree in government from Southern Methodist University and plunged into working at the DC office of the City University of New York (CUNY) and American Association of Museums as well as being a staff assistant to three Secretaries at the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. At last, I became a Deputy Assistant Secretary (Policy Communication) in the Education Division. In those days, women usually had to move in a zig zag fashion to achieve the next step.
My next stop was Chicago where I had been selected as the first Executive Director of the National PTA (I have no children). Later I moved to Denver and earned my MPA from the University of Denver. Upon graduation, the President of the University of Houston – Clear Lake offered me a position to partner with the Houston Chamber of Commerce in economic development. Ultimately I became the first Vice President for Institutional Advancement at UHCL. Why is all of this information necessary to working in non-profits?
This long journey convinced me that my public service was best utilized in the non-profit world. I literally came full circle back to Washington, DC to find that virtually all of my skills and experience in public administration were useful in the non-profit world. For the past 14 years, I have served as the National Advisor to the National Women’s History Museum. In that role, I developed the initial strategic plan to create a National Coalition of women’s organizations to support the establishment of a Women’s History Museum in the Nation’s Capital. I continue to work with and expand the Coalition, which now includes 54 organizations.
Primarily online, the National Women’s History Museum offers a diverse collection of biographies, digital exhibits, and lesson plans for teachers and women’s history enthusiasts. Presently, a Congressional Commission is conducting a feasibility study and is scheduled to present a report to the Congress in November 2016 about the future of the Museum.
My biggest joy has been working with the 54 Coalition organizations and the remarkable women who have served as their leaders. Together we continue to build support for our vision of a bricks and mortar National Women’s History Museum in Washington, DC which will “educate, inspire, empower and shape the future by integrating women’s distinctive history into the culture and history of the United States.”
To learn more about the museum, visit www.nwhm.org.