Governor Parson Announces Graduation of Missouri Leadership Academy Spring 2020 Class, Launch of Fall 2020 Class

 — Today, Governor Mike Parson announced the graduation of 28 state employees from the Missouri Leadership Academy – a program that develops the next generation of state government leaders.

The graduates came from the State of Missouri’s 16 executive departments and were chosen by senior leadership to participate in the cross-department leadership development program. Governor Parson also announced another 29 emerging leaders who will participate in the fifth class of the program this fall (see biographies below).

“We remain focused on making our state government more efficient and effective for all Missourians, which is why we continue to invest in our emerging leaders through the Leadership Academy,” Governor Parson said. “I applaud the participants for their commitment to public service and learning new skills to better serve their fellow citizens.”

The Spring 2020 Missouri Leadership Academy class presented recommendations from their capstone projects to Governor Parson and Cabinet leaders on Wednesday. Wednesday evening, Governor Parson hosted the Spring 2020 class for their graduation followed by a reception in the Capitol Rotunda.

The Missouri Leadership Academy is an innovative program that brings together emerging leaders to develop new skills and become better leaders. The program is based on the idea that by developing leaders, Missouri state government will continue to improve and better serve its citizens.

Emerging leaders from the Missouri Leadership Academy build their capabilities in three core areas: leading themselves, leading others, and leading change in state government. The Academy partnered with the University of Missouri’s Novak Leadership Institute to implement elements of the leadership training.

In March 2020, the class toured the Missouri Capitol and Supreme Court Building. The groups met with numerous state leaders, including legislative leaders, statewide office holders, members of the judiciary, Cabinet leaders, and reporters covering the Capitol. The program then continued remotely for three months in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

In June, the Spring 2020 class began meeting in person again following safety protocols, including screening of participants, social distancing, and wearing masks. The Fall 2020 class will continue to adapt to COVID-19 as needed to maintain public safety.

“The Missouri Leadership Academy continues to highlight some of the best and brightest public servants in Missouri,” State of Missouri Chief Operating Officer Drew Erdmann said. “The Spring 2020 class of the Academy demonstrated how to adapt to unforeseen challenges and still deliver impact. The class exemplifies what we expect from our state government leaders – commitment, flexibility, skill, and dedication to others.”

“I knew the Leadership Academy would offer great training and an opportunity to be reflective as a leader,” Director of Talent Acquisition Dawn Sweazea said. “What I didn’t anticipate was really becoming connected to the State of Missouri, as one servant, to our citizens. I’m newer to my position, and this opportunity to understand more holistically will absolutely help me do my job better.”

“The Missouri Leadership Academy has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my career in state government,” said Cecille Swan, Field Compliance Bureau Administrator, Department of Revenue. “This experience has taken me on a reflective journey towards an increased understanding of my strengths and the skills and abilities to become an authentic leader.” 

To be considered for participation in the program, department leaders must nominate their team members. Nominees then submit a resume and brief memorandum explaining why they are a good candidate for the program to a committee of Cabinet leaders. The committee reviews the applications and makes the final selections.

Since launching the program, the state has graduated over 100 emerging leaders and will continue to have two classes per year. The Spring 2021 class will be nominated by Cabinet leaders in November 2020 and begin in January 2021.

For more information about the Missouri Leadership Academy, visit You can also keep up with the new class on social media by following #MOLeadershipAcademy.



Fifth Class of the Missouri Leadership Academy (Fall 2020)


Nathan Bess

Permit Services & Revenue Manager

Department of Conservation

As the Permit Services & Revenue Manager, Nathan administers revenue collection for the agency. Nathan and his team are dedicated to improving the customer experience by identifying and implementing streamlined processes and improved system functionality that benefits both internal and external users. Nathan has been with the Department for 15 years and the state for a total of 18 years. In addition to his daily responsibilities, he is also actively involved in the agency’s organizational restructure and strategic planning efforts, performance management program design and implementation, and process improvement initiative. Nathan holds a Master of Business Administration with an emphasis in Human Resources and General Management from William Woods University. He is also a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt.


Leslie Bradley

Director of Federal Programs, Division of Developmental Disabilities

Department of Mental Health

Leslie recently accepted the position of Director of Federal Programs and will fully move to this role effective September 1, 2020. She began working with the Department of Mental Health in 2006 as a Clinical Casework Assistant with Marshall Habilitation Center. She rejoined the state as a Program Specialist with Licensure & Certification in 2011 and became a member of the Federal Programs team in 2016. She recently completed the Lean Six Sigma Green Belt training and certification with Ohio State University. Leslie holds a Master of Science in social gerontology from the University of Central Missouri.


Sarah Clardy

Administrative and Independent Living Services Coordinator

Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Sarah serves as the Coordinator of Administrative and Independent Living Services for DESE’s Office of Adult Learning and Rehabilitation Services (OALRS). Highly dedicated to Missourians with disabilities, the programs within OALRS offer employment and training services to individuals and assist with independent living within communities. Sarah began her career with OALRS in 2000, leading the organization in various fiscal management roles. Her experience includes accounting and procurement operations, systems design and implementation, policy, and program evaluation and improvement. She is instrumental in connecting businesses with organizational programs, a key to organizational success. Sarah earned a Bachelor of Science from Columbia College and holds a Master of Business Administration and Accounting from Bellevue University, Nebraska.


Craig Crane

Chief of Custody, Algoa Correctional Center

Department of Corrections

Craig has been serving with the Missouri Department of Corrections for 12 years. In his current position as the Chief of Custody, he is assigned to administrative corrections and is responsible for keeping the security of the facility viable and up to date. Since joining the corrections team, he has advanced through the Department’s Institutional Custody ranks, serving as a Corrections Officer, Sergeant, Lieutenant, Captain, and Major at Algoa Correctional Center in Jefferson City, Missouri.


Marin DeBauch

Program Director, Meat and Poultry Inspection Program

Division of Animal Health,  Department of Agriculture

Marin joined the Department of Agriculture in 2013 after practicing veterinary medicine for two and a half years in a mixed-animal practice. She now serves as the Director of the Meat and Poultry Inspection Program leading a team of food safety auditors, investigators, and inspectors to ensure safe, wholesome meat and poultry products are available for Missouri consumers. Marin is passionate about her role in promoting agriculture through the protection of consumer confidence. Her team licenses and regulates meat and poultry processors, which helps add value to their products through broadening their market potential. Marin grew up on a small dairy farm in Northeast Missouri where she was active in 4-H and FFA.  She earned her Bachelor of Animal Science at the University of Missouri - Columbia. She then attended the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine where she obtained a dual degree in Veterinary Medicine and Public Health.


Samantha Dickey

Director of Strategic Initiatives

Department of Higher Education & Workforce Development

As the Director of Strategic Initiatives, Samantha sets the vision and strategic direction for the Office of Postsecondary Policy and leads a number of initiatives to improve students' college experience. She has been with the Missouri Department of Higher Education & Workforce Development for six years, previously serving in legislative, human resources, and project management roles. Samantha holds a Bachelor of Science in linguistics from Truman State University.


Lisa Glasgow

Director of Project Intake

Office of Administration

Lisa joined the Information Technology Services Division (ITSD) in May 2015, bringing with her 15 years of IT experience in the private sector. In her time with ITSD, she was the Project Manager for multiple projects at the Department of Mental Health before accepting a position in the ITSD Enterprise Project Management Office (EPMO). With the EPMO, she provided project training, project oversight, and support to ITSD Project Managers. In January 2019, Lisa took on the role of Director of Project Intake. The Project Intake Office works with agencies at the beginning of their projects to help recommend the best solutions to meet their business needs. She holds a Bachelor of Science from James Madison University.


Laci Haymart

Business Tax Correspondence and Local Tax Manager

Department of Revenue

As the Business Tax Correspondence and Local Tax Manager, Laci manages the sales, use, and withholding tax correspondence sections that review and respond to business tax customer inquiries. She also oversees the monthly sales and use tax distributions to local jurisdictions.  She has been with the Missouri Department of Revenue for seven years. Laci is a certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt professional. 


Kimberly Hubbard-Stewart

Western Regional Administrator

Department of Corrections

Kimberly has worked for the Department of Corrections Division of Probation and Parole for 22 years. She currently holds the position of Regional Administrator for the Western Region. In this position, she oversees the operations of all district offices in the region. This includes building relations with all relevant criminal justice areas and agencies across the region; collaborating with various resource partners to develop effective program services; contract management; budget management; policy and procedure management/development; resource allocations; and budget administration. During her years of service, she has held the positions of Field Probation and Parole Officer, Field Unit Supervisor, and District Administrator. She holds a Bachelor of Science and completed Graduate Studies in Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling from Jackson State University in Mississippi.


Alan Jackson

Program Specialist I

Department of Social Services

As a Program Specialist I, Alan is a liaison for the Family Support Division and oversees one of the contracts for the Family Support Division. Alan has been with the Department of Social Services since 2015. He holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism and recently completed the Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt training and certification with The Ohio State University. He is also a member of the Department of Social Services’ Operational Excellence Team.


Shelle Jacobs

Community and Economic Development Manager, Missouri One Start Division

Department of Economic Development

As a Community and Economic Development Manager for Missouri One Start, Shelle provides workforce training solutions and recruitment assistance to new and existing Missouri businesses. Shelle has specialized in workforce development and industry support for more than 10 years and understands the unique challenges faced by employers. Her goal is to help employers strengthen their workforce, work safely, and maximize productivity. 


Rachel Jones

Trauma Informed Treatment Manager

Department of Mental Health

Rachel serves as Manager of Trauma Informed Treatment for the Division of Behavioral Health with the Department of Mental Health. In her current role, she provides trauma-informed training, consultation, and technical assistance with various projects to further implement trauma-informed knowledge, practices, and treatment. Additionally, she assists the Office of Disaster Services in statewide response through the Missouri Crisis Counseling Program. Prior to this, she worked as Regional Director of Youth Services in a Certified Community Behavioral Health Organization. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor and received bachelor’s degree in sociology, minor in black studies, and a master’s degree in educational, school, and counseling psychology from the University of Missouri-Columbia.


Chenae Marble

Supervising Research/Data Analyst

Department of Revenue

Chenae has worked for the Department of Revenue Compliance and Investigation Bureau (CIB) for three years. As the Supervising Research/Data Analyst, she oversees the data collection, case closure, grant processing, and statistical analysis for the bureau and works closely with the bureau’s special agents to compile evidence for criminal cases and civil assessments. Chenae’s recent focus has been creating interactive agency dashboards to better showcase the work CIB does for the citizens of Missouri. She has a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt and holds a master’s of communication, training. and development degree from Lindenwood University in Saint Charles, Missouri.


Amber McKenzie

Project Leader

Department of Social Services

Amber researches policies, rules, and regulations as they relate to improving the delivery and coordination of behavioral health services for MO HealthNet members. Currently, she is a project leader for a behavioral health project that will assist in promoting enhanced care management for foster care children and youth. She holds a license in professional counseling (LPC). Her prior experiences include academic advising, mental health counselor/outpatient clinician, and behavioral health research.


Shasta Miller

Field Support Manager in the Southeast Region, Children’s Division

Department of Social Services

Shasta is a Southeast Regional Field Support Manager with the Department of Social Services' Children’s Division. As a Field Support Manager, Shasta is responsible for direct supervision of circuit managers who provide oversight in policy, practice, and procedure in the areas of child abuse/neglect, foster care, and resource families. Shasta also manages and leads the Quality Assurance Unit in the Southeast region, which promotes evidence-based practices using statistics to effectively implement plans for improvement while collaborating with local and regional stakeholders. She works closely with her regional team and leads practice model initiatives, policy interpretation, program improvements, state/regional continuous improvement efforts and much more. Shasta has been with the Children’s Division for 12 years and started her role as a Field Support Manager in November 2018. She has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology, sociology, and anthropology and graduated from Cornell College, Iowa, in 2005. 


Stephanie Newton

Regulatory Auditor Supervisor

Department of Labor and Industrial Relations

Stephanie joined the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DOLIR) with the Division of Employment Security in 2011. As the Benefit Accuracy Measurement (BAM) Unit Supervisor, she ensures that the BAM Unit meets federal and state performance measures while auditing the accuracy of paid and denied Unemployment Insurance (UI) claims. She plans and assigns audits, technically advises and trains, reviews audit findings, provides feedback for process enhancement to leadership, and participates in regional United States Department of Labor (USDOL) performance reviews of BAM audits. In addition, Stephanie worked as a Claims Specialist and UI Auditor, has certified in UI Fraud Investigations with the NASWA UI Integrity Center, attended the 2019 Missouri Continuous Improvement Summit, participates in the DOLIR Mentor/Mentee program, is a member of the DOLIR Internal workgroup, served as a Change Agent during the UI system modernization, and served in the establishment of the DOLIR Wellness Committee. Stephanie has a Bachelor of Science in fashion and interiors merchandising from Harding University.


Charles Norris

Apprenticeship Coordinator

Department of Higher Education & Workforce Development

Charles joined the Missouri Apprenticeship team in March 2019. He serves as an Apprenticeship Coordinator for the Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development and works to help Missourians find pathways to higher education, meaningful careers, and hope using a time tested successful model. Charles spent 20 years serving in the U.S. Navy as an aircraft mechanic and Navy Instructor/Master Training Specialist. Charles holds a Bachelor of Science in technical management-small business from DeVry University and a Master of Science in education-learning design and technology from Purdue University.


Chris Parr

CJIS Program Manager, Missouri State Highway Patrol

Department of Public Safety

Chris Parr is a CJIS Program Manager for the Missouri State Highway Patrol. He oversees the statewide training program for the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and Missouri Uniform Law Enforcement System (MULES) user certification as well as the System Access Integrity Unit, which works with user provisioning and record quality checking. Chris lives in Jefferson City with his wife, Katy, and enjoys traveling and working as a semi-professional musician in his spare time.


Adam Perkins

Laboratory Supervisor

Department of Health & Senior Services

Adam has been with the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) since 2009 and is currently the Laboratory Supervisor for the Tuberculosis (TB) Section within the Microbiology Unit at the Missouri State Public Health Laboratory (MSPHL). Adam administers the laboratory component of the TB Elimination and Laboratory Cooperative Grant and supervises all of the testing involved in identifying TB within patient specimens. He also provides drug susceptibility information to the DHSS TB Program and local public health agencies. Outside of day-to-day laboratory work, Adam is highly involved with continuous improvement efforts both at the MSPHL through the Workforce Survey SCOPE team and his department as a whole through the DHSS Lean Six Sigma Team. He graduated from Clemson University in 2003 with a Bachelor of Science in microbiology, received graduate course education through the Medical Microbiology and Immunology Ph.D. Program at the University of Missouri through 2008, and recently added his Lean Green Belt certification from Dartmouth University in 2019. 


Lisa Potter

Private Land Programs Supervisor & Farm Bill Coordinator

Department of Conservation

As the Private Land Programs Supervisor and Farm Bill Coordinator, Lisa develops and administers conservation programs to assist Missouri landowners in reaching their conservation objectives. She works as a liaison between the Conservation Department and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to aid in the development of technical standards and policies that support implementation of fish, forest, and wildlife habitat conservation across the state. Lisa has been with the Department for 13 years and has also served as an Area Biologist and Private Land Technical Assistance Biologist. She received a Bachelor of Science in wildlife biology from Kansas State University and a Master of Science in ecology and evolutionary biology from Iowa State University.


Megan Rogers

Cooperative Marketing Manager

Department of Economic Development

Megan has been with the Missouri Department of Economic Development since 2008 and worked seven years for the Division of Workforce Development before joining the Tourism Division in 2015. Her position as Cooperative Marketing Manager allows her to work with Destination Marketing Organizations on funding opportunities for their marketing efforts both inside and outside of the state. She also enjoys other duties as assigned when called upon to plan events like regional meetings and the annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism. Megan holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Columbia College and a Master of Business Administration from William Woods University.


Vincent Rost

Probation & Parole District Manager

Department of Corrections

Vince serves as the Probation and Parole District Administrator for Cole, Moniteau, and Osage counties, managing resources and programs directed at impacting community safety by assisting offenders to be more productive Missouri citizens. He has been with the Department of Corrections for seven years - serving in field supervision offices in Columbia, Fulton, and Jefferson City. Vince holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science/history from Columbia College, a Master of Arts in human resources development from Webster University, and a Master of Science in criminal justice from Columbia College. Vince spent 20 years of active duty enlisted service in the U.S. Navy employed in a variety of capacities, such as ordnance/weapons specialties, training and recruiting duties, anti-terrorism, anti-piracy operations, and an amphibious deployment as a Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) Craft-master.  


Karen Rouse

Regional Director

Department of Natural Resources

Karen serves as Kansas City Regional Office Director in the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Division of Environmental Quality. She manages a team of 36 who monitor and provide assistance for environmental compliance over a 19 county area. Karen began her career with DNR in 1998 as an inspector in the Southeast Regional Office. During her career with the Department, Karen also spent 18 years with the Water Resources Center working interstate water management issues. She holds a Bachelor of Science in resource ecology from the University of Michigan – Flint and a Master of Art in geography from the University of Missouri – Columbia.


Zach Russell

Senior Program Specialist

Office of Administration

Zach currently works for the Office of Administration (OA), Facilities Management Design and Construction (FMDC), as a Senior Program Specialist dealing with the Long Range Capital Improvement Plan, tracking the state’s capital assets and working with OA Budget & Planning to complete the preparations for the Governor’s recommendations for House Bills 18 & 19. Prior to his current role, he worked as an Energy Management Coordinator, Project Manager, and CADD Manager all with OA-FMDC. Zach has been with the state for nearly 16 years and has a Bachelor of Applied Science in business management from Central Methodist University, along with an Associate of Applied Science in design drafting from State Technical College of Missouri.


Curt Stokes

Chief Deputy Counsel, Public Service Commission

Department of Commerce & Insurance

Curt serves as the Chief Deputy Counsel for the Staff Division of the Missouri Public Service Commission (PSC), managing a team of 10 staff attorneys, developing and presenting training in litigation skills, and managing a docket of cases involving Missouri’s regulated public utilities. He previously served as a litigation attorney for the PSC, as a staff attorney for the Missouri Ethics Commission, and as an Assistant Attorney General for the state of Missouri. He obtained his Juris Doctorate from Saint Louis University and a Bachelor of Science in psychology with a minor in statistics from Truman State University.


Mike Strong

Facilities Director

Department of Corrections

Mike joined the Missouri Department of Corrections team 21 years ago and currently serves as the Facilities Director in the Central Office Construction Unit. In this role, he is responsible for managing the Department’s capital improvement projects and six-year capital improvement plan. Mike leads the Construction Unit team, the Heavy Equipment/Construction crew, and the Cook Chill Maintenance team. Mike and his teams work directly with institutions across the state on in-house construction projects, utility reduction measures, and maintenance issues. Prior to his current position, Mike held the Energy Management Coordinator position at the Central Office and multiple maintenance positions in four separate correctional facilities.


Lisa Stuecken

Budget Director

Department of Natural Resources

Lisa serves as the Budget Program Director for the Department of Natural Resources. She and her team collaborate and oversee the development of the Department's annual operating, capital improvement, and real estate budgets and provide analysis, guidance, and recommendations to division and program staff and management on a variety of budget and funding issues. Lisa holds a Bachelor of Science in accounting from Lincoln University. She began her full-time career in the program in 2000 as a Budget Analyst and was promoted to the director position in December 2016.


Amanda Wilbers

Operational Excellence Leader

Department of Public Safety

Amanda currently serves as the Operational Excellence Leader for the Department of Public Safety. Amanda’s position provides the opportunity for her to be involved with the Department’s dashboards, strategic initiatives, and continuous improvement efforts. She started her career with the state of Missouri in the Department of Social Services in May 2012. In April 2018, she joined the Department of Public Safety in a position that allowed her to help monitor one of the largest grants SEMA receives, the Emergency Management Performance Grant. More recently, she has been heavily involved with the response to COVID-19, which includes distribution plans of Personal Protective Equipment to the state’s first responders and other state agencies. She holds a bachelor’s degree in social work from Missouri State University.


Jennifer Wyble

Quality Enhancement Lead

Department of Mental Health

Jennifer currently works for the Department of Mental Health's Developmental Disabilities Division at the Kansas City Regional Office as a Quality Enhancement Lead. She supervises a team of Quality Enhancement Nurses and Quality Enhancement Specialists with a focus on health, safety, rights, quality of services, tracking/trending, and data analysis. She has 26 years of experience with the Developmental Disabilities Division, Kansas City Regional Office. Overall, she has 42 years of experience working with, supporting, and advocating for people with disabilities. Her 42 year career includes 25 years of management and supervisory experience and 30 years experience providing training, coaching, mentoring, and consulting.