Category Archives: Kansas Certified Public Manager Program

Reflections from Kansas Certified Public Manager Graduate: Megan Milner

Comments Delivered by Megan Milner, Deputy Superintendent, Kansas Juvenile Corrections Complex

On December 2, 2016

Megan Milner, 2016 Certified Public Manager graduate, speaks on behalf of her Topeka cohort.

Megan Milner, 2016 Certified Public Manager graduate, speaks on behalf of her Topeka cohort.

Good morning.

I am Megan Milner. I am with the Kansas Juvenile Correctional Complex and was asked to say a few words about the benefits of the CPM program.

In Topeka, our class was held each month at a national historic site, the Brown V. Board of Education building. For a group of people who were meeting with the purpose of learning how to better lead and manage people, being in this building was a constant reminder that how we treat other people matters.

I’ve put together a short list of those things that I found, and my fellow classmates found, to be most beneficial in the CPM program:

  1. Coffee – a very wise person recently told me that a yawn is a silent scream for This really resonated with me, so the steady supply of caffeinated fuel was very much appreciated.
  2. The thermostat, and having control of said thermostat, was a highly valued commodity in the Topeka
  3. I looked through my CPM notebook and randomly pulled out some of the ideas or phrases that, looking back, really made an impression on Things like:
    1. Servant leadership…
    2. Emotional intelligence…
    3. Learning to appreciate and value differences…
    4. Deep smarts…
    5. We completed our own flowcharts and org charts, and all had to face the ominous question of whether or not our position was really relevant to our organization (which, for the purposes of my supervisor and Deputy Secretary in the audience today, the answer was yes)
    6. We talked about creating public value for our agency…
    7. We learned that there is a fine science to putting together a PowerPoint…
    8. Remember discussing rock stars, steady-eddy’s and bottom dwellers?
    9. There were so many areas that we studied over the past year and I mention some of these as a reminder of what we went through and how far we have come since January.
  4. The CPM staff and facilitators – We are very privileged to have been able to learn from such a high caliber of Thank you for sharing your stories and experiences and mistakes so that we can be better leaders. Your devotion and enthusiasm for the program helped create a learning environment free of judgement or disapproval, and we could tell you genuinely cared about us and our success.
  5. Our fellow classmates – If one were to speak to every individual in this CPM program and ask them what was most beneficial, I am confident you would hear similar answers from almost everyone: having the opportunity to interact and network with such a talented and smart group of There were many times during our classes when one of you said something that stopped me in my tracks and made me re-think and re-evaluate what I was doing. The insight and experiences offered by our peers were an instrumental part of making this program work. Public service is a very rewarding occupation…and at the same time, it can be complex, frustrating and challenging. But if the future of public service in Kansas is sitting in this room today, from what I have seen, we are in pretty good hands.

As I was reminiscing and looking through my CPM notebook, I found a quote that I wanted to end with today. This quote was shared with us in the very first CPM class in January and I jotted it down on a sticky note and put it in my notebook. I think it holds as much relevance at the end of our CPM program as it did the day we began. The quote is:

“Undertake something that is difficult; it will do you good. Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.”

Thank you very much for the opportunity to speak today and congratulations to all of the CPM graduates on your hard work!


Reflections from Kansas Certified Public Manager Graduate: Colleen Stuart

Comments Delivered by Lieutenant Colleen Stuart, Topeka Police Department

On December 2, 2016


2016 Certified Public Manager Lt. Colleen Stuart from the Topeka Police Department speaks on behalf of her Law Enforcement Leadership Academy cohort.

2016 Certified Public Manager Lt. Colleen Stuart from the Topeka Police Department speaks on behalf of her Law Enforcement Leadership Academy cohort.

Although this Command School program is young, it is already highly sought after.  I recall feeling uneasy when Chief Brown announced in a Staff meeting he wanted to speak to LT Harden and I afterwards.  As we sat with him he very quickly asked if we would both consider participating in the KU PMC LELA Command School beginning in January 2016. Chief Brown wanted to invest in his Commanders to prepare them for future roles within the department.  I was honored to have been given the opportunity.

Afterwards, I began thinking of this year long program and what it would entail. I was a new LT at the time. While I had everything to learn, I knew discussion and networking was a large part of the program. What could I possibly contribute to a class full of experienced Chiefs, Sheriffs and Commanders from agencies across Kansas?

Over the course of the year, which was done before I was ready to let go of these amazing people; I took ideas back to my agency from our sessions- ideas like the one page project manager, the better understanding of how people are motivated and deal with conflict and the painful emotional intelligence profile. But I also learned much more than the lesson plans.

No matter the size of agency, there are similar issues and obstacles. When things go well we celebrate the same victories and we all share the same passion to protect and serve our communities. There are different leadership paths towards getting that job done; those that are at heart a street cop & soldier leading by example and from the front as our beloved CPT Dave Melton from the KCK PD did, leaders who are hardened administrators, no sugarcoating and seeing the bottom line but with a true heart for their people, and visionaries and innovators who look beyond the way things have always been done to what can be improved and done in a new way.  Each person within my class had a slightly different view of how to lead, how to deal with a situation, and I absorbed everything I could while I was in their midst.

Before I go I would like to thank Jonathan- our principal instructor.  Jonathan is the only non-law enforcement person I have met who seemed to really understand the quirks of our profession.  He understands why law enforcement thinks like we do, he would laugh knowing our brand of humor- even dishing it out on occasion. He created a learning environment that was enjoyable, relatable and valuable. He also hurt right alongside us when our brother in blue was taken tragically. He does not wear a badge but will always be one of us in my book.

In closing, I appreciate the opportunity I was given to join this program. As a result I stand now a better law enforcement officer, a better version of myself, because of each person in my LELA #3 class. And I thank each one of them for sharing who they are.  Thank you.


Reflections from Kansas Certified Public Manager Graduate: Daniel Cecil

Comments Delivered by Daniel Cecil, Assistant Director of Public Building & Grounds, City of Dodge City Parks.

On December 2, 2016

Daniel Cecil, graduate from the Hays CPM cohort, with PMC Director Laura Howard, University of Kansas Provost Neeli Bendapudi, and CPM Program Manager Terri Callahan.

Daniel Cecil, graduate speaker from the Hays Certified Public Manager cohort, with KU Public Management Center Director Laura Howard, University of Kansas Provost Neeli Bendapudi, and Certified Public Management Program Manager Terri Callahan.

Good Morning,

Thank you for attending the 2016 Kansas Certified Public Manager Program graduation Ceremony. I am Daniel Cecil from Dodge City and member of the Hays Cohort.

Back in January, when we first met as a class in Hays, there were many people who came from many walks of life, brought together by this class to improve themselves, their careers and the organizations they worked for and represented. We knew nothing or very little about one another so everyone was on their best behavior, ready to listen and learn about the expectations and course material Terri was about to send our way.

As the months went by, we went from a room full of strangers to friends that came together once a month for 2 days to talk, discuss and debate topics ranging from budgets and planning to managing projects and building relationships. We shared stories about work experiences and asked one another for advice and opinions on the tough questions we faced on the job. It was nice to know other people in the workforce were facing some of the same issues as myself and had positive feedback as well as solutions!

Even when we weren’t in class, many good memories were made. Group lunch was a regular occurrence in Hays with the help of the local class members providing their culinary expertise when we needed a restaurant to go to. We traveled to the City of Russell to watch the movie Seabiscuit on their big screen that was generously offered to us as an option. Setting on the rooftop patio at the Oread during the collaboration conference telling jokes and stories will be something I won’t soon forget.

Today as we gather for the last time as the 2016 class, I would like to thank Terri and all of the instructors for their time and dedication to the program to make it what it is, the best. The program is challenging yet rewarding. The capstone project provides an opportunity to improve on a work situation the individual has identified as an issue and the individual development plan allows people to continuously improve in both their work and personal lives. These projects along with the people and memories have made Certified Public Manager 2016 something to remember.

I believe that everyone who takes this class and fully invests themselves in learning and engaging will come away with a quality experience.


Thank you.

Kansas Certified Public Management Center – 2016 graduation commencement speech from Director Laura Howard

Comments Delivered by Public Management Center Director, Laura Howard.

Director Laura Howard speaking to the graduates

Director Laura Howard speaking to the 2016 Certified Public Manager program graduates.

On December 2, 2016

Good morning. My name is Laura Howard and I direct the University of Kansas Public Management Center. I would like to welcome you on behalf of the KU Public Management Center, the School of Public Affairs and Administration and the University of Kansas to this Graduation Ceremony for the 2016 Kansas Certified Public Manager Program.  We have the opportunity today to honor 77 Public Servants who have earned the credential of Certified Public Manager.   These graduates join a group of almost 40,000 across the nation and 1,700 in the State of Kansas who have earned this elite designation.

The Certified Public Manager Designation is a nationally accredited management development program targeted towards individuals in local, state, federal and tribal government, as well as other organizations that serve a public purpose.  We are privileged at the KU Public Management Center to be the organization that sponsors and operates the accredited program within the State of Kansas.  Today’s graduates have earned this credential by completing more than 300 contact hours in seven key management competency areas over this last year.   In addition to classroom time, these graduates have completed a number of competency-based assignments resulting in an e-portfolio that demonstrates the skills they have learned throughout this past year.  Each student has also developed a capstone project that directly benefits the graduate’s agency through improved processes, efficiencies, improved outcomes or an innovative approach to an agency need.

Like the graduates before them, members of this class share a belief and commitment in service to others and a belief and commitment in the common good.  They truly exemplify the values of the National CPM Consortium – Connect, Engage and Lead.   These graduates are leading the way in public management.   Please join me in applauding today’s graduates for their hard work and accomplishment.

We also have with us some past CPM graduates.  If you are one of the 1600 graduates who have come before this class, please stand and be recognized.

The Public Management Center does not do this work alone.   We have some wonderful partners who are here today.   I would also like to thank our formal CPM partners – the Kansas Association of Counties, the League of Kansas Municipalities, the Mid-America Regional Council as well as the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center.  Thank you for your ongoing commitment to good public management, your efforts in marketing and outreach and all that you do to help make the Kansas CPM program one of the best in the nation.

Garden City Manager finds organization-wide benefits in Kansas CPM program

Matt Allen is City Manager of City of Garden City, Kansas

Matt Allen, City Manager, City of Garden City, Kansas

As City Manager for the City of Garden City, Kansas, Matt Allen has sent 28 employees through the Kansas Certified Public Manager (CPM) program, which is run by the KU Public Management Center (PMC). He has even hired PMC instructors to conduct sessions tailored to his city’s needs.

Although, the CPM program isn’t the only leadership development option that Matt considers for his employees, since sometimes a more traditional industry-specific training is appropriate, CPM is his go-to as an organization-wide training tool.

“CPM is our baseline public service management training that is consistent with our core values and highlights the leadership traits and management skills we expect are present in every management team member,” he said.

Through KU alumni circles, Matt followed the creation and evolution of the CPM program. The high quality of the curriculum and instructors was exactly what he wanted, but at the time, the closest CPM location was Topeka, and sending employees 311 miles away for a class wasn’t a feasible solution.

In 2008, thanks to the vision of Terri Callahan, Kansas CPM Program Director, to bring CPM to the entire state, Garden City found itself as one of three host cities for CPM classes in southwest Kansas, and Garden City’s manager jumped at the opportunity to send his employees through the program.

The first Garden City CPM student was Sam Curran, a department head who wanted to attend, and through him, Matt was able to evaluate the program for the organization’s needs. One benefit they found was that CPM participants interact with public servants from other cities and other agencies, which provides a more robust learning experience.

Curran leading capitol improvement planning

City of Garden City department head Sam Curran leads a citizen-based planning process.

Additionally, students work on a capstone project while in the program. Sam worked on a project to lead a citizen-based Capital Improvement Planning process at the schools and with a community group (pictured here and below).

“We send people we have faith in – to help equip them with either new skills or a deeper understanding of skills they already possess,” Matt said. “This program is something that is easy for our employees to say ‘yes’ to because it increases their marketability as a public service professional.”

While he admits it’s hard to measure the long-term impact of the program on his department or on other organizations that may hire his staff, he recognizes the CPM program’s success among his people in the short-term.

“We have avoided issues related to mismanagement and ethics violations that tend to crop up in local governments and public agencies,” he said. “I don’t know if it is fair to attribute the value of this solely to CPM, but it certainly helps to have trained nearly a tenth of your staff on a common curriculum that emphasizes a public service code of ethics and appropriate personnel management.”

Well aware of KU’s MPA as a viable option, and an MPA graduate himself, Matt still finds value in the CPM, noting that the content of the two programs is similar, and that one of the biggest takeaways for both is the interaction among classmates that develops a lifelong professional network and friendships. Another benefit to both is the interaction with the instructors who become a continuous learning resource throughout a participant’s career.

Matt said, “From an employer’s perspective, when I’m looking at a combination of education and experience and I see that an applicant has a CPM, it means something to me. Coupled with the right experience, I have considered it in lieu of a bachelor’s or master’s degree.”

Curran leading capitol improvement planning

City of Garden City department head Sam Curran leads a citizen-based planning process.

Want to be a part of the 2016 CPM program? Find out more here: CPM 2016. The registration deadline is Friday, December 18.

Reflections from Kansas Certified Public Manager Graduate: Jeff Mooradian


Lt. Mooradian delivers CPM graduation speech

Comments Delivered by Lieutenant Jeff Mooradian, Patrol Bureau Commander/SORT Team Leader, Dodge City Police Department
On November 20, 2015

Good morning family, friends, instructors, and CPM class of 2015. My name is Lieutenant Jeff Mooradian, Patrol Commander for the Dodge City Police Department, and it is my honor to represent the Southwest Kansas CPM class.

CPM class has taught us many things. Over the course of a year we have learned about public service, budget and collaboration, creativity and innovation in the workplace, diversity and building relationships, along with many other interesting topics, but most of all it has taught us about leadership and has helped develop each and every one of us into better leaders, not only in our workplace but also in our communities.

So, I thought to myself, what does a leader mean to me?
For me, a leader is a person of integrity and trust, one who leads by example and is not afraid to get their hands dirty. One of my favorite quotes describes a true leader as “a person you would follow into a place you would never go into alone.” This class has helped us become individuals others would trust to follow.

The CPM class has also given me the opportunity to meet some great people, and I will miss my fellow classmates. We’ve shared many laughs and stories over many great lunch dates.

Overall, CPM has been a great experience. Thank you to my fellow classmates, and a special thank you to Terri and all of our instructors.

In closing, I’d like to say that CPM has shown us the difference between being a “boss” in the workplace and being a “leader” and has taught us the importance of that difference, which is summed up in this quote from H. Gordon Selfridge:

“A boss drives employees
But a leader coaches them.

A boss depends on authority
A leader depends on good will

A boss inspires fear
A leader generates enthusiasm

A boss says, ‘I’ and ‘Me’
A leader says, ‘Us’ and ‘We’

A boss tells you to ‘Go’
But a true leader says, ‘Follow me'”

Today, we are all proud to graduate CPM as leaders.


Want to be a part of the 2016 CPM program? Find out more here: CPM 2016. The registration deadline is Friday, December 18, with an early bird registration deadline of Tuesday, December 1.

Reflections from Kansas Certified Public Manager Graduate: Kelli Bailiff


Lt. Bailiff delivers CPM graduation speech

Comments Delivered by Kelli Bailiff, Lieutenant, Wyandotte County Sheriff’s Office
On November 20, 2015

Kelli graduated in May, 2014 from our Law Enforcement Leadership Academy (LELA) Command School. After LELA, she completed extra assignments to earn the Certified Public Manager (CPM) certification. Starting in January, 2016 students of the LELA Command School will simultaneously complete work on their CPM certification.

When we entered the LELA program, we were all excited and prepared to learn more about how we could offer more to our organizations and what we needed to learn to become better leaders and better mentors. But through the LELA and the CPM classes, I realized that the first thing I needed to do was to search within myself and to find out truly who I was, what I wanted, and what I needed to become. It made me take a step backwards and to search within my own being – my heart and soul. I realized in order for me to become a better leader and a mentor, I needed to become a better me.

A wonderful mentor made a comment I cherish, “You will do what you are – so know who and what you are and be comfortable with it.” Thank you, Sheriff Ash.

A leader is far more than a label. Leadership is about taking actions to create sustained and positive transformations within an organization. But we must first align our values and our vision, not only with ourselves but within our ranks and teams. We must prepare and build a productive environment not only for today but for the future. Beth Revis said, “A leader isn’t someone who forces others to make him stronger; a leader is someone willing to give his strength to others so that they may have the strength to stand on their own.”

During this training, I also learned the true meaning of patience – personally and professionally. Sometimes that means not voicing my opinion until the proper time, if ever at all. We all know that dealing with people requires this patience, but show me a leader with patience and I’ll show you someone whom people will trust.

After I took a hard look at myself and made a list of items I needed to improve, I asked myself what is one word I am taking away from the LELA and CPM programs and what does it mean to me now. I choose the word “Empower.”

The best leaders are masters of making things happen. They create far more energy than they consume and, instead of taking energy from an organization, we must channel and amplify it back to our organization. My goal in becoming a successful leader is to create a compelling vision for our employees to strive for, to communicate our values and mission, and to do my best to get our people excited.

The people you lead may not be the first to follow what you say, but they will be the first to follow what you do. As Ronald Reagan said, “Surround yourself with great people; delegate authority; then get out of the way.”

Thank you for allowing me to express what we have learned during this great adventure.

Want to be a part of the 2016 LELA Command School or the 2016 CPM program? Find out more here:

The registration deadline is Friday, December 18, with an early bird registration deadline of Tuesday, December 1.

CPM Student Profile: Katie Southworth

We’d like to introduce you to one of the CPM 2014 students: Katie Southworth

Bio: Katie Southworth, Zoo Supervisor for the Ralph Mitchell Zoo in Independence, Kansas, graduated from Friends University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Zoo Science in 2008. That same year she got married in September, moved to Independence, and in December was hired on with the park and zoo. In 2012, Katie was promoted to supervisor. Along with her full time job, she also teaches clarinet lessons at Independence Community College, plays with their band, and plays in the summer community band. She also spends a lot of time involved with activities with he church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

About the CPM Program, in Katie’s words: I was blessed to have a wonderful boss who saw the potential I had to be a great supervisor, and she recommended me for the class. I knew it would only make me better, and I was excited to work on my leadership skills. Going into the class, I was hoping to learn more techniques for teaching and coaching employees through conflicts and how to better deal with discipline issues.

One of my favorite quotes from class came from the book, “Orbiting the Giant Hairball.” It says, “Courage, courage to cross boundaries. And, if we are to grow, explore we must.” The CPM program has helped me to push past my boundaries to become more confident in my professional career, and it has also helped me grow personally.

I would recommend this class to others, since the skills learned will make any supervisor’s job easier; but more importantly, the people you meet and become friends with will the the greatest influences on how you are as a person.

Capstone Project Title: Education Program for the Ralph Mitchell Zoo

Capstone Project Synopsis:
What benefits do you hope to achieve by engaging in this project? Or is your primary purpose personal enrichment or professional skill? The main goal in creating an education program for the Ralph Mitchell Zoo is to provide opportunities to the public to learn more about the animals they love to watch. Our hope for the future education program is that it will bring more people from the surrounding communities to the zoo. We want to add a few programs with the desire that they will be ongoing and self-sustaining with the potential of added revenue for the zoo.

The other side of the education program is to create more educational opportunities for the park and zoo employees. Industry standards and best practices are continually evolving in the field of zoo-keeping and caring for animals. It is imperative that we provide keepers with opportunities to continue their education to maintain the best care possible to the animals in our charge.

Reflections from Kansas Certified Public Manager Graduate: Brent Narges

Comments Delivered by Brent Narges, Deputy Chief of Police, City of Pittsburg Police Department
On November 21, 2014

GOOD MORNING! My name is Brent Narges, and I work with the Pittsburg Police Department. I am very grateful for this opportunity to briefly speak with you this morning.

I first want to thank Terri and all of her CPM staff for their dedicated work throughout this past year, and I also want to issue a thank you to KU for offering this nationally recognized program to public sector professionals of Kansas.

This CPM program has given us the opportunity to grow professionally, and maybe more importantly, we have grown personally during our time spent with our fellow students and instructors. (And let’s not forget our many hours and long tedious nights spent with Blackboard.) Our time spent together in class has certainly given us networking opportunities, and notably, we have developed new and stronger friendships with our classmates and our CPM instructors.

Our small but energetic class of 12 is certainly very proud to be the first CPM class of southeast Kansas. We look forward to encouraging our co-workers to participate in this comprehensive program in the years to come. Throughout our classes and discussions about the many challenges we face daily within our organizations, such as dealing with personnel issues or budgeting shortfalls, we took time to analyze. We came to recognize that regardless of what organization we were from, the challenges we face were very similar in nature. We have been presented with many alternatives, or should I say, more effective methods, for fixing a problem. Doing the “right thing” is not always easy, but it should always be our primary objective.

Again, I want to thank you for this opportunity, not only to speak with you this morning, but more importantly, our class wants to thank all of those individuals that enabled us to attend the CPM program this past year. Thank you!

CPM Student Profile: Brandy Hodge

We’d like to introduce you to one of the CPM 2014 students: Brandy Hodge

Bio: For the past ten years, Brandy Hodge has been employed by Johnson County Kansas government. Currently Brandy is the Volunteer Services Coordinator and Catch-a-Ride Program Manager for the department of Human Services, an agency of Johnson County Government that provides programs and services to residents who are vulnerable because of restricted incomes, issues related to aging, or a disability. Brandy has a Bachelor of Science in Crime and Society with a minor in Sociology from Southwest Missouri State University. As well, Brandy has a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) from Mid America Nazarene University.

In November of 2014, Brandy completed the Kansas Certified Public Manager® program from Kansas University. Brandy has five years of experience in supervising employees and volunteers. She has a strong passion for people and service working with diverse populations. Brandy serves as the Executive Chair of the Young NonProfit Professionals Network of Kansas City (YNPNkc), which is a volunteer board that consists of young professionals working in the non-profit sector. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, volunteering, and quality time with her fur babies (pets).

About the CPM Program, in Brandy’s words: I signed up for the Certified Public Manager Program to further advance my education, skills, and networking capacity in the public sector. I was recommended to attend the program by a previous supervisor who saw great value in the program and knew that the program would be beneficial in my career growth. My intent in completing the program included learning additional tools to be a better manager and leader.

Through CPM I took an honest, raw look at my weaknesses or areas to improve upon. Although it was unexpected, I now have a new focus moving forward in my professional growth to strengthen those skills. For me, I am very strong on the people side (building relationships, communication) but could strengthen my financial skills. I will be looking at additional classes to make myself a better-rounded manager.

I would highly recommend this program to EVERY manager who wants to continue to grow in their career. The CPM program is priceless. I have completed my MBA this year as well, which was an amazing accomplishment, but the CPM program brought together full circle the educational component with the real life examples of how the principles and concepts apply in the workplace. The people I have met, the stories we have shared, and the lessons we have learned are well worth any monetary value, since you cannot put a price on your professional growth. I am so blessed to be a part of the CPM family.

Capstone Project Title: Cultivating Volunteer Engagement

Capstone Project Synopsis:
Problem Statement: Johnson County Human Services seeks to cultivate volunteer engagement by increasing efficiency in the office, enhancing communication with volunteers, and serving more clients by growing the existing volunteer program.
Desired Outcome Statement: Johnson County Human Services will survey volunteers, research new volunteer software databases, and speak with other volunteer organizations to examine different options in meeting the desired goal.