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Mayor Vincent C. Gray Appoints Leaders to Human Resources, Disability Services, Addiction Prevention Posts


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Mayor Vincent C. Gray today announced his appointment of three seasoned public servants to positions in human resources, serving people with disabilities and addiction prevention and recovery.

Shawn Stokes has been tapped to lead the Department of Human Resources, Laura Nuss will continue as head of the Department on Disability Services and Kimberly Jeffries Leonard will direct the Department of Health’s Addiction Prevention and Recovery Administration.

“Each of these three women possesses a deep knowledge of her respective field of endeavor and has experience in both the public and private sectors,” said Mayor Gray. “I expect each of them to serve the residents of the District of Columbia with great competence and wisdom.”

Shawn Stokes has served as the Chief Human Capital Officer for the Baltimore City Public Schools since 2009. She previously worked in human-resources, acting chief of staff and other administrative positions with the School District of Philadelphia. She also has experience in human resources with CIGNA Insurance Co. and has worked in other positions in the insurance and financial-services industries. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business from Delaware State University and a master’s degree in engineering from Connecticut State University. She will be moving from Baltimore to live in the District.

Laura Nuss has served as Acting Director of the Department on Disability Services (DDS) since last June. Previously she served as the agency’s Deputy Director for the Developmental Disabilities Administration, where she steadfastly focused her efforts on making positive and continuous improvements in the services and supports delivery system. Before joining the D.C. government, she had an extensive career working for private-sector organizations and state agencies in North Carolina and Connecticut that served people with intellectual disabilities. Her personal interest in serving people with disabilities began in her childhood with her mother receiving vocational rehabilitation services and growing up with an aunt with a developmental disability, serving as her aunt’s personal representative and healthcare decision maker. Ms. Nuss received both a bachelor’s degree in administration of justice and a master’s degree in community systems planning and development from the Pennsylvania State University. She lives in Ward 4.

Kimberly Jeffries Leonard currently serves the Chief Operating Officer at the Department of Health, where she has been managing operations and complex programs for the last year and two months. Dr. Leonard brought to this position over 20 years of applied social and behavioral research, evaluation, and technical assistance experience specializing in health promotion and disease prevention. She has over 16 years in substance abuse prevention and treatment experience, working at with organizations at the federal, state, and local level. She has served on numerous advisory committees and delivered invited lectures, presentations, and keynote addresses in areas that relate to broad areas of health promotion in underserved populations. Prior to joining District government, Dr. Leonard was a Senior Technical Vice President for Research and Evaluation at The MayaTech Corporation in Silver Spring. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Fayetteville State University in North Carolina, a master’s in psychology from North Carolina Central University and her Ph.D. in personality psychology from Howard University. A longtime resident of Ward 5, she recently moved to Ward 4.