Jayhawk Global Kansas Fire & Rescue Training Institute Appoints Interim Director

Michelle Mohr Carney, founding vice provost for Jayhawk Global, has appointed Jennifer Johnson to serve as interim director of Kansas Fire & Rescue Training Institute (KFRTI). Johnson has held leadership roles with KFRTI since January 2020. Johnson succeeds KFRTI director Kelly McCoy, who announced his departure in April after serving as director for almost three years. McCoy has accepted another position as the assistant director of certified public manager programs within the Public Management Center, KU School of Public Affairs & Administration.

“After 31 years serving the fire service, I am moving away from the specific domain of fire and emergency services training and more broadly into teaching, educating and credentialing public sector leaders and managers from several domains at the federal, state and local levels in Kansas and Missouri,” McCoy said. “Jennifer and I have worked closely together at the strategic level of organizational leadership over the past two years, advancing public safety training infrastructure in the state of Kansas. Jennifer is an experienced and creative leader, able to meaningfully collaborate with others and lead change. I am confident Jennifer will be highly successful.”     

Johnson started with KFRTI in January 2020. For her first two years of service, Johnson was the certification program manager responsible for KFRTI’s certification program and its unit International Fire Service Accreditation Congress and ProBoard Accreditation. In January 2022, Johnson obtained the assistant director position with KFRTI where she managed accreditation and credentialing, course registrations and reconciliations, grant management and all other fiscal activities for KFRTI.

Johnson was a member of the Kansas City Kansas Fire Department for 22 years, retiring Aug. 1, 2019, as the chief of policy development and implementation and the Commission on Fire Accreditation International accreditation manager. Additionally, Johnson served seven years as an adjunct professor in the Fire Science Department at the Kansas City Kansas Community College and currently teaches as a part-time faculty member of the College of Safety and Emergency Services for Columbia Southern University. Johnson holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from KU, a master’s degree in public affairs from Park University and a certified public manager certificate from KU.

“I have spent my entire career in the Kansas Fire Service, first as a career firefighter in Kansas City, then as an adjunct in the community college fire science program, and now with KFRTI,” Johnson said. “To get an opportunity to serve my fire service family at this level is a great honor. Our amazing team at KFRTI has accomplished so much in the last three years, and I am so very proud of the work we’ve done under the leadership of Director McCoy. Kelly and I have worked closely together over the last year and a half to set our team up to be successful. I am excited to continue working with them and to provide excellent training for our state firefighters.”

“KFRTI is an important unit within Jayhawk Global, and I am pleased that it has benefited from two seasoned leaders who have shown great dedication to the emergency services community through their longevity in the field and support of the KFRTI mission to provide accessible, comprehensive training and credentialing for fire and emergency response personnel in Kansas,” Carney said. “Kelly’s contributions throughout his tenure have led to the creation of a strong team and have set KFRTI up for a successful future. I am extremely confident in Jenn’s abilities and strengths as an innovative leader, and I am honored that she has agreed to guide KFRTI during this interim period.”

KFRTI was instituted by state of Kansas legislative law (K.S.A. 76-327) in 1949 as the state fire training entity to train firefighters for Kansas communities. In 2002, the Fire Service Training Commission was established within KU by state of Kansas legislative law (K.S.A. 76-327a) and consists of 12 members appointed by the governor and provides overside for KFRTI. The KFRTI director must be approved by the commission.