University of Kansas Appoints Jennifer Johnson as Director of Kansas Fire & Rescue Training Institute

The University of Kansas Jayhawk Global is thrilled to announce the appointment of Jennifer Johnson as the director of Kansas Fire & Rescue Training Institute (KFRTI). This significant decision follows an extensive nationwide search, and we are confident that Jennifer is the right leader to guide KFRTI into its next chapter. This appointment has been confirmed by the Fire Service Training Commission (FSTC) per KSA 76-327d, the FSTC shall “approve selection of the director of the fire service training…”   

Jennifer Johnson’s journey with KFRTI began in Jan. 2020 when she assumed the role as assistant director and certification program manager. In this capacity, she demonstrated exceptional leadership, dedication, and expertise. Jennifer also represents Kansas as a member of the North American Fire Training Directors. Her commitment to the fire service is also reflected in her impressive 22-year career with the Kansas City Fire Department, spending seven years as a company officer and three years as a chief officer. She retired in 2019 as the chief of policy development and CFAI accreditation manager.  

Jennifer holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Kansas and a master’s degree in public affairs/disaster and emergency management from Park University. She has also contributed to academia as an adjunct instructor with Kansas City Kansas Community College and Columbia Southern University. Jennifer’s extensive background and accomplishments make her the ideal choice to lead KFRTI.  

“I am excited for the next chapter of KFRTI under Jennifer’s dynamic leadership,” stated Michelle Mohr Carney, founding vice provost for Jayhawk Global. “Her commitment, experience and innovative approach are exactly what KFRTI needs to flourish. Please join me in extending our warmest congratulations to Jennifer on this well-deserved and exciting appointment.”  

Jennifer Johnson’s appointment follows her tenure as interim director of KFRTI, a position she assumed after the departure of Kelly McCoy, who served as director for almost three years.  

In his farewell statement, Kelly McCoy expressed his confidence in Jennifer’s abilities, saying, “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.”  

Jennifer Johnson’s outstanding contributions to KFRTI include her work as the certification program manager, where she managed KFRTI’s certification program and its unit International Fire Service Accreditation Congress and ProBoard Accreditation. Her role as assistant director involved overseeing accreditation and credentialing, course registrations and reconciliations, grant management, and all other fiscal activities for KFRTI.  

“I have dedicated my entire career to serving the Kansas Fire Services, and the opportunity to lead our fire service family at this level is a tremendous honor,” Jennifer Johnson emphasized. “Our remarkable team at KFRTI has achieved significant milestones in recent years, and I am immensely proud of our collective accomplishments. I look forward to our continued collaboration and the privilege of delivering outstanding training to our state firefighter.”