Emerging Leader Academy sessions are taught by Public Management Center instructors and by current public sector leaders who share their insights about the challenges they face and the skills necessary to succeed. Additionally, classes are structured to encourage participants to develop a strong network with one another so that they’ll have colleagues to turn to as sounding boards and for guidance in the coming years.

Program Manager / Instructor


Noel Rasor

Noel has been Assistant Director of the KU Public Management Center since April 2009 and serves as program manager for the Emerging Leaders Academy. She has worked in a variety of capacities at KU, including providing advising for some master’s programs in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and serving as a writing consultant at the KU Writing Center. Before coming to Kansas in 1998, Noel worked for the American Red Cross. She holds a BA from the University of Michigan, a master’s of urban planning from KU and is currently completing a doctorate in American Studies. While she didn’t grow up in Kansas, many of Noel’s family members are lifelong Kansans and she has enjoyed settling in among them. As the mom of a toddler, Noel spends a lot of time trying to keep up with her son and has fun attending bluegrass shows in Lawrence while she awaits the Winfield Music Festival each year.

For ELA, Noel teaches sessions on communication skills, organizational culture and change, generations in the workplace, networking skills, and putting StrengthsFinder results to work. Additionally, Noel facilitates participants’ development of their portfolios and the mentor-shadowing activity.



Terri Callahan

Terri directs the Kansas Certified Public Manager Program at the KU Public Management Center. She provides training in a variety of managerial topics for all management levels in the public sector. Terri is a qualified instructor for the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, is certified to administer the Emotional Intelligence Quotient (EQi), and is a certified instructor for the Relationship Awareness Theory and the Strength Deployment Inventory. Previously Terri was a staff development specialist in the Department of Administration's Division of Personnel Services for seven years. She holds a bachelor's degree in total quality management from Friends University and is an affiliate member of the American Academy of Certified Public Managers.

With the Emerging Leaders Academy, Terri facilitates a session examining the power of attitude in the workplace.


John Nalbandian

Dr. John Nalbandian

John is professor emeritus in the KU School of Public Affairs and Administration» and is instrumental in preparing the School's MPA intern-option students for careers in local government. He served on the Lawrence City Council from 1991-1999, serving two terms as mayor during this time. He publishes regularly on issues related to city management and personnel management. He is also widely recognized for his books,Professionalism in Local Government: Transformations in the Roles, Responsibilities and Values of City Managers andPublic Personnel Management: Conflict and Compromisewritten with Donald Klinger and Jared Llorens and now in its sixth edition.



Hannes Zacharias

Hannes Zacharias

Hannes has served as Johnson County Manager since September 2009. After serving as the city manager in Hays, KS, he joined the county’s management team in 2001 as assistant county manager and was promoted to deputy county manager in January 2005. As county manager, he serves as the chief administrative officer and oversees the operations of Johnson County Government, coordinating the delivery of services provided by more than 3,800 employees. A native of Dodge City, Kansas, Hannes received a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Kansas and a Bachelor’s Degree in General Studies from Wichita State University.

For ELA, Hannes teaches a session on Innovation in Government Systems.

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