University of Minnesota
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The Humphrey School of Public Affairs is the University of
Minnesota's school of policy and planning.

State and Local Policy Program

Center Faculty + Staff Members

Jay Kiedrowski

Jay Kiedrowski, Senior Fellow, PNLC Faculty Director

Kiedrowski brings more than 30 years of experience from the public, nonprofit, and private sectors. His work focuses on public finance, organizational development, performance management, and leadership.He teaches courses in public finance and organizational development. Recently, he has focused on public sector innovation and chairs the state and local government innovation awards.

John Bryson

John Bryson, McKnight Presidential Professor of Planning and Public Affairs

Bryson studies leadership, strategic management, and the design of organizational and community change processes. He has published a dozen books and more than 90 scholarly articles and book chapters. He has received a number of scholarly awards for his work and is a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration.

Barbara Crosby

Barbara Crosby, Associate Professor

Crosby teaches seminars and workshops on leadership and public policy, leadership assessment, women in leadership, and organizational leadership. She is the author of Leadership for Global Citizenship and co-author (with John Bryson) of Leadership for the Common Good.

photo of Kevin Gerdes

Kevin Gerdes, MPA Director

Gerdes served as Commander at Company, Battalion, and Brigade levels with the MN National Guard, and helped establish Minnesota's "Beyond the Yellow Ribbon" program to support soldiers returning from active duty. He is finishing his PhD in Leadership Studies at the Univ. of St. Thomas. Kevin teaches courses in the MPA degree program, is the MPA director, and is developing a new certificate program for mid-career leadership professionals.

Carrie Oelberger, Assistant Professor
Oelberger joins the Humphrey School and the PNLC as an assistant professor. Carrie received her PhD in Organizational Studies from Stanford in 2014. Her doctoral dissertation focuses on role negotiation, career paths, and microfoundations of institutional norms in the public sector. As a highly accomplished doctoral student, Carrie received the Stanford Graduate Fellowship in Science and engineering (SGF) and the Stanford University Center for Philanthropy and Civil Society Fellowship.

photo of Quick

Kathryn Quick, Assistant Professor

Quick’s research focuses on how managers in public and nonprofit organizations create opportunities for communities to address public issues together. She does ethnographic research in communities where such managers have been particularly successful in building platforms for ongoing civic engagement and leadership. Kathy teaches the core course Management of Organizations and the electives Integrative Leadership and Civic Engagement.

Jodi Sandfort

Jodi Sandfort, Chair, Leadership and Management Area, and Associate Professor

Sandfort’s work focuses on improving the implementation of social policies, particularly those supporting low-income children and families. As a result, she studies the networks of public, private, and philanthropic organizations that develop and deliver social programs. Her current research and practice include examinations of nonprofit organizational finances, strategic philanthropic investment, leadership development, and organizational effectiveness within human service organizations.

Melissa Stone

Melissa Middleton Stone, Gross Family Professor of Nonprofit Management

Stone’s teaching and research focus on governance of nonprofit organizations and cross-sector partnerships as policy implementation tools. Stone coauthored (with Francie Ostrower) "Governance: Research Trends, Gaps, and Future Prospects” in the 2nd edition of The Nonprofit Sector: A Research Handbook (Yale University Press, 2006). Stone sits on the editorial board of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly and the advisory board of Nonprofit Management and Leadership. In 2008, she received a University Award for Outstanding Contributions to Postbaccalaureate, Graduate, and Professional Education.

Jerry Zhao

Zhirong (Jerry) Zhao, Associate Professor

Zhao’s research focuses on public budgeting and finance, in particular how local governments and nonprofit agencies manage to generate sufficient revenue under constraints, how the financial structure of these organizations affects their management and performance, and how they interact—vertically or horizontally—in budgetary and service decision making.

Center Staff

Photo of Shannon Evans Shannon Evans, Program Associate
Shannon Evans came on board after graduating from the University of Minnesota’s Urban Studies program. She brings an interdisciplinary perspective, nonprofit experience and public service passion to her work as program associate. In this role, Shannon splits her time between the Hubert Project( and the MFIP Results Initiative. The Hubert Project provides Public Affairs educators and practitioners the opportunity to create and share multimedia learning materials. The Results Initiative is a collaborative effort between the center and the Minnesota Department of Human Services to create a more results-driven MFIP (Minnesota Family Investment Program).

Michael Krizic, Programs Associate
Micael leads the state and local government innovation programs for the PNLC. He also provides program support for other PNLC efforts. Michael is a recent graduate of the Humphrey School (MPP, 2014), having concentrated in leadership and management and worked as a teaching assistant at the school. He has a bachelor's degree in Political Science with an emphasis in Public policy. Michael currently serves as vice-president of the West Bank School of Music.
Photo of Guillermo Narvaez

Guillermo Narvaez, Research Associate
Narvaez is currently researching local roads system sustainability in Minnesota on a MNDOT/LRRB funded project. In addition he continues to work on examining the impacts of sustainability and quality certifications in the specialty coffee industry and other tropical agricultural products. Dr. Narvaez has a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of California, Irvine, and has previously worked as an electronic and computer engineer.

Sook Jin Ong
Sook Jin Ong, Program Manager
Sook Jin Ong (MPP 2012) is the manager of the MFIP Results Initiative, a new partnership between the Center and the Minnesota Department of Human Services. This effort seeks to improve the way the state, the counties, and non-profit organizations work together in the MFIP system by moving from being process-focused to a system that is results-driven. Ong comes from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with prior experience in the corporate sector. She earned her bachelor’s degree in management and economics from the University of Sydney, Australia. Her current research interests and practice are in the application of human-centered design principles to public sector innovation, policy implementation practices, and leadership.