By John McGreevy, TJJD Communications

Emily Anderson
Emily Anderson
Rachel Gandy
Rachel Gandy

TJJD is proud to announce that two of our own have been selected to participate in the Governor’s Executive Development Program (GEDP) at the University of Texas LBJ School of Public Affairs.

Deputy Executive Director for Finance and Operations Emily Anderson and Chief of Staff Rachel Gandy will attend this program – a three-week intensive educational training for top executives in Texas state agencies and universities. The GEDP is designed for those in executive-level positions and responsibility for charting the strategic direction of their organizations. It brings in experts to help the participants learn more about leadership styles and how to better serve the public.

TJJD Executive Director Shandra Carter nominated Anderson and Gandy for the GEDP. The Governor sends requests every year to each state agency and university chief executive officer for nominations to the GEDP program. After receiving nominations, the Office of the Governor reviews the candidates and makes their selections.

It can be a lot of information and to pack into such a short period of time. Because of this, and because three weeks can be a long time to keep most people away from their families or jobs, the program is broken into three one-week sessions, with breaks of three or more weeks in between.

Anderson brings considerable experience in state government to this opportunity. A graduate of Texas Tech University, she joined the agency in 2014 as the director of fiscal affairs. In August 2018 she became the chief financial officer, and in January 2020 she assumed the additional title of chief operating officer, before being named a deputy executive director. Prior to joining TJJD, she spent 11 years at the Texas Department of Transportation, where she worked as a lead budget analyst and a manager of business operations.

Gandy holds a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University and has received graduate degrees from both the LBJ School of Public Affairs and the UT Steve Hicks School of Social Work.

Her career achievements include winning a state fellowship funded by the Hogg Foundation. In this role, she advocated for reforms to federal, state, and local policies concerning disability and mental health services. She was also responsible for developing, supervising, and executing a targeted legislative campaign to improve the identification of and service delivery to students with disabilities. 

That campaign led to important legislative changes, and she received the 2017 Justin Dart Memorial Award for Outstanding Service from the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities.

Gandy also served as vice chair of the Mayor’s Committee for People with Disabilities and co-facilitator of the City of Austin Youth Justice Task Force.

Anderson and Gandy join the ranks of other TJJD staff who have previously participated in the GEDP. Deputy Executive Director Sean Grove, Chief Information Officer Nate Jackson, and Senior Director of Secure Facilities Treatment Services Alan Michel have all completed the program and speak highly of their experiences.

“The Governor’s Executive Development Program is a great experience to further develop our state agency leaders,” said Grove. “I particularly enjoyed the fellowship with peers across different state agencies, and the opportunity to increase my skill set to better support our staff while working towards the highest level of customer service for the people of Texas.”

The Governor’s Executive Development Program was a positive experience, agreed Michel. “The program’s goal is to develop skills and competencies for selected state agencies leaders, which can implement change. The program increased my understanding of basic leadership styles, understanding concepts to lead change and interpersonal effectiveness.”

“During the program, you meet and share ideas with other future leaders,” Michel said. “The program guided me to develop a process, which successfully implements the change model.”

TJJD is proud to have Anderson and Gandy representing the agency in the GEDP and look forward to their contributions in helping to shape the future of juvenile justice service in Texas.