Two more communities will reap the rewards of better-trained leaders

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We’re pleased to announce the recipients of a new scholarship that will cover up to $1,000 each for municipal managers and elected officials to get training to help their communities.

The recipients of the John Barr Leadership Education Scholarship are:

  • Brian Jackson, newly elected to represent Lansing City Council’s 4th Ward
  • Caroline Kennedy, assistant village manager for the Village of Elk Rapids

“I’m very excited, honored and privileged to receive the scholarship,” said Jackson, a former Lansing assistant city attorney who now runs his own law firm. “It gives me the opportunity to learn the newest policies and ways to better help and assist our community.”

Brian Jackson

After running for his first elected office because he wanted to represent the community where he grew up, Jackson said he plans to attend the League’s Newly Elected Officials Academy Core Weekender program, where he’ll learn about financial management, leadership skills, legal issues, and planning and zoning. Jackson holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in criminology, both from Indiana State University. He also graduated from Howard University’s School of Law.

Kennedy will attend the Michigan Municipal Executives Winter Institute in January, where she’ll get the information and skills she needs to better lead her community, including planning for staffing, budgeting and infrastructure. It’s training she says she couldn’t have accessed otherwise because of budget limitations in her community.

“I am also seeking ideas for economic development strategies, nontraditional partnerships for workforce housing, and potential placemaking projects,” Kennedy said. “This training will keep me up to speed with changes in the profession and the local government realm.”

The John Barr Leadership Education Scholarship was established in March 2017 with a generous $10,000 investment from MML Foundation board member and Ypsilanti City Attorney John Barr. The scholarship was created from his vision to provide local elected and appointed officials with the knowledge and skills they need to lead and govern their communities. Matching donations from MML members, Foundation board members and DTE Energy matched an additional $10,000.

Five yearly, one-time scholarships of up to $1,000 for nonpartisan training of local elected or appointed officials will be awarded. The training must have a leadership component and practical application to the individual’s role as a public official in municipal government.

Applications for the next round of scholarships will be accepted through May 31, 2018. For more information, including an application form, visit and click on the John Barr Leadership Education Scholarship.