Developing Future Leaders Supporting Southern State Governments

The Staff Academy for Government Excellence (SAGE) is a professional leadership development program for Southern state legislative, judicial, executive and agency staff. In addition to developing their personal and professional leadership skills, participants can build a network of peers from across the Southern region. By shaping staff leaders, SAGE ultimately aims to provide the public with more effective state governments.

The Council of State Governments Southern Office (CSG South) and the Southern Legislative Conference (SLC) have a long history of providing exemplary leadership training opportunities for state elected and appointed officials, primarily through The Center for the Advancement of Leadership Skills (CALS), inaugurated in 2007. Building upon the success of CALS and recognizing a need and desire for leadership development for state government staff, CSG South was proud to launch SAGE in Fall 2020.

2024 Program Dates

November 17 – 21, Atlanta, GA

DOWNLOAD THE 2024 SAGE BROCHURE APPLY FOR THE SAGE CLASS OF 2024

Program Liaison

Angel Touwsma
Director of Marketing & Programs

About SAGE

The nation’s only regionally focused leadership development program for state government staff, SAGE is rooted in CSG South’s proud legacy of providing exemplary leadership training to elected and appointed state officials. SAGE is designed to equip emerging and aspiring staff leaders with the tools necessary to excel in navigating the unique dynamics of career public service and building a deep bench of highly skilled future leaders among state government staff.

SAGE is a classroom experience, not a conference. Because of the nature of the program and the importance of interaction among classmates, participating government staff must commit to attend the program in its entirety.

How do I apply?

Applicants must complete the application form, provide two letters of recommendation, one from a current supervisor and one from a current or former colleague or supervisor, along with a resume, bio, and responses to three brief essay questions. Click the button above to apply for the SAGE Class of 2024. The deadline to apply is August 9, 2024.

Who’s eligible?

Applications are accepted from early and mid-career state legislative, judicial, executive, and agency staff in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia. Applicants must be continuously employed in state government for at least two years.

What’s the cost?

Full scholarships will be provided to those selected covering the cost of tuition, travel, lodging, and meals.

Where can I learn more?

For specific inquiries, please call (404) 633-4367 or email Angel Touwsma.

SAGE is a grassroots leadership program that will have continuous growth. It was exactly what I didn’t know I needed.
Kimberly Davis, Arkansas, Class of 2022
I loved SAGE! In addition to being one of the most productive and engaging staff development programs I’ve ever attended, SAGE allowed me to meet some amazing people. SAGE taught me leadership and communication tools that I can use to improve both myself and my agency.
Kevin Koon, Arkansas, Class of 2022
“From the very first day that I met with all the participants of the SAGE Program, I felt like I was at home. The environment was friendly and welcoming, and the programs were well put together. Each presenter gave me the motivation and techniques to improve and take what I learned back to my home state. I thoroughly enjoyed this opportunity and if I could do it again I most definitely would.”
Roark Brown, Tennessee, Class of 2021
“My SAGE experience has helped me become a better leader in state government and beyond. I met people across the 15 member states of CSG South and have connected with colleagues from other states repeatedly. SAGE also helped me learn to be a better coworker and leader by knowing my communication style and tailoring that style to better fit my audiences for more impact. Thank you, SAGE for the invaluable information!”
Jaclyn Schiffour, West Virginia, Class of 2021
“SAGE was a great way for me to network with other public service professionals from across the southeast. The program allows participants to collaborate in a focused environment while learning about the importance of cross-governmental relationships. Not only were the CSG staff fun and engaging, but the program speakers were dynamic and informative. I would recommend SAGE to any public service employee.”
Chris Green, Georgia, Class of 2021
  • Class of 2023



    Jimmy Entrekin
    General Counsel

    Alabama

    Luke Kiszla
    Chief of Staff

    Alabama

    Cassie Howell
    Legislative Attorney

    Arkansas

    Martha Jarrow
    Director of Member Services

    Arkansas

    Abby Day
    Senior Budget and Policy Analysis

    Georgia

    Denese Sampson
    Director of Constituent Services

    Georgia

    Daniel Carter
    Legislative Assistant

    Kentucky

    Sherrie Davis
    Veterans Benefits Field Representative

    Kentucky

    Ashari Robinson
    Budget Analysis

    Louisiana

    Jackie Bell
    Support Staff Supervisor

    Mississippi

    Daris Davis
    Chief of Staff

    Missouri

    Hawley Robertson
    Attorney/Policy Advisor

    Mississippi

    Glenn Fitzgerald
    Director

    MIssouri

    Annelyse Iglesias
    Special Assistant

    North Carolina

    Erin Wilson
    Director of Communications

    North Carolina

    Emily Byrne
    Policy Analyst

    Oklahoma

    Ashlee Lester
    Executive Assistant

    Oklahoma

    Tonya Garman
    Executive Coordinator

    Oklahoma

    Riley McCullough
    Research Analyst

    South Carolina

    Katie Phillips
    Senior Oversight Analyst

    South Carolina

    Brandon Black
    Legislative Assistant

    Tennessee

    Dyland Bradley
    Budget Analyst

    Tennessee

    Carly Nelson
    Legislative Assistant

    Tennessee

    Lauren Dart
    Strategic Communications Manager

    Virginia

    Jill Mooney
    Research Manager

    West Virginia

    Shannon Riley
    Director of Administration

    West Virginia
  • Class of 2022



    Amber Bullock
    Policy Lead

    Alabama

    Mary Davis
    Committee Clerk

    Alabama

    Peter Grogan
    Fiscal Analyst

    Alabama

    Dalton Coleman
    Legislative Analyst

    Arkansas

    Kimberly Davis
    Director of Public Engagement

    Arkansas

    Emily Morosov
    Legislative Analyst

    Arkansas

    Kevin Koon
    Legislative Attorney

    Arkansas

    Jennifer Rook
    Legislative Analyst

    Arkansas

    Tara Boockholdt
    Senior Budget & Policy Analyst

    Georgia

    Terri Collins
    Education Accountability Investigator

    Kentucky

    Hanley Loller
    Software Engineer

    Kentucky

    Michael Wynn
    Public Information Manager

    Kentucky

    Makesha Judson
    Director of Governmental Affairs

    Louisiana

    Chas Nichols
    Budget Analyst

    Louisiana

    Dwan Johnson
    Legislative Staff Attorney

    Mississippi

    Latoya Alexander
    Legislative Assistant

    Oklahoma

    Lynae Dowdell
    Legislative Assistant

    Oklahoma

    Kaley Mills
    Legislative Assistant

    Oklahoma

    Laura Bond
    Senior Legislative Specialist

    Tennessee

    Rhett Pratt
    Legislative Budget Analyst

    Tennessee

    Nelly Montellano-Nugent
    Legislative Aide

    Texas

    James Wade
    Chief of Staff

    Virginia

Class of 2021

Casey Bates

Legislative Attorney, Legislative Services Agency

Alabama

Jeff Elrod

Supervisor of Voter Registration, Alabama Seccretary of State

Alabama

Rebecca Miller-Rice

Senior Legislative Attorney, Bureau of Legislative Research

Arkansas

Allison Potratz

Legislative Analyst II, Bureau of Legislative Research

Arkansas

Jacques Brown II

Senior Hearing Examiner, State Board of Pardons and Paroles

Georgia

Chris Green

Director of Economic Development, University System of Georgia

Georgia

Joshua Collins

Legislative Analyst, Legislative Research Committee

Kentucky

Brandon White

Senior Legislative Analyst, Legislative Research Committee

Kentucky

Elise York

Manager, Legislative Research Commission

Kentucky

Matthew Holmes

Senior Analyst, Legislative PEER Committee

Mississippi

Caroline Coulter

Deputy General Counsel, Office of the Governor Michael L. Parson

Missouri

Jennifer Haigwood

Communications and Policy Director, Department of Labor

North Carolina

Missy Welch

Director of Programming, ABC Commission

North Carolina

Meagan Hansen

Legislative Assistant, House of Representatives

Oklahoma

Lewis Carter II

Auditor/Research Analyst, House of Representatives

South Carolina

Roark Brown

Legislative Budget Analysis Specialist, General Assembly

Tennessee

Chris Fears

Senior Management Consultant, State of Tennessee

Tennessee

Brian Casto

Counsel, House of Delegates

West Virginia

Jaclyn Schiffour

Chief Counsel, House of Delegates

West Virginia

Class of 2020

Amanda Brown

Legal Analyst, Senate Minority Caucus

Alabama

Jessica Sanders

Governmental Affairs Director and Legislative Counsel, Department of Education

Alabama

Ada Katherine van Wyhe

Director of Legislative and Constituent Affairs, Department of Mental Health

Alabama

Cody Farrill

Deputy Chief of Staff, Department of Management Services

Florida

Blake Doss

Policy Analyst, House Budget and Research Office

Georgia

Michael Leal

Agency Program Manager, Department of Revenue

Georgia

Scott Tremoulis

Staff Economist, Legislative Research Commission

Kentucky

Johnathan Harris

Software Engineer, Legislative Research Commission

Kentucky

Ryan Beard

Director of Classification and Compensation, State Personnel Board

Mississippi

Julie Morff

Director of Oversight, Joint Committee on Legislative Research

Missouri

Quyen Do

Policy Analyst, House Research Division

Oklahoma

Jordan Harvey

Legislative Assistant, House of Representatives

Oklahoma

Tanisha Woods

Chief of Operations, Office of Senator George E. Young Sr.

Oklahoma

Reagan Kelley

Director of Communications and Policy, Senate Majority Office

South Carolina

Luke Gustafson

Senior Policy Advisor, Office of Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson

Tennessee

Tracey Kibet

Budget Analysis Specialist, General Assembly

Tennessee

Sarah Melecki

Senior Advisor, Health and Human Services Commission

Texas

Nathan Hatfield

Assistant Clerk, Senate Clerk’s Office

Virginia