Commissioner of Administration
Kristy Nichols currently serves as the Governor’s Deputy Chief of Staff. Before that, Nichols led the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) through a reorganization to create a more efficient, effective agency that serves the holistic needs of clients, expedites service delivery, improves efficiencies to enhance client contact and better aligns the agency’s core mission to the public and the clients the agency serves.
During her first 18 months at DCFS, Nichols led the agency to develop a new disaster-sheltering plan, launched the nation’s only online pre-application process for disaster food stamps, revamped child and adult residential licensing, announced a plan to reform child care, oversaw a workforce development pilot program targeted at multiple populations, from adults on food stamps to the disabled and young adults exiting foster care. Additionally, Nichols is working with partner agencies to develop a new state system of care for children with behavioral health needs.
Nichols previously served as a policy advisor on health and social services initiatives to Governor Jindal. As a policy advisor, she worked on the successful passage of Governor Jindal's health care legislative package during the 2008 legislative session, including legislation on mental health care reform, health care transparency initiatives, increasing health care technology, and increasing access to private health insurance for uninsured children. Previously, Nichols served as a policy advisor for Governor-elect Jindal's transition team from November 2007 to January 2008.
From July 2002 to November 2007, Nichols served as the director of the Bureau of Primary Care and Rural Health at the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH). During that time, Nichols led community-based Hurricane Katrina recovery planning and coalition building, resulting in more than $21 million in federal funding for restoring access to primary health care services in disaster-recovery areas and $50 million in federal funding for health care workforce development in disaster-recovery areas. Based on her work with DHH, she was a recipient of the 2006 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Community Health Leadership Award. According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the award recognizes outstanding individuals who overcome daunting odds to improve health and health care, especially to underserved populations in communities across the United States.
Nichols has a bachelor's of administration in business from the University of Tennessee and a master's in communication from the University of Louisiana in Lafayette. She also served as an instructor in the communications department at the University of Louisiana in Lafayette.