Kela E. Thomas an Orangeburg native, was appointed by South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and confirmed by the South Carolina State Senate as Director of the South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services on February 24, 2011. Mrs. Thomas, the first African American female to head the third largest law enforcement agency in the state, has been employed with the Department since 1999, where she served as Deputy Director for Administration. She was the principal advisor to the Director on the agency administration and operations to include legislative policy, fiscal and materials management, budgeting, training, and information technology systems.
Prior to assuming her duties as Deputy Director, Mrs. Thomas served as a Director of Development at the University of South Carolina. She has an established a career in credit administration, banking, and regulatory merger compliance.
Mrs. Thomas holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of South Carolina. She is a graduate of the South Carolina Executive Institute. In 2012 she graduated from the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy Class 579.
Mrs. Thomas has served the Midlands Community in many capacities. She currently serves on the President’s Community Advisory Board at the University of South Carolina and a life member of the University of South Carolina Alumni Association. Mrs. Thomas is a member of the Junior League of Columbia, a member of the Richland School District Two Superintendent Business Advisory Council and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
Her professional affiliations include membership in the South Carolina Law Enforcement Association, South Carolina Probation and Parole Association and the South Carolina State Employees Association.
Some of her awards and recognitions include graduate of Leadership Columbia, YWCA of the Midlands Tribute to Women Nominee, the United Way Project Blue Print graduate and Center for the Advancement of Leadership Skills Georgia State University Class of 2012.
Most importantly, Mrs. Thomas is a member of Francis Burns United Methodist Church in Columbia, South Carolina. She is active in Sunday School and a member of the Children’s Ministry Leadership Team. Mrs. Thomas is married and has two children.