County names new health department head

By Maura Wery

Riley County commissioners have hired Brenda Nickle as the new county health department administrator.

Nickle will take over the position vacated by former Riley County Health Department Administrator Susie Kufahl, who left April 2. Nickle’s start date has yet to be determined and will be based on her pre-employment screening.

Nickle comes from Olpe and currently works for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment as a director and accreditation coordinator, according to a press release from the county. Nickle comes with an extensive background in nursing and public health. She received a nursing degree from the Newman School of Nursing at Emporia State University and a master’s degree from the University of Kansas nursing school. She served KDHE as a public health nurse consultant and has held several nursing positions in the course of her career.

“We are excited to have Brenda lead the Riley County Health Department,” Commissioner Dave Lewis said. “She brings a strong background in public health and a vibrant personality that will be a good fit for Riley County.”

Lewis said that the process began with about 30 applicants, and a selection committee cut it down to six. Nickle had a second interview Friday, and the committee decided she was the right person for the job.

“The committee felt so strongly about her that they didn’t really need to interview the other candidates,” Lewis said.

Because of the demands on Kufahl’s position, the commission had expressed a desire to fill it as quickly as possible. Riley County Human Resource Manager Cindy Volanti said that the process took a normal amount of time.

“It was a pretty normal process,” Volanti said. “After the review process and bringing them in, it was on target.”

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