After 44 years of service in faith-based health and human service ministries, including nearly 16 years as the President and CEO at Prairie View, Jessie Kaye has announced her plans to retire.


"I have been richly blessed by the opportunity to serve Prairie View and its communities, and I deeply appreciate the support I have felt throughout my time here," Kaye said. "It has truly been my honor and privilege to be a part of this ministry. I feel tremendous gratitude for all who have touched my life during this time."


The Board of Directors has begun a national search for her successor. She will remain at Prairie View through November.


In her years as President and CEO, Kaye continued the organization’s growth and commitment to cutting-edge mental health treatment.


She said her most memorable experiences and contributions include: The creation of the organization’s first Statement of Values, a process she led in an effort to protect the heritage and faith identity of Prairie View; two separate implementations of new electronic health records; continuous accreditation by The Joint Commission; and Integration and community collaborations involving Prairie View, Harvey County Health Department and Health Ministries Clinic.


In her tenure the organization constructed an outpatient clinic in Wichita; purchased a location in Hillsboro for the Marion County community mental health center office; and bought and renovated the Pine Street Health Services building in Newton for local health and human service entities.


Under her leadership Prairie view established a Census Management Initiative contract to assist with state hospital capacity and continued participation in national and state level legislative advocacy activities to influence regulatory oversight, operations and funding of the mental health safety net for Kansas.


During Kaye’s tenure with Prairie View, the ministry was recognized as a Best in Business entity by the Wichita Business Journal.


"Jessie Kaye’s tenure as President and CEO of Prairie View has spanned years of remarkable change and challenge in the world of behavioral health care delivery," says John Waltner, chairperson of the Prairie View Board of Directors and Harvey County administrator. "Throughout, Jessie has never wavered. Her leadership, knowledge, calm demeanor, and commitment to the faith-based values embedded within Prairie View since its birth have been a wonderful gift to all of us. In addition, she has helped to assemble a staff unequaled in talent and commitment to healing those in need of mental health services.


"As she prepares to leave Prairie View, Jessie remains recognized as a most effective leader throughout Kansas and our region. We are grateful that she has been such an important part of Prairie View and we will truly miss her as she begins a richly-deserved retirement."


Community Involvement


In her years in Newton, Kaye served her community on the Harvey County United Way Board of Directors, Newton Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Committee and Board of Directors, and the Harvey County Habitat for Humanity Board of Directors.


In 2017, the Newton Area Chamber of Commerce named Kaye its Outstanding Citizen. She was honored as a member of the 2019 group of Women Who Lead in Healthcare.


Involved in leadership roles since 2005 with the Association of Community Mental Health Centers of Kansas, Kaye served the organization as Secretary, President, and Past President. She currently serves as Vice President, a role she has held since 2014. She serves as the Kansas Hospital Association Behavioral Health Committee Chairperson.


As a certified Mental Health First Aid instructor for both children and adults, she helped educate many members of Prairie View’s communities about the signs, symptoms and prevention of mental health crises.


The Road to Prairie View


Kaye began her career providing direct care at a Catholic hospital in Nebraska in 1976. Upon graduation from the University of Nebraska at Kearney, she applied her journalism and public relations education as Community Relations and Fund Raising Director for a United Methodist children’s treatment center in York, Neb. She then continued church and donor relations and publications work for a church-related child welfare and foster care agency in Quincy, Ill. She earned certification as a fund raising executive.


Kaye was recruited to become the Vice President for Public Relations, Fund Raising and Marketing at a faith-based child welfare and mental health organization in Buffalo, New York. Jessie was nationally recognized as the Public Relations, Development and Marketing Director of the Year. After many years in volunteer leadership for the United Methodist Association of Health and Welfare Ministries, she was elected to chair its national board of directors. Jessie was a federal peer reviewer for state child welfare systems. She was a certified lay speaker in the United Methodist denomination and has enjoyed speaking with countless congregations and Sunday school classes, as well as a multitude of civic and community groups throughout her career. She is also a certified board development facilitator.