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KDOC Employee Honored with NCIA Award

by Rebecca Witte last modified Feb 11, 2020 08:09 AM
Teresa Lee, deputy director of Kansas Correctional Industries, honored with national award.

The Kansas Department of Corrections announced today that Teresa Lee, deputy director, Kansas Correctional Industries (KCI), was awarded the National Correctional Industry Association’s National Staff Award. Lee will receive her award at the NCIA’s annual banquet on Wednesday, April 8, 2020.

Lee has worked for KCI for more than 34 years, beginning in 1986 in Accounting before moving into a new role as business manager in 2000. In 2016 she took over as deputy director, managing all 36 of KCI’s private industry partners.

Created in 1957, KCI employs more than 1,000 inmates in a combination of traditional and private-sector jobs. Those jobs consist of both high- and low-skilled opportunities, providing many inmates with highly marketable job skills upon release from prison.

“Statistics show that inmates who have a job upon release from prison are less likely to end up back in prison,” Jeff Zmuda, KDOC Secretary, said. “Teresa has been a strong advocate for KCI, building and fostering relationships with industry partners across the state to ensure that we are able to provide this valuable resource to our inmates.”

Accounting may have been what brought Lee to KCI, but it was the impact of the organization that has kept her here all these years.

“To be successful in this industry, you have to believe in the program and the mission,” Lee said.

“Many inmates that we work with have never held a job and we are able teach them both the hard and soft skills they need to be successful when they return to their communities.”

Her colleagues and coworkers recognize her as a tireless and compassionate employee with an outstanding work ethic.

“I have worked with Teresa for over 10 years and have always found her to be the one that I can rely on for guidance and direction in difficult situations,” Michelle Morgan, business manager, said. “Her vast knowledge and devotion to KCI are admirable and I am fortunate that she has taken the time to teach and train me in areas outside of her job duties. KCI is very blessed and grateful for Teresa every day.”

The Staff Award recognizes the superior performance and supervisory excellence of a correctional industries staff member other than the industries director/administrator who has made a significant and sustained contribution to a correctional industries program. Candidates are nominated through their region, coordinated by the NCIA Regional Appointees to the Board, and have the endorsement of their supervisor and correctional industries director/administrator.

For more information about KCI, visit

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