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Kathleen Kennedy Townsend is president of Operation Respect, a character
education program that teaches children right from wrong and personal and social
responsibility. The organization has developed specific curriculums that are being used in
thousands of schools across the country. Mrs. Townsend is also an Adjunct Professor at
Georgetown University’s School of Public Policy and she serves as a consultant to several
leading companies in the public service sector.
Mrs. Townsend has a long history of accomplishment in the public arena. As
Maryland's first woman Lt. Governor, she was in charge of a multi-million dollar budget and
had oversight of major departments including State Police, Economic Development,
Transportation, and the Office of Children Youth and Families. She is known nationally for
her innovative and results oriented programs such as Hot Spots, Break the Cycle, the
launching of an e-readiness initiative and the establishment of one of the first statewide
offices of character education.
Before being elected Lt. Governor, Mrs. Townsend served as deputy assistant
Attorney General of the United States. In that role, she led the planning to put 100,000
police officers on America’s streets and she ignited the Police Corps, a program to give
college scholarships to young people who pledge to work as police officers for four years
Prior to serving at the Department of Justice, Mrs. Townsend spent seven years as
the founder and director of the Maryland Student Service Alliance. It was in this role that
she led the successful fight to make Maryland the first state in the nation to require all high
school students perform community service. Before launching that initiative, Mrs.
Townsend worked as an environmental attorney both in private practice and as an Assistant
Attorney General in Maryland. In addition, in 1982 she managed Senator Edward M.
Kennedy’s successful re-election campaign.
Mrs. Townsend has taught foreign policy at the University of Pennsylvania and the
University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She has published articles in the New York
Times, Washington Post, and Washington Monthly, among others. In the mid-eighties she
founded the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award - an award whose recipients now
include the Comadres of El Salvador, Adam Michnic of Poland, and Beyers Naude of South