NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Kay Johnson’s colleagues at Stephen F. Austin State University would say she gives the university a run for its money. Juggling the position of executive director of finance and administrative services with construction management, The University of Texas System affiliation and her daily tasks with grace drew the attention of all those who work with her.
For those reasons and many more, Johnson was named a 2023 President’s Achievement Award recipient for her service to the university. Despite these commendations, however, she attributes her success to her team of 21 staff members.
“I have a great team here. I wouldn’t be able to get any of this done without them,” she said. “I wouldn’t be able to survive. I am only as good as my great staff.”
Johnson oversees many departments on campus, including finance, procurement, accounts payable, travel, payroll, and serving the entire campus and its vendors. She also oversees the construction of buildings on campus, which starts with solicitations for bids and ends with seeing the final product fully furnished and ready for student use.
“We have a lot going on right now with the UT transition, and then you’re doing your normal work on top of that, and it’s a lot,” she said. “But it takes the great team behind me to even accomplish what I do in serving our campus. I love what I do.”
Johnson embodies SFA's core values and traditions every day, according to one of her nominations.
“She supports her team with the knowledge and tools to help achieve goals personally and within the department. Kay is a mentor. She urges her team to better themselves and provides opportunities to teach others with her vast experience and knowledge. I am so blessed to be a part of the business services team and serve with Kay as our leader.”
Johnson said she was “non-deserving” of the award because there are so many others who are. Another nomination statement said the contrary.
“Kay has taken on the role of two positions, and she does it to the best of her ability and without complaining. She is worked to the max but somehow gets it all done on time. If anyone deserves recognition, it’s Kay.”
Johnson was especially excited to be presented the award by President Dr. Steve Westbrook.
“I was very humbled and grateful to receive the President’s Achievement Award. Getting it from Dr. Westbrook, however, was amazing and an honor because I have worked with him since I came to SFA,” she said.
Born and raised in Nacogdoches, Johnson is a 1989 graduate from SFA and worked in other sectors before she started her career at SFA seven years ago, including banking, governmental entities and health care.
“I can’t speak enough about SFA being a great place to be,” Johnson said.