Associate Circuit Court Judge, Division X, Thirteenth Judicial Circuit
At 32 years old, Kayla was elected as the first black judge in Boone County. Her accomplishments don’t stop there.
“I am on the board of Powerhouse Community Development, an adjunct professor at the University of Missouri School of Law, a member of the Central Missouri chapter of Jack and Jill, Inc., and a mock trial coach for the Black Law Student Association,” Kayla says.
In addition to her supportive family, Kayla has had a few mentors that stand out along the way.
“I have had a number of mentors throughout my life and each of them has played a different role; however, two of them stick out. Professor S. David Mitchell, University of Missouri School of Law, taught me the significance of the power in my voice,” Kayla says. “And Dean Bob Bailey instilled the importance of showing others that you care and truly acting from your heart. Both of these men consistently remind me of the importance of having a strong circle of friends who will not only support you but uplift you in times of struggle. They also let me know that it’s OK to not always be OK.”
Kayla says she lives her life by one simple principle, and that is to be a good human every single day.
“I feel that by being a good human, I am living by the golden rule, which is do unto others as you would have them to do unto you. This is a rule that we learn as early as kindergarten, and it is a rule that I live my life by every day,” she says.
There are many who would say that Kayla succeeds more than that principle.
“I had the pleasure of interning at the Boone County Public Defender’s Office where unbeknownst to me, Kayla was the intern coordinator,” says Julius King. “While interning with Kayla, I saw her passion for her work and her desire to truly make changes in the lives of the individuals who she represented. Despite the taxing nature of the work, I never saw her give up, and I found it astonishing that despite the fact that she was a single mom of a toddler, she always had the time and energy to pour into other people and things, including me. Kayla’s desire to truly see people at their best, and her ability to always find the best in people and situations, is truly admirable.”
Kayla stays busy and motivated by her six-year-old daughter, Mackenzie, adding, “She is the reason that I push myself so hard, and she is the reason that I will continue to achieve great things.”
Pet Peeve: When people squeeze the toothpaste tube in the middle instead of from the top.