Astra Iheukumere, Madison Metropolitan School District’s director of strategic partnerships, will take over as Dane County’s new deputy director of human services.

In her new role, Iheukumere will focus on communications, policy and procedure development, long-term planning, and institutional practice and process development related to equity.

“I’m excited about this opportunity to serve the community I am from and consider it a privilege to have the chance to impact such a broad portfolio of policies and programs,” Iheukumere said in a statement. “I look forward to supporting the work of the fabulous team at Dane County Human Services.”

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi included the new position in the 2019 budget to “provide additional capacity to keep up with growing and changing needs within our community.”

“As someone who grew up in Dane County, Astra understands our community,” Parisi said. “She brings with her a great skill set and wealth of experience."

Iheukumere’s first day is Sept. 3, and her annual salary will be about $106,000.

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In her role with the school district, Iheukumere monitored MMSD’s partnerships policy, managed the strategic partnerships team and implemented large-scale tutoring partnerships. She also supervised the development and implementation of district-wide systems to support volunteerism in schools.

Before working for MMSD, Iheukumere was the assistant director of community networks and national partnerships for UW-Madison’s County Health Rankings & Roadmaps Program. In that role, she helped local communities and partners create engagement opportunities around public health improvement.

Iheukumere also served as deputy mayor and public safety liaison to former mayor Paul Soglin from 2011 to 2014 and has held multiple positions in state agencies, including outreach director for the Department of Revenue, medicaid benefit and fiscal policy analyst for the Department of Health Services, and assistant affirmative action officer for the Department of Natural Resources.

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Abigail Becker joined The Capital Times in 2016, where she primarily covers city and county government. She previously worked for the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism and the Wisconsin State Journal.