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Tribute to Akin Fadeyi from Kim Godfrey Lovett

When Akin Fadeyi began working at Performance-based Standards (PbS), gas prices were $1.51 per gallon, Apple was launching iTunes, revolutionizing how we consume digital media, and George W. Bush was on the cusp of being inaugurated as the 43rd US President after a close and highly controversial victory over Al Gore.

That was January 2001.

Travel, technology and politics all remind me of Akin. He has traveled tirelessly back and forth across the country for PbS for the past 22 years. He tentatively, then tenaciously, adopted the latest technologies as they’ve rapidly emerged, and he always keeps me abreast of the activities of our country and world leaders. At the end of this month, Akin will retire and he will be missed.

I was at a meeting in Atlanta when PbS project director Edward J. “Ned” Loughran and I were lamenting the need to find someone to help PbS meet the needs of the growing number of participating agencies. We needed someone to travel and visit the facilities to troubleshoot, train, support and guide agencies to use the PbS program to achieve positive outcomes for young people, their families and staff. Joyce Burrell, now a PbS coach and then Akin’s boss, suggested we ask him. With a vague job description and a little coaxing, he agreed and became the first PbS Implementation Director as well as coach. He became PbS’ first Deputy Executive Director in 2019 and has been instrumental in all things PbS.

“A king for a day” as Akin says to help us correctly pronounce his full name, has been the trusted and respected face of PbS for more than two decades. His warm, wide smile, extensive knowledge and endless patience has engaged professionals to use standards and data to improve juvenile justice outcomes. He can change the minds of skeptics and manage change resisters. He makes it his business to get to know as many people as possible, to listen to everybody and be available beyond the typical 40 hours a week. He carries two cell phones to be available to both his family and his PbS friends.

One of Akin’s most visible contributions to PbS was the development of the PbS Candidacy program—the intensive training and technical assistance program provided to agencies for the first year after joining PbS. As the trainer for all new agencies, Akin recognized the need to provide them with more help and support to master the basic PbS processes such as aligning definitions and ensuring compliance with data collection requirements. He designed the program with two on-site visits for training and more off-site technical assistance so by the end of 12 months, the agencies had high quality data to use for decision-making and improvement planning.

My humble estimate of the number of facilities Akin has trained and/or coached is about 500. Thousands of young people are receiving better care, effective services and have greater chances for lifelong success thanks to Akin.

Since his first days in juvenile justice, Akin has believed that planning for a young person’s return home is the first and most important thing to do. He served as a counselor for 10 years at the Cedar Knoll Youth Center in Washington DC, leading treatment team meetings and making sure that plans for a young person to go home included connecting them with community services and schools in their neighborhoods.

He was promoted to position of Executive Assistant at the Youth Services Administration, Department of Human Services, and continued to advocate for the needs of young people, as well as help the agency improve operations and outcomes to comply with the city’s court consent decree. He moved to Philadelphia as the Assistant Deputy Commissioner of the Division of Juvenile Justice Services, Department of Human Services. Among many contributions, Akin worked to expand programs in the community as alternatives to incarceration and as step-down programs after release from confinement.

We all will miss Akin very much. I will miss his friendship, wisdom, wonderful distinctive laugh and calm reassuring counsel. We wish him all the best in his well-deserved retirement and thank him immensely for all his time, energy and efforts to better juvenile justice outcomes.

Cheers, Akin!


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About the author

Kim Godfrey Lovett

Kim Godfrey Lovett

Kim is the executive director of the PbS Learning Institute. Kim was hired when CJCA incorporated in 1994 and has worked since it's inception to create the PbS system of continuous improvement to help facilities and agencies raise the quality of life and better conditions of confinement in youth facilities nationwide. She earned two master’s degrees: in journalism (Northwestern University) and criminal justice (Northeastern University.) She worked as a newspaper reporter for seven years prior to joining CJCA.

PbS has been a partner in assisting this facility to become a dynamic work environment that is not satisfied with maintaining the status quo.