MSW alumni Kim Kovol appointed acting DFCS commissioner

by Ahliil Saitanan  |   

Kim Kovol
UAA MSW alumni Kim Kovol has been appointed acting commissioner of the Alaska Department of Family and Community Services (DFCS). (Photo courtesy of the Alaska Department of Health)

Kim Kovol, a University of Alaska Anchorage Master of Social Work (MSW) alumni, recently was appointed by Gov. Mike Dunleavy as acting commissioner of the new Alaska Department of Family and Community Services, which began operations on July 1, 2022, according to Dunleavy's press release.

“I am honored and humbled by this appointment by Governor Dunleavy. As Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Family and Community Services (DFCS) I look forward to working for and with Alaskans, especially some of our most vulnerable populations," says Kovol. "I am joining so many great folks already working in this realm and as we begin this journey there are many decades worth of amazing work that precedes me and DFCS that I hope to build on. Over the coming weeks I look forward to talking and collaborating with as many staff members as possible as we provide support, safety and personal well-being throughout our state.”

Strong social services portfolio

Prior to being appointed commissioner, Kovol was special assistant to Dunleavy with a social services portfolio focusing on domestic violence, sexual assault, missing and murdered indigenous persons, human and sex trafficking, homelessness, foster care, early childcare, eldercare, opioids/fentanyl, and suicide prevention.

“I selected Ms. Kovol to serve as the first commissioner of the new department because of her dedication and commitment to assisting Alaskan families,” says Dunleavy. ” She successfully launched my administration’s People First Initiative which integrates services and collaboration between public safety, violent crime prevention and stronger support services for youth in foster care.”

Kovol has a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts and studies (K-8 Education) from San Diego State University and a Master of Social Work from UAA. Kovol moved to Alaska more than 26 years ago. She lived a traditional military family life, transferring and moving both internationally and within the Lower 48. Kovol has more than 25 years of experience in the private sector in executive leadership, management, operating licensed childcare facilities, organizational development and restructure, logistics, and working in the human and social services realm with youth and adults. She is both passionate and compassionate when addressing the needs of vulnerable populations, as seen through her efforts with various nonprofit organizations in Alaska focused on children, hunger, and homelessness.

In her spare time, she takes every opportunity to go bow hunting, where she donates 100% of harvested game to local soup kitchens; ride a Harley Davidson with her beloved dog, and "mom-ing" her three Alaskan-born-and-raised children.