Dr Jeffrey Stern has taken up the role of Superintendent of FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute (EMI). He was previously State Coordinator of Emergency Management at the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM). Stern held the VDEM role for six years which included more than 50 disaster declarations.
EMI provides national leadership in developing and delivering training to ensure that individuals and groups having key emergency management responsibilities, including FEMA employees, possess the requisite skills to effectively perform their jobs.
The institute delivers more than 1,500 resident course offerings, training more than 30,000 individual participants annually. The EMI Independent Study (IS) Program, a web-based distance learning program open to the public, delivers extensive online training of more than 200 courses and trains close to 1.9 million individuals annually. EMI has provided technical support to dozens of other Federal government agencies and state offices on advanced distance learning technology development and application. The IS Program also hosts training for related Federal agencies.
Prior to joining VDEM, Stern served in local and federal government, the private sector, and academia. A former firefighter/paramedic, battalion chief, special operations team leader for technical/urban search and rescue, hazmat, swiftwater rescue, tactical medic teams, and local emergency manager, his career has spanned operational, policy-making, and advisory roles from the local firehouse to the White House.
He helped lead incident management teams to Hurricanes Charley in Florida (2004) and Katrina in New Orleans (2005) and supported medical relief efforts in Haiti and the Dominican Republic after the 2010 earthquake that claimed nearly 300,000 lives. After Hurricane Katrina, he was selected as a White House Fellow, a non-partisan leadership development program, serving for a year as Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Interior in the Secretary’s Office of Law Enforcement, Security, and Emergency Management, and was later part of a handpicked team assigned to write the president’s 2007 National Strategy for Homeland Security at the White House Homeland Security Council. He was then appointed by the president as Executive Director of the Homeland Security Advisory Council at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, where he also coordinated all interaction with the Congressional Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism (the Graham-Talent Commission). He received an outstanding service award from the Secretary of Homeland Security for his work. Later, he led the policy analysis division for DHS’s federally-funded research development center, the Homeland Security Studies and Analysis Institute, where he led wide-ranging analytic projects in support of FEMA, the DHS Office of Science and Technology, the DHS National Protection and Programs Directorate Office of Cybersecurity and Communications, the DHS Office of Policy, the National Guard Bureau, and the Department of State Bureau of Counterterrorism.
Stern has a Ph.D. in Public Administration/Public Affairs from Virginia Tech’s Center for Public Administration and Policy, an M.P.A. from the American University School of Public Affairs, and a B.A. in government from the College of William & Mary. He is a Certified Emergency Manager through the International Association of Emergency Managers and an Executive Fire Officer through the National Fire Academy.