James Echols retired from the Kansas Department for Children and Families on June 30, 2017, after serving as Manager, Provider Services, Program Director, HOPE Mentoring, and Assistant Director, Faith- Based and Community Initiatives, respectively. On July 1, 2017, he became the Chief Executive Officer of Renaissance Management and Training Solutions, LLP, a public relations firm specializing in human relations consulting, based in Kansas City, KS.
Echols was born in Memphis, Tennessee, and completed high school in Spokane, Washington, before serving twenty-five years with the U.S. Army, Army National Guard and Army Reserve. He served in Vietnam as a teenager and was awarded the Bronze Star while there.
During his professional life, Echols has served as a soldier, aide to a former Oklahoma Lieutenant Governor and Governor, Oklahoma State Equal Opportunity Officer, and Executive Director, Oklahoma Human Rights Commission. He is the Immediate-Past Chair of the Kansas Advisory Group on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. He also serves as President, Board of Trustees, Economic Opportunity Foundation, Inc., Chair, Advisory Board, Wyandotte County Boys and Girls Club and Second Vice-Chair, Commission on Human Relations and Disability Issues with the Unified Government and Wyandotte County, KS. He has served as a volunteer mentor with the Mentoring 4 Success Program for returning citizens reentry with the KS Dept. of Corrections since 2011, and he has been a member of the Community Advisory Committee with the REACH Healthcare Foundation since 2013. On August 14, 2017, he was appointed to the Kansas Sentencing Commission.
Echols has B.A. Degree in Public Service from the University of Central Oklahoma and pursued graduate studies in Human Relations/Organizational Development at the University of Oklahoma. He is married and resides with his wife, Muriel, in Kansas City, KS, and he has two adult children and two granddaughters. He is the son and grandson of Baptist ministers.