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Sheryl Sculley Honored for City Management

BYU Marriott’s Romney Institute of Public Management named Sheryl Sculley the 2018 Administrator of the Year. The city manager of San Antonio, Texas, Sculley has spent the past twenty-five years managing operations there and in Phoenix, Arizona—the two largest professionally managed cities in the country. 

San Antonio city manager Sheryl Sculley was named the Romney Institute's 2018 Administrator of the Year.
San Antonio city manager Sheryl Sculley was named the Romney Institute's 2018 Administrator of the Year.

“Sheryl Sculley is recognized nationally as an outstanding city manager,” says Rex Facer, Romney Institute associate professor and co-chair of the award committee. “We’ve been fortunate to place over twenty students in San Antonio in the last dozen years, and we have watched them grow and develop. Part of that has been because of Sheryl’s nurturing. She is a committed leader who cares for the people that work for her.”

The Romney Institute’s Administrator of the Year Award honors outstanding public management professionals for their ethical and moral service in the public sector and for the example that they set for BYU Marriott MPA students. 

“I’m still—even after all these years in city management—a student of local government,” says Sculley, who has been an adjunct professor with the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas. “This award is special because it is from the Romney Institute, which trains public managers to be leaders in local government, and that’s what I’ve done my entire career.”

Sculley was recruited to San Antonio to overhaul an underperforming city organization. As chief executive officer of the city, she has increased financial reserves, completed more than $2 billion in infrastructure improvements, reduced the property tax rate four times, and streamlined city business systems.

Thanks to her leadership, the City of San Antonio now has an AAA general obligation bond rating—the highest of the country’s ten largest cities. Sculley says that the city is a “learning organization,” always studying best practices. True to this philosophy, she has instituted several formal mentoring and leadership programs for city employees.

During her visit to BYU Marriott, Sculley attended a banquet held on March 15 in her honor where she received the award. During the banquet, she addressed MPA students and faculty about the importance of professional city management.

“Many factors contribute to success: education, hard work, and support of families,” she said. “You have the education. Just remember that it’s also about a lifetime of learning. Be the hardest worker on your team. You want to be the go-to person for getting things done and getting them done well.”

Sculley earned a bachelor of science degree from Ball State University and a master of public administration degree from Western Michigan University. She also completed the Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. 

Sculley served on the International City Management Association (ICMA) Board of Directors from 2002 to 2005 and was elected president of the Arizona and Michigan City Management Associations. In 2009, ICMA recognized her with the Career Excellence in City Management Award.

Over the course of her career, Sculley has provided leadership on several nonprofit boards. She chaired the 2013 United Way Campaign, helping to raise $52.5 million, and currently serves on the San Antonio United Way Board of Directors. In addition to her many professional achievements, Sculley is an avid runner and has completed nine marathons.

Her tenacity and drive to do the right thing were readily apparent throughout her speech. 

“That’s what we do in local government,” she concluded. “We keep people safe. We improve the quality of life. And we provide opportunities for prosperity for all of our residents. I hope you have a chance to be so lucky.”

The BYU Marriott School of Business prepares men and women of faith, character and professional ability for positions of leadership throughout the world. Named for benefactors J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott, the school is located at Brigham Young University, the largest privately owned, church-sponsored university in the United States. BYU Marriott has four graduate and ten undergraduate programs with an enrollment of approximately 3,300 students.


Writer: Jordan Christiansen