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Adrienne Kennedy, Austin

Adrienne Kennedy, MA, immediate past president of the board of directors of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), Arlington, VA., is a retired educator and researcher with decades in curriculum design, collaborative learning and teacher development. Adrienne now devotes herself to mental health education and advocacy, after years of lived experience with mental health issues spanning five generations. Adrienne is a national trainer of NAMI programs for providers, as well as those designed for families or professionals working with children and teens.

In addition to her NAMI leadership, Adrienne was appointed to her second term (2021-2023) as a commissioner with the Texas Judicial Commission on Mental Health, a permanent commission established in 2018 by the Texas Supreme Court and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

Adrienne’s advocacy efforts now include her ongoing search of forefront breakthroughs in the neurosciences, promising practices in public health and crisis interventions, and interdisciplinary, interagency partnerships that both inform and impel calls to action across major sectors. She tirelessly champions cutting-edge research, systems change, interprofessional collaboration, integrated healthcare, cultural humility and effective redress of disparities across all areas, especially in the justice system.

Adrienne’s academic and early professional life centered in California, where she began her career as teacher, administrator, adjunct lecturer (University of California at Santa Cruz), California state credential supervisor, and consultant to schools and universities in California and Utah. She considers herself extremely blessed to have worked side-by-side with forefront leaders in education, social emotional learning, cognitive sciences and the neurosciences, including her years of research toward her doctorate in curriculum design and teacher development at the University of Texas at Austin, College of Education. Adrienne continues to press tirelessly for community commitment to the needs of children: from safeguarding developmental milestones to quality school-based services and supports capable of mitigating adverse childhood events and the social determinants of health.

During her time as a researcher in computer-assisted learning at Stanford Research Institute (now SRI International), Adrienne met and married her husband, Hal Puthoff. They welcomed their first four children in California then relocated to Texas in 1985 where they welcomed their fifth child. As only children themselves, Adrienne and Hal treasure their experiences of their large family that now includes 11 grandchildren – each of whom inspires them in their professions as well as in the causes that they passionately pursue.