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November 23
​Wake County Hires New Human Services Director to Lead County’s Largest Department

After a thorough nationwide search, Wake County has hired Nannette M. Bowler to lead its Human Services Department. She will serve as director for the county’s largest department, which oversees public health and social services for the community.

“Nannette brings more than 30 years of experience advocating for children and their families to this important leadership role,” said Wake County Manager David Ellis. “We’re excited to add her knowledge and expertise to our exceptional Human Services team, and we look forward to her developing new and improved ways to help residents access our vital programs and services.”

Bowler currently serves as the Virginia Department of Social Services Deputy Commissioner for Human Services in Richmond, Va. There she oversees the divisions of Family Services, Child care, Benefit Programs and Training, five regional offices, and works with 120 local departments of social services.  

“I’m honored and humbled by the responsibility Wake County is entrusting me with, and I look forward to assisting with the current COVID-19 response efforts, as well as supporting the area’s growing social services needs,” said Bowler. “I’m excited about moving to this wonderful community and working with staff and community partners who serve the county’s children, adults and families to help them thrive and have hope for their futures.”

Prior to working for VDSS, Bowler served as director of the Fairfax County Department of Family Services where she led operations for the department, which has a budget of approximately $240 million and includes more than 1,700 employees in five divisions.

Her previous positions include director and cabinet member to Governor Granholm for the Family Independence Agency over child welfare, juvenile delinquency, adult services, eligibility and child support and chief judge of the Family Division for the 8th Judicial Circuit in Ionia County, Mich. Additionally, she served as legal counsel and executive director of the Michigan Lieutenant Governor’s Commission on Children, where she assisted in the passage of 21 bills in the Michigan House of Representatives and Senate involving all aspects of child welfare.

Other positions she held include co-founder and executive director of a non-profit organization called the Children’s Law Center and assistant prosecutor with the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office in Michigan.

Bowler attended Aquinas College in Michigan where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. She also holds a Juris Doctorate degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School at Western Michigan University.

In her new role, which begins Monday, Jan. 18, 2021, Bowler will lead the Human Services Department to build collaboration, consistent policy and service delivery. The department is dedicated to providing public health, social services and transportation services to more than 200,000 people a year. This role leads 1,645 staff and oversees a budget of $162 million. She fills the vacancy left by previous director, Regina Petteway, who retired from Wake County in June.


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