OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A new interim director has been named for the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS).

Samantha Galloway, who has spent much of her career in human services, will fill the position.

Justin Brown, who has been OKDHS’s director since June 2019, will depart the position on Aug. 19.

“Samantha has been a constant source of support and thoughtful counsel to me since I stepped into this position just over three years ago,” said Brown, who will continue to serve the agency as Secretary of Human Services. “As my season as Director of OKDHS draws to a close, I feel great peace in knowing that such a committed and dedicated public servant is left at the helm to continue to guide and support the efforts of our incredible workforce and to ensure the momentum we have built over these years only continues. I am proud of our hard work together and the extraordinarily bright future that lays ahead for this agency.”

Galloway has worked for OKDHS as a legislative liaison, case manager in Developmental Disabilities Services (DDS), chief of staff and deputy director.

“The services we provide at OKDHS provide hope and empower Oklahomans to dream and strive for brighter tomorrows. I cannot imagine a nobler career path than this one I have been blessed to live at OKDHS,” Galloway said. “Like so many others in the agency, I am incredibly sad that Justin’s time has come to an end, but I’m also overwhelmingly grateful for the leader and friend he has been to me, as well as for the vision and renewed energy he has shown to the more than 6,000 dedicated employees who serve across all 77 counties. I am committed to continuing to build on our accomplishments together and to keep those we serve at the forefront of every decision we make.”

Galloway will serve as interim director until Gov. Kevin Stitt names a permanent replacement.

Oklahoma Senate Health and Human Services Chair Paul Rosino, R-Oklahoma City, issued the following statement, thanking Brown and praising Galloway:

“I want to express my sincere thanks to Justin Brown for his outstanding leadership as director of DHS. I was proud to work shoulder to shoulder with Justin on numerous key issues impacting the lives of countless Oklahomans. Of those, the work to finally eliminate Oklahoma’s 13-year waiting list for disabilities services is certainly one of the greatest accomplishments. The progress in the Pinnacle Plan to improve our foster care system and his efforts to modernize the structure of the agency will benefit our citizens for years to come.

I’m also very pleased that Samantha Galloway, chief of staff and operations for DHS, will step in as interim director upon Justin’s departure. Samantha has been an integral part of these and many other key projects to transform DHS and the services it provides, and I look forward to working with her and with Justin in his continuing role as cabinet secretary of human services.”

Sen. Paul Rosino

Galloway’s other past experience includes working as executive director of Washington (Parish) Economic Development in Bogalusa, La., director of community services at the Center of Family Love in Okarche, Okla., and executive director of Oklahoma Community-Based Providers before her return to OKDHS in 2019.