Kathleen Kelly, Council Member

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Kathleen KellyKathleen Kelly spent her formative early years in the Coachella Valley and then ventured east to attend Yale University for college and then U.C. Berkley’s Boalt Hall for Law School. 

She practiced employment law in San Francisco before joining the full-time faculty at McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific, in Sacramento, where she taught for 17 years and served as Academic Dean. Concurrently, Kathleen served as a neutral arbitrator and mediator resolving conflicts. This work extended over 30 years and addressed a wide range of public policy disputes, including placement of safety net services for the homeless and proper engineering of sidewalks to accommodate the disabled.

Kathleen’s connection to Palm Desert goes back to 1977. She is a member of the Palm Desert Noon Rotary Club, the Historical Society of Palm Desert, and the Palm Desert Area Chamber of Commerce. Her commitment to volunteerism is reflected in long service on the Joslyn Center Board and appointment to the Palm Desert Planning Commission, where she served prior to her election in 2016. Through teaching topics pertaining to sound process and presidency of several non-profit boards, Kathleen brings considerable experience in procedure to her elected office.

For the last 11 years, Kathleen has also been an ordained minister in the Episcopal Church. After serving in the denomination’s Sacramento Cathedral, she became rector of a parish in nearby Hemet for six years prior to retirement from this work. She now gives time toward the success of the Historic Shadow Mountain Golf Club through serving on the Oversight Committee for its ownership group.

Kathleen lives in South Palm Desert with her mother, Mary Helen Kelly, who is also an active community volunteer. She loves early morning walks in South Palm Desert, golfing, cooking, and one or two trips to the coast for surf-fishing every year.