About Shala’s professional experience:
Shala began her career in law enforcement in 1992 serving as a Sedgwick County Sheriff Cadet, and then as a commissioned as a Reserve Deputy when she turned 21 years old. She went on to spend most of her life working as a police officer in various Kansas towns, and for the State of Kansas Department of Corrections doing prisoner re-entry work.
In addition to her career in law enforcement, she taught and developed criminal justice courses for several colleges, including at Butler Community College for over 10 years. She also served as lead instructor at Kansas School for Effective Learning (KANSEL), a non-profit organization dedicated to helping non-traditional students with GED and ESL studies. Shala is a Level 4 Credentialed Kansas Adult Education Association Instructor.
Shala owns Adventure Vacationing, a full-service travel agency that partners with area Scuba shops to create dive trips and adventure travel. She also teaches scuba diving lessons at Adventure Sports.
About her education: Shala is a graduate of Southeast High School in Wichita, Kansas. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Butler County Community College, receiving an Associates of Arts in Police Science. She received her Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Wichita State University in 1999. In 2002, she earned a Master of Arts in Criminal Justice from Wichita State University, with certificates in Forensic Criminology and Law Enforcement. She was an honored member of the American Criminal Justice Association Lambda Alpha Epsilon, Phi Theta Kappa, and Phi Kappa Phi.
About her public service affiliations:
Shala was appointed by Governor Kathleen Sebelius to the Kansas Hispanic and Latino American Affairs Commission in 2007. In 2009, Governor Mark Parkinson appointed her as the commission’s executive director and as the project director for the Governor’s Task Force on Racial Profiling. She also served on the Wichita City Manager Review Board and the Wichita Racial Profiling Advisory Board. These review boards serve to further oversight and enhance the level of trust between law enforcement and the community. Shala currently serves on the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Citizens Community Council. The council serves as a liaison between the community and the sheriff’s department. Shala has previously served on The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Broadband Advisory Council, The United States Council on Latino Affairs, Kansas Drop-In’s Commission, and, as an ex-officio on the board of directors for the Global Learning Center. She was selected to serve as an international political exchange delegate for the American Council of Young Political Leaders, a US Department of State supported program. She has served as an election officer and supervising election judge for the Sedgwick County Election Office. She also previously served on the Michael Tilford Conference on Diversity and multiculturalism in Education Planning Committee.
About her distinctions:
Shala was honored as the first woman to receive the Top Shooter award from the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center. In 2007, she was honored for her human rights work by Church Women United, a racially, culturally, and theologically inclusive group recognized by the United Nations. The Wichita Hispanic Chamber of Commerce named her a Rising Star for her leadership and in the Hispanic Community in 2010. She also received special recognition from the City of Wichita, and the Wichita Hispanic Chamber for outstanding commitment and visionary leadership. She was recognized as an Emerging Leader by Visioneering Wichita, and was the recipient of a City to City Visit Scholarship, sponsored by the Wichita Downtown Development Corporation and Butler County Community College.
About her background:
Shala was born in Topeka, Kansas. Her father was born in Peru. He met her mother while when he was between tours in Vietnam; she was working on Richards-Gebaur Air Force Base. Shala’s mother is daughter of Edward Zarda, who along with his brothers, owned the Zarda Dairy (later called the Zarda-Hiland Dairy) in Shawnee, Kansas. Her father retired from the US Air Force at McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita.