Arkansas Department of Correction Secretary Wendy Kelley will be retiring at the end of July.

Kelley made the announcement during an Arkansas Board of Corrections meeting at Pine Bluff June 29, according to a news release.

“It has been my honor to serve this department because of you,” she said in an email to the department’s staff Monday afternoon. “I have been so blessed to work with you all! … Modeling a positive work ethic, positive communication skills, encouraging offenders to think about the legacy they are creating, and treating everyone with respect are what I have enjoyed watching you all do.”

Kelley served as the director of the Department of Correction from January 2015 until July 2019, when Gov. Asa Hutchinson appointed her secretary.

“She’s done a superb job,” Benny Magness, chairman of the Board of Corrections, said in the news release. “She’s been a solid rock. She’s been really, really good for the state of Arkansas as the first Secretary of Corrections under the new format. She will be hard to replace, but we respect her desire to spend more time with her family.”

Kelley joined the Department of Correction in February 2006 as deputy director of health and correctional programs. Before that, she served for 14 years as deputy attorney general of the civil department at the Arkansas Attorney General’s office, according to the release.

A graduate of the William H. Bowen School of Law in 1987, she and her husband have four children.