Kathy A. Surratt-States, JD, has served as Chief Judge of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Missouri since 2013.
Her parents instilled in her the importance of education and service to the community that her career reflects. Born and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma, she earned a BA cum laude in political science from Oklahoma City University in 1988. After earning her JD from Washington University School of Law in 1991, she clerked for two years for now-retired Bankruptcy Judge James J. Barta. In 1993, she became an associate at Campbell & Coyne, P.C., where she focused on bankruptcy, commercial litigation and foreclosures. In 1998, she moved to Ziercher & Hocker, P.C., and soon became a partner. When the firm merged with Husch Blackwell, she worked as a partner in the insolvency practice until becoming the first African-American to be appointed to the bankruptcy bench in the Eighth Circuit in 2003.
Kathy was appointed one of nine members of the Panel of Bankruptcy Trustees for the Eastern District of Missouri in 1997 and as one of four Commissioners for the St. Louis City Board of Election Commissioners in 2001. She has served on the Board of Directors of Catholic Charities of St. Louis since 2012. Prior to that she served on the Board of the Mid-County YMCA for four years and Good Shepherd Children and Family Services for eight years, where she served as president. She is also a member of another community-building organization, Altrusa International of St. Louis, since 1995. Kathy joined the GRC board in 2013 and became President in 2014.
Kathy received the Distinguished Young Alumni Award from Washington University School of Law in 2007. She teaches advanced bankruptcy courses to paralegals and mentors students from various schools. She is also active in several professional organizations.
On a personal level, Kathy and her husband, Lieutenant Clifford States of the St. Louis City Metropolitan Police Department, are raising one daughter.
“I serve on the board because I want to be part of helping GRC continue to meet and exceed its goals,” she said. “The fact that GRC does as much as it does in part through its offerings of Saturday Learning Labs and Summer Academies programs, that I have enrolled my child in, is commendable. The fact that these programs reach the diverse population of St. Louis children—including those who attend public and private schools and live either in St. Louis City or St. Louis County or surrounding counties—and that GRC also has a diverse base of educators who serve as teachers for these programs is amazing. This is great for all involved, the children, the parents, the teachers. And I want to work to ensure that GRC is here for years to come.”