McGeorge School of Law

JoAnne Speers

Adjunct Professor of Public Administration
JoAnne Speers

BA, University of California, Berkeley
MPP, University of California, Berkeley
JD, University of California, Berkeley


JoAnne Speers brings more than 30 years of service in federal, state and local government to her work. She is passionate about excellence in public and nonprofit service. Although JoAnne has worked for both the federal courts and the California Legislature, the bulk of her career has been in service to local government officials. Twenty-five years of this work was with the League of California Cities, a statewide advocacy and educational nonprofit organization.

While at the League, she served as chief executive of the Institute for Local Government, a 501(c)(3) organization. The Institute’s mission is to promote good government at the local level. During JoAnne’s tenure, the Institute added service to county officials through a partnership with the California State Association of Counties. The Institute also assumed responsibility for staffing a sister nonprofit, the Counties-Cities-Schools Partnership.

Under JoAnne’s stewardship, the Institute’s substantive programs emphasized developing practical and easy to use materials to help local officials and staff in their service to their communities. Areas of emphasis included leadership skills, public service ethics (including a regular “Everyday Ethics” column), inclusive public engagement, sustainable communities and nuts and bolts information to help those new to public service have a strong start.

JoAnne “2.0” launched in 2014, when she left local government and nonprofit work to pursue her longstanding interest in teaching at the university level. She pursued this goal first at the University of San Francisco and now teaches in McGeorge’s public policy and public administration programs at the University of the Pacific. She has taught courses in ethics, public policy, public finance, public administration and nonprofit management at the master’s level. She also does other work as time permits.

JoAnne’s efforts have been recognized by the California Bar’s Public Law Section, the American Society for Public Administration (relating to the Institute for Local Government’s work in public service ethics), and most recently, the League of California Cities Lifetime Achievement Award.

JoAnne has graduate degrees in law and public policy from the University of California, Berkeley, as well as a certificate in nonprofit management from Stanford University’s executive program for nonprofit leaders.