Shawn Gillen

Contributing Faculty
College of Health Sciences and Public Policy
Ph.D. Public Policy and Administration

Shawn grew up on a farm in western Illinois amid miles upon miles of cornfields. After high school Shawn attended the University of Iowa where he was a member of the football team. He graduated with a BA in English with the intent of getting a graduate degree at Western Illinois University as a football graduate assistant coach. But, life got in the way. Shawn was diagnosed with a potentially fatal blood disorder and had to undergo a bone marrow transplant. While recovering from that he took a part time coaching position at Monmouth College, in Monmouth, Illinois. While there he took classes to get a teaching certificate figuring on becoming a high school football coach. But once again life through another curve ball and he went down another path. Shawn decided/got talked into making a run for mayor of Monmouth. Shawn spent four years as Mayor. He knew fairly soon that public administration was the career he wanted.

Shawn left Monmouth for Lexington, Kentucky where he had taken a job as the chief of staff for Lexington City Council. After three years on the job there he decided to return to school full time at the University of Kentucky. Shawn finished his PhD in Public Administration in May of 2007. While writing his dissertation he took a job at Eastern Kentucky University where he was the assistant professor of public finance. That year Shawn was on the job market seeking both academic and administrative positions.

In July of 2007, Shawn an his wife packed up their stuff, loaded their three daughters and their toy poodle on an airplane and made their way north. They survived six winters in northern Minnesota. Then in 2013, they packed up again and headed south to Atlanta where he spent four years as the city manager for the City of Doraville. In the spring of 2017, Shawn accepted a position of city manager for Tybee Island, GA. Shawn and his family had vacationed at Tybee for several years and have always dreamed of living there.

Shawn has been with Walden University for ten years. His are of expertise is public finance and public management.

Shawn and his wife, Katie, have been married for 21 years. They have three daughters Georgia, Lilla and Scarlett.


PhD, University of Kentucky

Masters Degree, University of Kentucky

BA, University of Iowa