Karen Howard

Commissioner, Chatham County

Karen Howard is a former attorney and current Chair of the Chatham County Board of Commissioners. Born in Brooklyn, New York, Commissioner Howard spent most of her childhood in the Bahamas before returning to the US for boarding school. She went on to obtained a BA in English from Georgetown University and an LLB(Law) from the University of Buckingham. Commissioner Howard was called to the Bar of England and Wales and The Bar of The Bahamas in 1992.

First elected to the Chatham County Board of Commissioners in 2014, Howard has been deeply involved in local public schools and the arts community since her arrival in 2007. In addition to her role as Commissioner, she serves on the boards of the Chatham Arts Council, the Chatham County Partnership for Children, The National Inclusion Project, the Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Governor’s Crime Commission and as liaison to several local boards including the Chatham County Board of Education. She is a former Chair of the Board of Education and served as  2019 Co-Chair of the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners Presidential Task Force on Disaffected Youth. This year Commissioner Howard was appointed to serve as Chair of the NCACC’s Public Education Steering Committee and was also accepted into the Hunt Institute’s ElevateNC: Higher Education program.

In addition to the two children she has at home, Commissioner Howard also has a son at UNC-Chapel Hill, a recent graduate of Brown University and two adult children living and working in the Bahamas.