Michelle De La Isla was sworn in as Mayor of Topeka January 8, 2018, having previously served on the Topeka City Council and as Deputy Mayor.
Born of humble beginnings in New York, De La Isla faced many challenges at a young age. Early in life, her mom fled for safety with her and her brother to Puerto Rico to live with her grandparents. By age 17 she was homeless, and at 19 pregnant. Rather than feel sorry for herself, Michelle made a conscious decision to overcome her circumstances and finish her degree. She moved to Kansas in 2000 and graduated from Wichita State University with a bachelor of science degree in biology. She worked as a teacher for Upward Bound and unfortunately discovered that others faced challenges similar to hers, igniting a fire for advocacy and service that to this day cannot be extinguished. She relocated to Topeka and soon after became a single mom of three children. In 2005, Michelle joined MANA National and traveled around the country educating women on financial literacy. She was one of the founding members of the local Hermanitas chapter for mentorship of Latina girls. As her community involvement developed, she participated in the Capital District Groupo to advocate and develop the current Downtown Topeka plan.
In 2010, she became Executive Director of Topeka Habitat for Humanity, where she established the first office, the ReStore and exponentially increased service delivery. She works alonside Dr. Kim Morse, History Professor at Washburn University, to deliver an annual girls empowerment conference at Washburn where more than 170 Topeka girls attend. De La Isla supports the Rescue Mission as a volunteer and serves on the Board of MANA National. She is the Diversity and Inclusion Representative at Westar Energy. Her greatest honor is being called Erick, Cristina and Lorraine's mom.
City Hall Building
215 SE Seventh Street
Topeka, KS 66603
FAX: (785) 368-3850
*Official mailing address