From left, Greene County Circuit Judge Kaiti Greenwade and Associate Circuit Judge Kirsten Poppen. (Submitted photos from the Office of the Missouri Governor)

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Some changes are coming to the judge’s benches at the courthouse in downtown Springfield.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson announced two appointments to the Greene County 31st Judicial Circuit June 2.

Judge Kaiti Greenwade of Willard will be appointed as circuit judge for the 31st Judicial Circuit.

Judge Greenwade currently serves as an associate circuit judge in Greene County. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from Missouri State University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Tulsa. Greenwade will fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge David C. Jones.

Greenwade is a former Dade County prosecutor who ran her own practice at a relatively young age for an attorney. She grew up working on her family’s farm, and continues her family’s tradition of farming.

“I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have been raised in rural Missouri and on a farm,” Greenwade wrote in her judicial application to the governor’s office. “I learned valuable lessons and an appreciation for hard work that I may not have realized otherwise. Working on the farm is something I continue to do in Willard even while I was practicing law and now as associate judge.”

Kirsten E. Poppen of Springfield was appointed as associate circuit judge for the 31st Judicial Circuit.

Poppen is currently an attorney at Springfield law firm Neale and Newman, L.L.P. She has also served as a municipal judge for the City of Republic. She holds a Bachelor of Science in life sciences from Kansas State University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Kansas. Poppen described setting up a business, Simmons and Associates, which advised veterinary businesses on the legal aspects of their practices. She ultimately sold the business.

“Working in the business sector, I frequently worked with individuals from all backgrounds, experience and education levels,” Poppen wrote in her application for judicial appointment. “Critical to my work was the ability to explain and connect with whomever the audience. These traits remain a strong part of my practice today.”

Poppen will fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Mark A. Powell.

Rance Burger

Rance Burger is the managing editor for the Daily Citizen. He previously covered local governments from February 2022 to April 2023. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia with 15 years experience in journalism. Reach him at or by calling 417-837-3669. Twitter: @RanceBurger More by Rance Burger