(From top left) Barbara Gaba, Maria Pharr, Michael Elam, Ken Atwater, Bradley Ebersole and Lynn Willett

(From top left) Barbara Gaba, Maria Pharr, Michael Elam, Ken Atwater, Bradley Ebersole and Lynn Willett


Barbara Gaba will serve as the next president of Atlantic Cape Community College in New Jersey, effective Jan. 30. She is currently provost and associate vice president for academic affairs at Union County College (New Jersey), a position she has held since 2002. Previously, Gaba was dean of academic and student support services at Camden County College and associate director of the Office of Board Affairs and Government Relations at the New Jersey Department of Higher Education. She also serves on several higher education boards of directors and advisory bodies, including the American Association of Community Colleges’ Commission on Diversity, Inclusion and Equity.

Maria Pharr is now president of South Piedmont Community College in North Carolina. She previously served for two years as executive director of BioNetwork and Life Science Initiatives at the North Carolina Community College System Office. Prior to that position, Pharr was assistant vice president of academic affairs at Pitt Community College. She also served in several roles at Craven Community College, from biology instructor to dean of liberal arts and university transfer. Pharr began her professional career as a field chemist with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Michael Elam was named the next president of Halifax Community College in North Carolina. Previously he was president of Roanoke-Chowan Community College from 2013 to 2016. Elam also served as interim chancellor at Central Louisiana Technical Community College from 2012 to 2013, president of College of the Mainland in Texas from 2009 to 2011, and vice president for student development at Daytona State College in Florida from 1999 to 2009.


Bradley Ebersole, president of Washington State Community College (WSCC), plans to retire on June 30 after serving nearly six years at the helm of the Ohio college. His focus on student success provided WSCC with an opportunity to align with the state’s success-based funding model, positioning the college to receive both statewide and national recognition. Ebersole has championed new program development which included welding technology, complete with a new welding lab to serve the training needs of the local oil and gas industry. He also worked to strengthen the college’s partnerships with local school districts to provide opportunities for early college credit to a growing number of high school students. As a result, students are able to reduce the cost of college and accelerate their degree completion. Ebersole came to WSCC after serving as vice chancellor for academic affairs at Baton Rouge Community College in Louisiana. His roots in academia began at the Community College of Baltimore County where he worked for nearly 30 years in an array of positions, from teacher to assistant to the vice chancellor for learning and student development.


Lynn Willett, who served as president from 1986 to 2004 of Muskingum Area Technical College (later renamed Zane State College) in Ohio, passed away on Jan. 4 at age 75 from complications with Parkinson’s disease. Prior to Muskingum, Willett was vice president at Elgin Community College in Illinois.


Ken Atwater, president of Hillsborough Community College in Florida, has been recognized as a member of the Tampa Bay Business Journal’s Power 100 list. The list recognizes Tampa Bay’s most influential business leaders.


Cathy Cartwright has been promoted to director of financial services at Highline College in Washington. Cartwright has worked at the college since 2002, serving in a number of roles including course information manager, director of instructional budget and planning, adjunct accounting professor and most recently director of budget, grants and contracts.

Yaritza Castro is now Trio director at Columbia State Community College in Tennessee. She previously served as Trio coordinator.

Christine Gillan has been appointed director of strategic communication at Delaware Technical Community College. She joined the college in 2011, most recently serving as director of communication and planning at the Jack F. Owens campus.

Daniel Jenuwine is now executive director of the Oakland Community College Foundation in Michigan. He returns to the education sector following 10 years with a fundraising consulting firm.

Cathy Pellish has been appointed vice president of the Westminster campus of Front Range Community College (FRCC) in Colorado. She has served as faculty member and dean at the college for 18 years. As instructional dean, Pellish is co-chair of the college’s Student Success Committee, which is guiding FRCC’s work on an American Association of Community Colleges-developed Pathways Project, a student success initiative.

Laura Rubin has been named dean of science, technology, engineering and math and education at North Shore Community College in Massachusetts. She previously served as assistant dean.

El Paso Community College (EPCC) announced two new academic deans: Joshua Villalobos, dean of instructional programs and campus dean of Mission del Paso, and Myshie Pagel, dean of education and career and technical education at the Valle Verde campus. Villalobos previously served as interim dean; Pagel was also a former faculty member.

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