New CEOs

Vic Adams has been named president of Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College (SKCTC), effective June 1. He is an experienced leader who currently is chief workforce solutions officer, vice president and director of the Middlesboro Campus. Adams recently served as interim president of Gateway Community and Technical College in Kentucky. He has been affiliated with SKCTC in various leadership and teaching positions since 1997.

Michael A. Baston has been appoint president of New York’s Rockland Community College, effective July 1. Baston has held executive leadership positions at LaGuardia Community College (New York), most recently as acting provost and vice president for academic and student affairs. He also served at the college as associate provost and associate dean for student affairs and enrollment management. Previously, Baston served for 10 years as dean of student development and campus life for the New York campuses of Berkeley College.

Zarina Blankenbaker will serve as president of the Tarrant County College’s Northwest Campus as of June 1. She has more than 23 years of experience as a faculty member, advisor, financial counselor and administrator. She most recently served as executive vice president of academic affairs and student success at Richland College in Dallas, where she led initiatives contributing to a positive five-year trend for in-course retention, student success and awarded associate degrees and certificates. She also led partnership efforts that contributed to an increase in dual-credit enrollment.

Orinthia T. Montague will become the fourth president of Tompkins Cortland Community College in New York, effective July 5. She has been a leader in higher education for the past 18 years, including seven years at Normandale Community College, the largest community college within the Minnesota state system, where she is vice president of student affairs and chief diversity officer. Previously, Montague was dean of students at the college. Before joining Normandale in 2010, Montague spent 11 years at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, starting as student service coordinator and moving up to director of student life, assistant vice provost and eventually associate vice provost and dean of students.

Muddassir Siddiqi is serving as president of Central College in the Houston Community College System. He previously was provost and chief academic officer at Morton College in Illinois where he helped to lead a major restructuring of academic and student service organizations in addition to the addition of many new transfer agreements in workforce programs. Siddiqi also initiated a transition program for the bachelor’s degree in nursing and signed partnership agreements with several universities for dual-degree and transfer programs.

Ty A. Stone will serve as president of Jefferson Community College (New York), as of July 1. Since 2016, she has served as vice president for strategic initiatives at Sinclair Community College in Ohio. Stone first joined Sinclair in 2010 as director of business services. In 2012, she became vice president for business operations. Prior to that, she was director of business operations for YWCA of Dayton. Additionally, Stone is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, where she served as an air traffic controller.


Joyce Helens will be the next president of Nevada’s Great Basin College, effective August 1. She has higher education leadership experience in multi-state two-year colleges and universities. Since 2006, Helens has served as president of St. Cloud Technical and Community College in Minnesota, where she has lead efforts to increase enrollment, built new and renovated programs and facilities, and guided a successful college re-accreditation. Before coming to Minnesota, Helens was at the University of Alaska Statewide System, holding leadership positions at the University of Alaska Anchorage Community & Technical College, and then as executive director of the University of Alaska Corporate Programs. She also served in senior and executive community college leadership positions in Oregon, Texas and Washington.

Interims CEOs

At Tacoma Community College in Washington, acting co-Presidents Mary Chikwinya and Bill Ryberg will serve as interim co-presidents until the college’s next permanent president is hired by July 2018. They have served as acting presidents since mid-December.


Heather Beebe-Stevens has been named executive director of the Community Colleges of Spokane Foundation, effective June 12. She currently serves as executive director for the Spokane Parks Foundation. Previously, Beebe-Stevens was development director for the Spokane Symphony.

Brian W. Caputo is now vice president of administration and treasurer at College of DuPage in Illinois. He comes from the City of Aurora (Illinois), where he worked as chief financial officer/city treasurer since 1998.

Vanessa Morest has been appointed provost and vice president for academic affairs at New York’s Westchester Community College. She is currently dean of institutional effectiveness at Norwalk Community College in Connecticut.

Sonya Pearson, Mesa Community College’s vice president of student affairs, is now president-elect of the National Council on Student Development, an affiliated council of the American Association of Community Colleges.  She will begin her two-year term on July 1 before serving as president.


The Aspen Institute has announced the 2017-2018 class of the Aspen Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence, a highly selective leadership program. The new cohort, which will start a year-long fellowship in July, includes:

  • Jennifer Berne, dean of liberal arts, Harper College (Illinois)
  • Terri Berryman, associate vice president, McHenry County College (lllinois)
  • Zarina Blankenbaker, executive vice president for academic affairs and student success at Richland College (Texas); president of the Tarrant County College’s Northwest Campus (Texas) as of June 1.
  • Mary Bolt, president, Cecil College (Maryland)
  • Andy Bowne, senior vice president and chief operating officer, Ivy Tech Community College (Indiana)
  • David Brand, senior vice president of academics and student services, Fayetteville Technical Community College (North Carolina)
  • Jeff Cox, president, Wilkes Community College (North Carolina)
  • Kevin David, West Campus provost and associate vice president for institutional effectiveness, Tulsa Community College (Oklahoma)
  • Rachel Desmarais, executive vice president and chief operating officer, Forsyth Technical Community College (North Carolina)
  • David Doré, president, Pima Community College Downtown Campus and Northwest Campus (Arizona)
  • Stacia Edwards, dean, Delaware Campus and Regional Learning Centers, Columbus State Community College (Ohio)
  • Rhonda Epper, vice president for academic affairs and provost, Community College of Denver (Colorado)
  • Karla Fisher, chancellor, Arkansas State University-Beebe
  • Melissa Frank-Alston, senior vice president for institutional effectiveness and research, Augusta Technical College (Georgia)
  • Ellen Gambino, vice president of academic affairs and student services, Dutchess Community College (New York)
  • Felicia Ganther, associate vice chancellor for student affairs, Maricopa County Community College District (Arizona)
  • DeDe Griffith, interim vice president of instruction, Lee College (Texas)
  • Christina Hart, vice president of enrollment and student services, Indian River State College (Florida)
  • Katy Ho, vice chancellor for academic affairs, Honolulu Community College (Hawaii)
  • Kimberly Lee, vice president for institutional effectiveness, Albany Technical College (Georgia)
  • Georgia Lorenz, vice president of academic affairs, Santa Monica College (California)
  • John Mosby, vice president of student services, Mission College (California)
  • Cynthia Olivo, vice president of student services, Pasadena City College (California)
  • Paula Pando, senior vice president for student and educational services, Hudson County Community College (New Jersey)
  • Paula Pitcher, senior advisor to the commissioner, Massachusetts Department of Higher Education
  • Keith Pomakoy, interim senior vice president of academic affairs, Raritan Valley Community College (New Jersey)
  • Meridith Randall, associate superintendent of instruction and institutional effectiveness, Chaffey College (California)
  • Steven Robinson, provost and vice president of academic affairs, Owens Community College (Ohio)
  • Amit Singh, provost and senior vice president of academic affairs, Clark State Community College (Ohio)
  • Michele Siqueiros, president, Campaign for College Opportunity (California)
  • Steve Smith, vice president of instruction and workforce education, El Paso Community College (Texas)
    Mark Weber, dean of the trades and engineering technologies, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College
  • Randy Weber, vice president of student success and engagement, Johnson County Community College (Kansas)
  • Kristi Wellington-Baker, dean of student success and strategic initiatives, Walla Walla Community College (Washington)
  • Jean Wihbey, provost-campus president and vice president of workforce development, Palm Beach State College (Florida)
  • Ashli Wilkins, dean of institutional services and community development, Wallace Community College – Dothan (Alabama)
  • Falecia Williams, campus president of West and Downtown Campuses, Valencia College (Florida)
  • Vicky Wood, provost and vice president of academic affairs and Student Services at Marion Technical College (Ohio); president, Washington State Community College (Ohio)
  • Rebekah Woods, provost, Jackson College (Michigan)

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