New CEOs

Sherry Zylka has been named president of Big Sandy Community and Technical College in Kentucky, effective October 1. She currently is provost of the Wayne County Community College District in Michigan. Zylka has served in various higher education leadership positions, including dean of College Centers and Workforce Development and Continuing Education at Schoolcraft College in Michigan.

CEO retirements

Santa Fe Community College President Randy W. Grissom, 68, has announced his retirement effective October 31. Since being named CEO of the college in 2013, Grissom has led a unified, campus-wide commitment to increase student success. As a result, the college has almost doubled its graduation rate during his tenure. Grissom guided work to align curricula with Santa Fe Public Schools to expand access to dual-credit courses. He also helped forge partnerships with four-year colleges and universities to offer bachelor’s and advanced degree programs at the Santa Fe Higher Education Center, enabling students to remain in Santa Fe while completing their education. He furthered collaboration with businesses, workforce programs and economic development organizations to ensure that the college remains responsive to employer needs and that students have access to job opportunities.

Grissom joined the college as a faculty member in 1983, SFCC’s inaugural year. In 1989, he established the New Mexico Small Business Development Center Network. Grissom then departed to work in management positions in private industry. He returned to the college in 2003 as its chief financial officer and vice president for administrative services. He then moved back to the private sector, with roles in the technology, agriculture and hospitality fields. In 2008, Grissom returned to SFCC to serve as dean of economic and workforce development and director of the Sustainable Technologies Center. In 2013, he was named vice president for academic affairs and was appointed acting president later that year before being named president in 2014.


South Jersey Biz magazine recently named Rowan College at Gloucester County President Frederick Keating one of South Jersey’s top 50 industry professionals. This year’s Power 50 list represents successful business leaders involved in education, health care, government, nonprofit, real estate, finance and more who have worked hard to get to the top of their fields and had a far-reaching impact within the community.


Cynthia Arrington has been named Wallace State Community College’s new adult education director. She previously served at the Alabama college as an adult ed instructor and has worked as an adjunct instructor at several colleges and universities in the state.

Eugene Jones II has been named executive dean for Valencia College’s downtown campus. Prior to joining the Florida college, Jones was associate vice president for baccalaureate and workforce programs at Lake-Sumter State College.

Scott Packett was recently chosen as director of workforce development at Cleveland State Community College in Tennessee. Previously, Packett was the workforce and grant coordinator for the Tennessee College of Applied Technology.

Mensah Peterson is now dean of students at New Jersey’s Union County College. He returns to Union after having served for two years at Fairleigh Dickinson University as associate director of athletics for administration.

Elaine Polachek has been appointed to executive vice president/chief operating officer at Santa Monica College in California, effective August 21. She previously served the city of Santa Monica for 28 years in various posts, mostly recently as assistant city manager.

Bryen Spriggs is now sports information and college events administrator at Community College of Beaver County in Pennsylvania. Previously, he taught criminal justice at Marshalltown Community College and served as assistant director of admissions for the Art Institute of Pittsburgh.

Regina Suitt, vice president of Pima Community College’s adult basic education for college and career, has been named chair of a new national initiative on student engagement by Coalition on Adult Basic Education, which will help the coalition form policies and undertake actions so that students can tell their powerful stories and advocate for adult education, and literacy programs and services.

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