New CEOs

Scott Alsobrooks has been named president of East Mississippi Community College, effective in January. He is currently vice president of economic and community development at Pearl River Community College (PRCC) in Mississippi, a post he’s held since 2011. Alsobrooks brings three decades of higher education and professional experience to the position, having worked as an engineer, grant coordinator, faculty member and college administrator. Previously, he was PRCC’s director of workforce education and the Woodall Advanced Technology Center. Alsobrooks is also a former engineering coordinator and instructor of science and technology and the Lean Enterprise Center at the University of Southern Mississippi. Prior that he was an operations engineer for Rockwell International at the Stennis Space Center, where he later served as a supervisor for the fluid component processing facility.

Lisa Rhine will serve as the 10th President of Yavapai College in Arizona. She brings 30 years of experience in higher education at both the community college and university level. Rhine is currently provost and chief operating officer of Tidewater Community College’s Chesapeake Campus (Virginia), including the Regional Automotive Center and the Tri-Cities Center. Previously, she served at various schools, specifically in the areas of academic affairs and student services. She began her career at Sinclair Community College (Ohio) — where she previously received a certificate in deaf studies — and moved to positions at the University of Dayton, Wittenberg University and Northern Kentucky University. Rhine has an extensive background in developing successful industry-education partnerships, policy and program development, and student success and retention initiatives.

CEO retirement

Elizabeth “Sissy” Crowther, president of Rappahannock Community College (RCC) in Virginia, has announced her plans to retire on June 30, 2019. She has served as the college’s CEO for 14 years. Her experience with community colleges began early in her career, when the financial services company she worked for partnered with J Sargeant Reynolds and John Tyler community colleges to provide educational programs for its employees.

“I saw adults who had never attended college successfully complete classes, earn certificates and degrees, changing their lives for the better and expanding their job opportunities,” Crowther said. Inspired, she shifted her career focus from banking to working in the community college system.

Her first job was at RCC as a researcher, and later she became head of instruction at Lord Fairfax Community College in Virginia. After more than seven years there, Crowther joined Blue Ridge Community College as vice president for academic and student affairs. Three years later in 2004 she became president of RCC. Over her tenure as president, the college educational foundation’s assets grew from $1 million to $11 million and both campuses saw total facility renovations, in additional to two new satellite sites. Crowther also led in expanding partnerships with community organizations, agencies and businesses, focused on providing relevant instruction and training to develop the local workforce.


Raghunath Kanakala will become executive dean of engineering and technology at Richland College in Texas in early 2019. He is currently dean of technical education at Aiken Technical College in South Carolina.  Previously, Kanakala was an assistant professor at the University of Idaho – Idaho Falls College of Engineering.

About the Author

Matthew Dembicki
is editor of Community College Daily and serves as publications director for the American Association of Community Colleges.