CEO on the move

Patricia Hsieh is now superintendent/president of the Hartnell Community College District in Salinas, California. She had served as president of San Diego Miramar College for 14 years. During her tenure there, Hsieh presided over the implantation the $560-million Proposition S and Proposition N bond projects, which allowed Miramar to modernize its teaching, learning and service delivery facilities to not only expand student access for its diverse student body, but also to deliver student success outcomes. She also oversaw numerous programs that led to improved student success, including the Freshman Year Experience Program and the Academic Success Center. Hsieh is also noted for her dedication to providing active military personnel, their families and veterans with educational opportunities.

Over her 38-year career in education in California, Hsieh has served in many posts, starting in 1976 as an adjunct faculty member. She also has served on many national, regional and local boards. She is a member of the board of directors of the American Association of Community Colleges. In 2014, Hsieh was a recipient of the Higher Education Trail Blazer Award by Diverse Issues in Higher Education.

New CEOs

Marcia Conston will become the next president of Virginia’s Tidewater Community College at the beginning of 2020. She has worked in higher education for more than 30 years, starting her career as director of institutional research at Jackson State University in Mississippi in 1987. In 1994, Conston became vice president for institutional effectiveness. In 2001, she was named vice president for enrollment and student success services at Central Piedmont Community College (North Carolina) – a position she held for nearly 20 years. Conston has also taught throughout her career, serving as a part-time associate professor at Benedict College from 1995 to 1996, and as an adjunct instructor at Wingate University for two years beginning in 2012. As an evaluator for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Conston has evaluated 14 institutions for reaccreditation, including two Virginia community colleges.

Nick Nissley will become the 11th president of Northwestern Michigan College on January 1. He is currently executive director of The School for Creative & Performing Arts in Cincinnati. He has 25 years of experience in leadership roles spanning K-12, community college and university settings in both the U.S. and Canada. Before his current post, Nissley was dean of business technologies at Cincinnati State Community College from 2010 to 2015. Prior to joining Cincinnati State, he was executive director for the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, Canada’s premier arts and culture institution.

Interim CEO

William Aiken is now interim president of Southeastern Community College in North Carolina. Aiken was president of Sampson Community College (North Carolina) from 2000 to 2012, and later served as interim president at six North Carolina community colleges, including Rockingham, Robeson and Wake Technical.

CEO kudos

William Serrata, president of El Paso Community College (EPCC) in Texas and a member of the American Association of Community Colleges board of directors, has received the Association of Community College Trustees’ 2019 Marie Y. Martin Chief Executive Officer. The award honors chief executive officers who demonstrate commitment to excellence in advancing the community college movement. The award also recognizes community college CEOs for supporting innovation, service to postsecondary education and strong leadership.

“Dr. Serrata embodies the dynamic and visionary leadership ACCT seeks to recognize, not only for making a measurable impact at EPCC, but also for his commitment to education locally, regionally and nationally,” ACCT said in a press release.

CEO obituary

Art DeCabooter, the former president of Scottsdale Community College (Arizona) and a longtime civic leader, died on October 9 after a long bout with Parkinson’s disease. He was 78. DeCabooter served for 30 years as president of the college, retiring in 2008 at age 67. DeCabooter was 36 years old when he became SCC’s first president in 1978. Prior to SCC, DeCabooter served at Black Hawk College (Illinois) as acting provost of the East Campus from 1971 to 1973 and as vice president from 1974 to 1978.


Rhonda Gregory has been promoted to dean of academic support at Volunteer State Community College in Tennessee. She had been director of distributed education at the college since 2015.

Eric Heiser will serve as provost at Central Ohio Technical College, effective January 2. He is currently dean and director of career and technical education at Salt Lake Community College’s School of Applied Technology and Technical Specialties.

Carmen Lidz will serve as vice chancellor and chief information officer to oversee information technology at the Los Angeles Community College District, effective November 6. Lidz is a technology executive with more than 20 years of leadership experience driving strategic change for IT initiatives. She previously was chief information officer and vice chancellor for the City Colleges of Chicago.

In Georgia, Gwinnett Technical College recently announced the promotion of Stephanie Rooks to vice president of adult education, and the addition of Ebony Starks as executive director of the Gwinnett Tech Foundation. Rooks was previously dean of adult education at the college. Starks previously was development manager for the Gwinnett Housing Corp.

About the Author

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