ccDaily > Newsmakers



(From top) Rose Bellanca,
Robert Dunker, Robert Ritschel
and Larry Whitworth.

New CEOs

Rose Bellanca will serve as president of Washtenaw Community College in Michigan, effective Aug. 1. Bellanca is currently provost and chief operating officer at Northwood University. She is formerly president of St. Clair Community College (Michigan) and provost and chief academic officer at Macomb Community College (Michigan).

CEO retirements

Robert Dunker, president of Western Iowa Tech Community College (WITCC), will retire July 26 after 20 years of service. Chief among Dunker’s achievements are numerous additions and upgrades to the college’s physical plant, elevating the college to a leadership role in the community, outstanding stewardship of the college’s academic and administrative integrity, and innovations in all facets of the college’s curriculum and instructional resources. Dunker is himself a WITCC alumnus, having graduated from its first class in 1967 with a degree in drafting. He started his education career as a drafting instructor at Cochise College (Arizona). He joined WITCC in 1990 as executive vice president of instruction and was named president in 1991.

Robert Ritschel, president of Spoon River College in Illinois, has announced he plans to retire in July 2012. He has served as the college’s seventh president since August 2005. Among his achievements at the college, Ritschel, 64, cited the construction of centers in Havana and Rushville as important steps in serving the educational needs in those communities. He also noted the new Macomb Outreach Center as being a model for serving the non-credit needs of many constituents throughout western Illinois. Ritschel previously served as dean of the Alpine Campus of Colorado Mountain College and director of the Bootheel Education Center, an extension of Three Rivers Community College and Southeast Missouri State University.

Larry Whitworth will retire as president of Washtenaw Community College (WCC) in Michigan next month after leading the college for 13 years. Under his leadership, the college built a national reputation for many of its technical programs. WCC’s energy and cost savings initiatives have served as an example to others. Pioneering programs such as the Washtenaw Technical Middle College and Health and Fitness Center at WCC showcase its value to the community in innovative ways.


Gene Couch is now executive vice president at Alamance Community College in North Carolina, where he will oversee all academic and curriculum matters at the college. He previously served at Southwestern Community College (SCC) as vice president for instructional services and vice president for instruction/student services. He was also associate vice president for program development, chairman of the health science/health and human services divisions, and program director of radiography. He first joined SCC in 1985.

Janet Coogan, dean of career and technical education at Scott Community College (Iowa), has been elected chair of the Iowa Career and Technical Deans Association for the upcoming academic year. She will serve a one-year term.

Bonnie Ann Dowd is the new executive vice chancellor of business services at the San Deigo Community College District (California). She is currently the assistant superintendent/vice president for finance and administrative services for the Palomar Community College District (California). At Palomar College, Dowd previously served as chair of the department of business administration and faculty member. Currently, she is also president of California’s Association of Chief Business Officials.

Mae Kline has been named the associate vice president of human resources for Seminole State College of Florida. Kline has held management positions with Disney and ACS, a Xerox company. For the last seven years, she managed human resources functions for the YMCA of Central Florida.

Kevin Kussman is the new associate vice president of corporate and continuing education at Clark College (Washington). He comes from Hewlett-Packard, where he served as program manager/director. Before that, Kussman was a product development and marketing leader for companies across the Pacific Northwest. 

Jeff Lowrance has joined Central Piedmont Community College (North Carolina) as its new public information officer and assistant to the president. Lowrance previously served at Appalachian State University as director of communications. Prior to that, he was director of college relations at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, corporate communications manager at Delhaize America/Food Lion, and assistant director of public relations at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte.

Susan Neimand, director of the School of Education at the InterAmerican Campus at Miami Dade College (Florida), has been selected to the Florida Educator Accomplished Practices Implementation Committee (FIC). The FIC assists the Florida Department of Education and institutions of higher education with aligning teacher preparation programs’ core curriculum and assessment systems to the revised Florida Educator Accomplished Practices, which must be fully implemented by fall 2012.

Aracely Mora is now as vice president of academic affairs at Santiago Canyon College (SCC) in California. With 20 years of experience in higher education and 14 years of experience in K-12 education, Mora offers a wealth of experience, both as a faculty member and as an administrator. She worked on an interim capacity in her current position last year. Prior to that, she served as dean of arts, humanities, and social sciences at SCC.

James Toscano has been appointed to the new position of vice president for institutional advancement, a new position at Tidewater Community College in Virginia. With more than nine years of experience in community and government relations, communications and marketing, Toscano served most recently as vice president for public affairs and communications and chief communications officer for Hampton Roads Transit.

C. David Warner III has been named vice president of academic affairs at Hagerstown Community College (HCC) in Maryland. Warner returns to HCC after having served as the executive director of the University System of Maryland at Hagerstown since the center opened in 2004. Prior to that, he worked at HCC as the director of instruction. He first started working at the college in 1986. x

At Pearl River Community College (PRCC) in Mississippi, Arlene Jones has been named director of nursing education and Gwen Smith has been appointed director of career and technical education. Jones has taught nursing courses at PRCC since 2006, and Smith has been the college's Tech Prep coordinator since 2007.

At Rio Hondo College (California), Ygnacio Flores is now dean of public safety, and Lester Mesa is director of the police academy. Flores brings more than 33 years of professional experience to his new position. He most recently served as associate dean of public safety and also as the director of public safety at the college. Mesa brings more than 31 years of experience from the Brea Police Department where he was assigned to patrol, investigations and administrative divisions of the department.


Vickie Calderon, director of child care at Kids’ Cottage at Suffolk County Community College (New York), was recently honored with the New York State Association for the Education of Young Children’s Champion for Children Educational Leadership Award. She was noted for her work as a preschool master teacher and a campus child care administrator.

Emeterio “Pete” Otero, executive dean of Monroe Community College’s (MCC) Damon City Campus, has been named the 2011 Hispanic Business Person of the Year by the Rochester (N.Y.) Hispanic Business Association. The award recognizes his many contributions in enhancing the community and serving as a role model. Otero has been an advocate for education for decades, including his 29 years at MCC.