New CEOs

Koffi Akakpo will serve as president of Bluegrass Community and Technical College in Kentucky, effective February 1. Currently, he is vice president for business, administrative and student services at North Central State College in Ohio. Akakpo is former deputy director/secretary for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. He’s also served as director of academic financial planning and management for Central State University and as an adjunct faculty member there.

Rachel Desmarais has been named president of Vance-Granville Community College in North Carolina. The executive vice president and chief operating officer of Forsyth Technical Community College in Winston-Salem since 2015, Desmarais has been with Forsyth Tech in a variety of roles since becoming a department chair in 2002. Once a student at Forsyth Tech, taking information technology and programming courses, Desmarais first served as an adjunct instructor at the college from 1996 to 1999 while also working in the private sector. She became vice president of information services in 2008 and moved to vice president of planning and information services in 2010 before assuming her current position.

CEO on the move

Scott Ralls will be the next president of Wake Technical Community College, effective May 1, 2019. He currently is president of Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC), which he joined in 2015. Ralls has more than 20 years of experience in community colleges, including serving as president of Craven Community College (North Carolina) and seven years as president of the North Carolina Community College System. He also has worked for the North Carolina Department of Commerce, the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Department of Labor.


Patty Arellano Tolotta is now chief marketing officer at the Dallas County Community College District in Texas. She formerly served as Texas Instruments’ global director of university digital marketing and STEM outreach program.

Patty Pfeiffer will serve as interim vice president for academic and student services at Wayne Community College in North Carolina. She is currently the college’s chief of staff and vice president of institutional effectiveness and innovation.

At Savannah Technical College in Georgia, Tiffany Donald is now admissions director and Shatealy Sims Johnson will serve as high school coordinator. Previously, Donald was associate director of admissions at Savannah State University and associate director of undergraduate recruitment at Armstrong State University. Sims Johnson was as a loan default manager and admissions specialist at Savannah State University.


Elizabeth DeChurch Strenkowski, director of admissions at Community College of Allegheny County’s (CCAC) Boyce Campus, has been named the Pennsylvania School Counselor Advocate of the Year by the Pennsylvania School Counselors Association. She was recognized for her role in developing a college- and career-ready approach at CCAC with numerous high schools in Allegheny County.

About the Author

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