Interim CEOs

Kathleen Curphy will serve as interim president of Shawnee Community College in Illinois, where she currently is vice president of academic affairs. Curphy has more than 25 years of experience as a two-year college administrator for both rural and urban multi-campus institutions. She has served as provost, vice chancellor of academic affairs, and vice president for customized training and workforce development.

Sandra Fowler-Hill is now interim president of Clark College in Washington. She had served as president of Portland Community College’s Rock Creek Campus from 2014 to 2018, when she retired. She also was vice president of instruction at Everett Community College and dean for student learning at Cascadia Community College. She began her career at Olympic College, where she worked for 19 years.

Justin Lonon, executive vice chancellor of the Dallas County Community College District, is now interim president of Brookhaven College. He joined the district’s executive team in 2005. Most recently, Lonon led the initial development of the Brookhaven College Early Childhood Education Baccalaureate Institute. He previously served as chief of staff as well as vice chancellor for public and governmental affairs.

CEO retirements

Dennis King, president of Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College (A-B Tech) in North Carolina, has announced that he will retire in January 2020. He has served as president of the college for six years. King joined A-B Tech in 1992 as vice president for student services, a position he held for 20 years. He was appointed special assistant to the president for re-accreditation in 2012 and served as interim president from January to July 2014.

Previously, King was vice president for student services at Lake City Community College in Florida, including a stint as acting president in 1987, and dean of students at Florida Institute of Technology at Jensen Beach.

During his tenure at A-B Tech, King has received several awards and honors, including the North Carolina Community College Student Personnel Professional of the Year in 2000, A-B Tech Administrator of the Year in 1998 and North Carolina Community College Institute for Future Presidents in 1998.

Prior to his career in postsecondary education, King served in the U.S. Army, achieving the rank of company commander and earning a Bronze Star for Meritorious Service in 1972.

Brent Knight, president of Lansing Community College (LCC) in Michigan, has announced that he will retire next summer after more than a decade of service at the college’s top post. His chief focus at LCC has been building academic excellence, including developing programs and training relevant to the modern workforce. In addition, he has been a steadfast advocate of affordable tuition and responsible student loan debt.

In 1976, at age 29, Knight was named president of Triton College in Illinois, becoming one of the youngest college presidents in the nation. He also served as president of Pierce College in Washington and Morton College in Illinois.

In 2015, Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero, recognized Knight for his visionary leadership by awarding him the Mayor’s Cup for Civic Excellence. In 2014, he received the Award of Excellence for CEO/board partnerships from the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). Knight currently serves on the AACC board of directors.

Knight has been recognized by People Magazine, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune and the American Council on Education as a national leader in higher education.

“Under Dr. Knight’s leadership, Lansing Community College has been at the forefront of innovative workforce training and high-tech education,” said Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan). “I have been proud to work with him and LCC’s leadership team in supporting the opening of the Center for Manufacturing Excellence, and in bringing Google to campus to provide digital skills training for businesses and job seekers.”

Joeseph Sopcich, president of Johnson County Community College (JCCC) in Kansas, plans to retire on July 1, 2020. He has served at the college for 27 years, including seven as president. Sopcich joined JCCC in 1992 as executive director of the JCCC Foundation with oversight of the Nerman Museum, performing arts and governmental affairs. The college’s board of trustees turned to Sopcich to lead a successful capital campaign that raised $20.2 million to help fund the Healthcare Simulation Center, the Regnier Center and the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art.

In 2009, Sopcich was appointed executive vice president of administrative services and president in 2013. During his tenure as CEO, Sopcich has guided the college’s priorities to be student-focused. This included the development and implementation of a comprehensive facilities master plan that fostered remodeling classrooms and the library, and created the Hugh L. Libby Career and Technical Education Center, as well as fine arts and design studios.


Michael Torrence, president of Motlow State Community College in Tennessee, is the winner of GlobalMindED’s Inclusive Excellence Leaders Award in the 2 Year and Post Graduate Higher Education category for his outstanding work and commitment to inclusion, diversity and equity. Torrence was one of three finalists in the category.

The President Emeritus James R. Campion Community Learning Commons (or Campion CLC) was dedicated last month in honor of recently retired President James Campion’s enduring contributions to Columbia-Greene Community College (C-GCC) and to its students, faculty and staff.

The C-GCC board of trustees granted Campion, the college’s fifth and longest-held president, emeritus status on the same day, following his retirement after 19 years of service. He was recognized for presiding over a period of notable growth at C-GCC, including the construction and dedication of the Professional Academic Center in 2006.


Levy Brown is now vice president of learning, student engagement and success at Vance-Granville Community College in North Carolina. He previously was the college’s vice president of academic affairs.

Andrew Lattanner is now director of Portland Community College’s Workforce Training Center, part of the regional Oregon Manufacturing Innovation Center. Most recently, from 2013 until this year, he served as legislative director, then as deputy chief of staff, for former Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Indiana).

Jamie McMahon is the new CEO of the Educational Foundation of the Community College of Allegheny County in Pennsylvania, effective August 19. He currently serves as advancement director for Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, where he has succeeded in raising funds for both Carnegie Museum of Natural History and Carnegie Museum of Art.

Kristin Olson has been named associate vice president of human resources at the Long Beach Community College District in California. She had served as Long Beach City College’s executive director of classified human resources since 2017, and has worked as the interim vice president for the past year.

Kelly Simons has been selected as senior vice president of academic affairs/chief academic officer at Columbus State Community College in Ohio. She was previously dean of liberal arts and sciences at San Jacinto College in Texas.

Kristina Whalen has been named academic vice president at Las Positas College in California. She previously was City College of San Francisco’s associate vice chancellor of instruction, enrollment management and instructional support services.

At Pennsylvania’s Community College of Beaver County (CCBC), Shelly Moore is now vice president of academic affairs/provost, and Elaine Strouss is dean of health sciences. Moore was dean of nursing and allied health at CCBC. Strouss was acting dean of health sciences at CCBC. Previously, she was a professor of nursing and program coordinator at the college, a role she held since 2006.

At Madison Area Technical College in Wisconsin, Kendricks Hooker is now dean of health education, and Rosemary Buschhaus is associate vice president of human resources. Hooker served as interim dean since November and prior to that was associate dean of arts and sciences. Buschhaus previously was director of employment and employee relations.

About the Author

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