New CEOs

Melanie Dixon has been selected as the next president of American River College in California, effective January 1. She most recently was Los Rios Community College District’s associate vice chancellor of educational services and student success. Dixon joined the district as dean of student services at Folsom Lake College (FLC) in 2014, coming from a leadership post at Portland State University. Within three years, she was promoted to FLC’s vice president of student services. Over subsequent years, Dixon has served in various capacities in the district, including interim vice president of innovation and success, and Sacramento City College’s interim vice president of student services.

Madeline Pumariega will serve as the fifth president and first female president of Miami Dade College (MDC) in Florida, as of early January. In her most recent role, Pumariega was executive vice president and provost of Tallahassee Community College in Florida. She previously was the first female and Hispanic chancellor of the Florida College System. Prior to that, Pumariega was president of Take Stock in Children, a statewide nonprofit focused on breaking the cycle of poverty through education. Pumariega began her academic career at MDC and returned to work at the college for 20 years, growing her career and culminating as president of the Wolfson Campus.

Interim CEO

Shannon Jesme will serve a six-month term as interim president of Northland Community and Technical College in Minnesota, effective January 1. She has served as the college’s vice president of administrative services/CFO since 2015. Prior to that, Jesme was director of finance/CFO from 2010 to 2015. She has also served as a member of the faculty at both Northland and at the University of Mary (North Dakota), and she is a peer reviewer for the Higher Learning Commission.


Alex Johnson, president of Cuyahoga Community College in Ohio, has received the 2020 Richard H. Adler Community Leadership Award from AJC Cleveland (American Jewish Committee) for his service and commitment to northeast Ohio. The distinction is given to civic leaders who make an exceptional impact on the community and the lives of its residents.


Mary Graham, president of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, has been elected to serve on the board of directors of Mississippi Power, an energy utility with nearly 190,000 customers in 23 southeast Mississippi counties.

“Mary has a passion for education and workforce development,” said Mississippi Power President and CEO Anthony Wilson. “Our company and MGCCC have enjoyed a great partnership over the years. She is a proven leader, and I know her experience and input will be a great addition to our board.”

Liz Anderson is now executive director of advancement at NorthWest Arkansas Community College. She previously worked at the American Heart Association’s area office. She also has served as director of development for The New School in Fayetteville.

Joumana McGowan has been appointed vice president of academic affairs at Citrus College in California, as of December 7. She recently served as associate vice president of instructional services for six years at Mt. San Antonio College. Before this role, she was the college’s dean of business for more than four years.

Lenore Rodicio, executive vice president and provost at Miami Dade College in Florida, has been elected to the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce board of directors, an association representing more than 400,000 employees of member companies.

DeShaunta Stewart will lead the social and behavioral sciences programs at Austin Community College in Texas as its dean of liberal arts. Stewart previously was executive dean of social sciences at Eastfield College, which is part of the Dallas College system.

Mikecia Witherspoon is now government relations officer at Community College of Philadelphia. Witherspoon comes to the college from the Philadelphia mayor’s office, where she was deputy chief of staff.

About the Author

Matthew Dembicki
Matthew Dembicki edits Community College Daily and serves as associate vice president of communications for the American Association of Community Colleges.