CEO retirement

Cathy Kemper-Pelle, president of Rogue Community College (RCC) in Oregon, has announced her plans to retire next summer. She has led the college for five years and is its first female president. Under her leadership, RCC has strengthened its ties to local workforce development initiatives, formed strong partnerships with all of the region’s educational institutions and facilitated supportive engagement with local and state leadership groups.

“Using her data-driven approach, Cathy has transformed the institution into one which has become far more responsive — in terms of both programs and support services — to the needs of our students as well as to the expectations of our local employers,” board chair Roger Stokes said in a statement.

Kemper-Pelle, herself a community college graduate, has launched several capital construction projects, including new centers for high tech, health professions and fire science, as well as an arts building, a science building and two campus master plans. In 2019, she was recognized with three regional presidents for collaboratively developing the Southern Oregon Higher Education Consortium to leverage regional resources and address higher education and employment needs in Southern Oregon. Kemper-Pelle also has championed RCC’s implementation of guided pathways and Achieving the Dream student success strategies, and created a department of institutional research to foster data-informed decisions.

Prior to leading RCC, Kemper-Pelle was vice president of learning at Lee College in Texas from 2010 to 2016. Her previous posts included dean of institutional effectiveness and accreditation at Blinn College in Texas, and dean of academic affairs at the college. She also served as interim vice president for teaching and learning services at Tarrant County College in Texas.


Tracy Brewer has joined Highland Community College’s Business Institute in Illinois as a training coordinator. She has worked in the community and technical college field for the past 10 years, where she managed training and development programs.

Chrissy Davis Jones was recently named vice president of student affairs and enrollment management at HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College. Previously, she served at Spokane Falls Community College in Washington state, where she held several positions, including dean for student support services, interim vice president of student affairs and Title IX coordinator.

Stephanie Derfus is now dean for health sciences at Savannah Technical College in Georgia. Previously, she was program director for the college’s dental assisting program since 2008.

Erinanne Saffell, director of Mesa Community College’s (MCC) geography program and residential faculty member, has been appointed Arizona’s state climatologist by Gov. Doug Ducey. The State Climate Office — a unit of Arizona State University’s School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning — provides information regarding the state’s climate in support of operational, educational, planning and research endeavors.

John Scarpino has been named Palm Beach State College’s new athletics director. He previously was manager of the Florida college’s Student Learning Center.

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.
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