CEO retirement

Michele Johnson, who has served for 17 years as chancellor of the Pierce College District in Washington, has announced her plans to retire effective December 31, 2022. Over her 45 years at the college, she has also served as president of Pierce College Fort Steilacoom for six years and as a faculty member for 15 years. Johnson started at the college as a part-time adjunct faculty member teaching criminal justice and sociology when the college was known as Fort Steilacoom Community College on a military base (later Pierce College Fort Steilacoom).

Johnson “is a transparent and collaborative leader building internal and external partnerships with other institutions of higher education, K-12 districts, business and industry, and community-based organizations,” Brett Willims, chair of the college’s board of trustees, said in a release. “Her strong leadership is a key reason Pierce has been selected twice by the prestigious Aspen Institute as a Top 10 finalist for their $1 million Excellence in Community College prize.”

Under Johnson’s leadership, Pierce College has garnered national awards for improving student graduation rates, fostering equity, diversity and inclusion, and serving veterans. For example, in 2017 it has received Achieving the Dream’s prestigious national Leah Meyer Austin and Leader College of Distinction awards for supporting student success. In 2016, Johnson was named CEO of the Pacific Region by the Association of Community College Trustees. For many years, Johnson also coached the women’s softball and basketball at the college and was twice named Northwest Athletic Conference Coach of the Year.


At the Community College of Rhode Island, Nathan Brown is the new chief information officer and Andrea Ray is its director of diversity, equity and inclusion and organizational development. Previously, Brown was an IT consultant for The Wing, a shared work and community space designed for women. Brown also spent more than eight years as vice president for IT and information security at, a website for families seeking care for their loved ones. Ray spent eight years as a senior human resources business partner for CVS MinuteClinic, where she led the company’s diversity efforts, including creating its first Diversity Leadership Team at MinuteClinic.

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.