New CEOs

Kimberly Britt has been named president of Phoenix College, which is part of Arizona’s Maricopa County Community College District MCCCD). She will begin on June 1. Britt is currently the college’s vice president of academic affairs and its accreditation liaison officer. She has 25 years of experience in higher education with a focus on building collaboration to create and reinforce support structures across institutional boundaries to ensure student success and equity, according to MCCCD.

Prior to joining the district, Britt was special assistant to the chancellor of the Virginia Community College System and previously was vice president of academic and student affairs at Reynolds Community College in Virginia for four years. Britt is a former foster youth who lived in a group home and other foster homes, which MCCCD officials say gives her a unique first-hand experience of the life-changing impact of education.

“Her personal understanding of the importance of education, commitment to upholding the values of the Maricopa Community Colleges, and impressive track record in academic advancement make me confident she will be a wonderful president,” said MCCCD Interim Chancellor Steven Gonzales.

Valerie Jones has been selected as the new president of Lone Star College (LSC)-CyFair in Texas. She has served as the college’s associate vice chancellor of academic affairs since 2019.

LSC Chancellor Stephen Head noted her accomplishments at LSC-CyFair.

“Since arriving at Lone Star College, Dr. Jones has been instrumental in the creation of three bachelor’s degrees,” he said. “She also played a key role in several accreditation projects and led the work on our reaccreditation and quality enhancement plan that will focus on improving race, ethnicity and modality equity across the system.”

Prior to LSC, Jones was vice president for instruction and chief academic officer at Odessa College (Texas) from 2013 to 2019. There, she helped to lead the college to national prominence for its student success and scheduling initiatives. She also led the effort to create two bachelor of arts degrees at the college. Prior to that, Jones served community colleges in North Carolina for 15 years as a dean, chair and faculty member in the English Department.

Karen Normandin will become president of Maine’s Kennebec Valley Community College (KVCC), effective June 1. She has served as acting president of the college since May 2021.

Normandin has worked at KVCC for more than 30 years, serving in multiple leadership positions, including vice president of student affairs, enrollment, marketing and recruitment; dean of student affairs; director of educational support services; and director of TRIO student support services.

“Karen is a champion of the KVCC community and will be an excellent leader,” said David Daigler, president of the Maine Community College System. “She has a deep understanding of the college and an unwavering dedication to its people and the broader community.”

Normandin serves on several local and regional organiztions, including vice chair of the Kennebec Behavioral Health Programs Advisory Board; executive board member of the Mid Maine Chamber of Commerce; and previously was on the Nursing Advisory Board for KVCC, in addition to being a member of multiple professional organizations. In 2020, Normandin was a John T. Gorman Fellow, which identifies and develops leaders in the public sector, and she twice received the KVCC President’s Award in recognition of her leadership within the KVCC community.

Liz Russell has been appointed president of Eastern Maine Community College (EMCC), effective June 1. She is currently vice president of academic affairs at the college, has held several senior leadership positions there since joining in 1994, including dean of student affairs, dean of student success, associate dean of enrollment management, and enrollment director.

Maine Community College System President David Daigler said Russell’s roots at the college will be invaluable in upcoming endeavors.

“Her strong ties to the EMCC family will be particularly valuable as the college expands its nursing program, institutes free college for recent high school graduates, and deepens its ties to community partners in multiple academic and workforce program areas,” he said.

Russell has held numerous positions with professional organizations, served on accreditation teams for the New England Commission of Higher Education, and led several special projects at EMCC.

Colleen Simpson is the next president of Front Range Community College in Colorado, effective August 1. She is the college’s first African American president and the second African American woman president in the Colorado Community College System (CCCS). Simpson is currently vice president of student services and regional learning centers at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College.

Over her higher education career, Simpson has had extensive experience in enrollment management, student affairs, academic affairs, teaching and leadership of multi-campuses and regional learning centers. CCCS officials say her focus on student access and on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) will further strengthen the college, which is on the cusp of becoming a federally designated Hispanic-serving institution.

“Dr. Simpson knows what it takes to run a successful multi-campus institution and is constantly finding new ways to support and engage students, employees, and the college community,” said CCCS Chancellor Joe Garcia. “Her commitment to access and inclusion will strengthen the college and ensure we meet the needs of the Front Range region, home to many of Colorado’s emerging industries.”

Prior to her current post, Simpson served as the administrator overseeing retention and student success at Bronx Community College in her home state of New York.


Will Austin (center) receives the 2022 Member of the Year award from the Association for Uncrewed Vehicle Systems International.

Will Austin, president of the Warren County Community College in New Jersey, was recently recognized by the world’s leading organization for autonomous robotic vehicle systems with its Member of the Year award, celebrating his efforts in developing the college’s internationally acclaimed training programs and supporting the fast-growing autonomous system industry.

The award from the Association for Uncrewed Vehicle Systems International recognizes Austin’s work in growing his college’s drone program from three students at its inception five years ago, to 40 currently. It is projected to enroll as many as 200 when the college’s center for aeronautics and robotics and advanced manufacturing makerspace labs open this fall.

Jo Alice Blondin, president of Ohio’s Clark State College, was recently honored as one of three Extraordinary Woman of Clark County by the Women’s Partnership Fund. The fund addresses ongoing barriers that women face as they try to achieve their full potential in the local community. Its mission is to transform the lives of women and girls in the county by mobilizing the collective power and passion of women working together through philanthropy.

Marlene Sousa, Union County College’s assistant vice president of finance, has been named a 2022 NJBIZ Leader in Finance, which recognizes New Jersey financial executives who contribute to the success of their organization and community.


Shannon Stubblefield has been named vice president of institutional advancement and executive director of the foundation at MiraCosta College as of June 1. She previously served for 10 years as chief philanthropy officer for North County Lifeline.

Mark Swadener has been promoted to vice chancellor for finance at St. Louis Community College. He joined the Missouri college in 2017 in finance and accounting. Prior to that, he was a vice president of finance at a private university.

Richard Woodfield will serve as interim vice president of academic affairs at Clark State College in Ohio. He will begin to transition into the position next month. Woodfield is currently chief academic officer for the Ohio Association of Community Colleges.

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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