Jeff McCord, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, is returning to Northeast State Community College to become its president, effective September 30.

He was vice president for economic and workforce development at the Tennessee college from 2012 to 2019, when he was appointed commissioner. As vice president, he lead the college’s Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing and helped to develop Tennessee’s first registered apprenticeship program through a postsecondary institution.

Prior to his work in higher education, McCord served for more than 20 years in business and industry, including 16 years at Eastman Chemical Company. He held a variety of leadership positions related to corporate learning and development, organizational effectiveness, process improvement and information technology.


Karen H. Bearce has been named provost and vice president of academic affairs at Raritan Valley Community College in New Jersey. Most recently, she was interim vice president for academic affairs at Northampton Community College (NCC) in Pennsylvania. She previously was NCC’s associate vice president for academic affairs.

Jessica Chapman will serve in the newly created position of director of charter schools at Tallahassee Community College. She will oversee the Florida college’s charter sponsorship efforts including the creation of a new STEM Charter School, which is expected to open in August 2023. Most recently she was an assistant principal at a local school district.

Jane Fenton is taking the helm of the Normandale Community College Foundation as its new executive director. She has served as associate executive director of the Minnesota college’s foundation for more than two years.

Jennifer Lopes has been named vice president of academic affairs and will serve as chief academic officer at Jackson State Community College in Tennessee. She comes from Lees-McRae College in North Carolina, where she was dean of extended campus and online learning.

Pamela Ross McClain will serve as the first chief officer of culture, belonging and community building at Delta College in Michigan. Her previous experience includes serving as a tenured professor of education at Saginaw Valley State University and the University of Michigan Flint.

Keith Ware returns to St. Louis Community College (STLCC) as its vice president for student engagement and chief affairs officer at Meramec. He comes from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, where he was deputy director for the East St. Louis Center. Prior to that, Ware was director of the African American Male Initiative and an adjunct history professor at STLCC.

Thomas Ware has returned to Mississippi to serve as Hinds Community College‘s vice president of instruction, academics and transfer. Ware previously led academic instructional programs at Maysville Community and Technical College in Kentucky and at East Mississippi Community College, where he worked in various positions from 2005 to 2017, including as vice president for instruction.

Also at Hinds, Joseph Benjamin Earp is now director of bands. The college’s band dates back to the 1930s. Previously, Earp was director of instrumental music at Pfeiffer University in North Carolina.

Amanda Ybarra is now executive diversity officer at South Puget Sound Community College in Washington state. Ybarra, an alumna of the college, has worked there as a sociology professor since 2013.

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.