Newsmakers

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New CEOs

Deborah Casey will become the third president of Maryland’s Wor-Wic Community College, effective August 14. She is currently vice president of student affairs at Green River College (Washington).

Casey has served in higher education for 25 years in various administrative positions such as interim vice president of human resources and instruction, dean and in teaching roles at Florida Atlantic University and the University of Florida.

“We are delighted to welcome a leader and scholar of this caliber to lead Wor-Wic,” said Kimberly Gillis, chair of Wor-Wic’s board of trustees. “We are confident that Dr. Casey will be committed to ensuring that Wor-Wic continues to fulfill its goal of developing a world-class workforce and delivering excellence in education and training.”

Pamela Haney will become the sixth president of Moraine Valley Community College (Illinois) on July 1. She has served as the college’s vice president for academic affairs for the past 11 years.

The college’s board chair noted the community’s support for Haney made her stand out among the finalists for the position.

“College faculty and staff’s endorsement of Dr. Haney was meaningful as they know her dedication to student success and commitment to affordable and accessible higher education firsthand,” said Beth McElroy Kirkwood. “Dr. Haney is the right choice to lead change at the college while also maintaining a healthy culture of high visibility and transparency.”

Haney previously served as Moraine Valley’s dean of science, business and computer technology, dean of liberal arts and dean of academic services. Prior to her tenure at the college, she was a program administrator and assistant professor of communication arts at Defiance College in Ohio. Haney also taught as an assistant professor of speech communication at Norfolk State University in Virginia.

Among her other leadership roles, Haney currently serves on the board of directors for Women Employed, a nonprofit advocacy organization based in Chicago. She is also a participant on the Illinois Board of Higher Education and Illinois Community College Board Equity Plan Advisory Committee.

Tony Hawkins will assume the presidency of Broome Community College (New York).

Hawkins recently was provost/executive vice president of academic affairs, continuing education and workforce development at Frederick Community College in Maryland. Prior to that, he was dean of humanities at Montgomery College (MC) in Maryland. In addition, Hawkins has served as campus dean of art, humanities and social sciences at MC’s Takoma Park/Silver Spring campus and associate dean of English and humanities at Hudson County Community College (New Jersey). In addition, Hawkins was an associate professor of speech communication and theater at Prince George’s Community College (Maryland).

Broome Community College noted Hawkins’ research interests include exploring the relationships between community colleges and secondary school partners, issues of access and equity, and the effect of education policy on urban community colleges. He has presented on closing the achievement gap, the connection between student and academic affairs, and classroom assessment practices.

Lester Edgardo Sandres Rápalo will become the eighth president of New York’s Rockland Community College (RCC), effective July 1. He is currently provost and vice president for academic affairs at Bronx Community College in New York.

“His strong academic background, extensive involvement in community outreach, and his leadership efforts with regard to developing Hispanic-serving institution programs are the bedrock of what we were seeking in a new president,” RCC board chair Martin Wortendyke said of Rápalo.

Over his career in community colleges of more than 25 years, Rápalo has also served as provost at Union County College (UCC) in New Jersey and dean of its Elizabeth campus. In addition, he was the college’s dean of social sciences, business and history, and interim dean of American Honors. Earlier in his career, Rápalo was a professor of foreign languages and humanities at Florida’s Valencia College and he worked at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst as its study abroad program coordinator.

Among his accolades, Rápalo facilitated BCC’s win of the prestigious Innovations in American Government Award from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. While at UCC, he was named Ambassador of Education and Culture by the Desfile Salvadoreño and was recognized by the United Nations Association of El Salvador for hosting an education forum focused on educational opportunities for underserved communities throughout New Jersey. Rápalo is also a National Community College Hispanic Council fellow.

Jessica Robinson will serve as president of California’s Cuyamaca College, her alma mater, effective July 3. She most recently was the college’s interim president and vice president of student services.

“Jessica is a passionate, equity-minded leader with more than 20 years of experience in higher education,” said Lynn Neault, chancellor of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District. “She has demonstrated a deep commitment to social justice, student success and equitable access not only at Cuyamaca College but in her former leadership roles at San Diego State University (SDSU).”

Neault cited Robinson’s strengths while she was interim president include a collaborative leadership style and extensive experience in strategic and facilities planning, fiscal planning and developing student support services.

Prior to joining Cuyamaca in 2018, Robinson was assistant dean for student affairs and interim associate dean for academic affairs at SDSU’s College of Health and Human Services. She has also taught on leadership, social work and community organizing at SDSU and the University of San Diego, according to a release.

Renee Tramble Richard has been named president of the Corporate College at Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) in Ohio. She has served as the Corporate College’s interim president since September 2022, in addition to her role as Tri-C’s vice president of legal services and risk management and as general counsel, posts that she has held since 2012. She will continue serving as interim general counsel until a successor is found.

As interim president, Richard launched a market analysis to align programs and services with market and business needs; initiated a business model analysis to streamline methodologies and approaches; established an advisory council to help scope and implement an Entrepreneurship Center, with programs beginning this fall.

“Renee is a purposeful leader and strategic thinker with extensive legal, finance and business experience in a broad range of industries,” Tri-C President Michael Baston said in a release. “This background and insight uniquely qualify her to lead Corporate College and drive the advanced, flexible upskilling solutions needed for today’s workforce.”

CEO on the move

Joe Cassidy will step down as president of Southern Maine Community College (SMCC), effective August 1, to become president of Saint Joseph’s College of Maine. He has served as SMCC’s president for six years and was previously president of Washington County Community College (WCCC) for five years.

“Joe has been an exceptionally engaged and intentional leader at our colleges, and we are sad to see him go,” said Joyce Maker, chair of the Maine Community College System (MCCS) board of trustees. “He made deep, meaningful connections to the students, colleagues, and many partners and friends of the colleges. We wish him well in his new role.”

In addition to serving as president at SMCC and WCCC, Cassidy simultaneously served as interim president at Eastern Maine Community College for the 2015-16 academic year. He began his career at WCCC as a faculty member and once served as president of the WCCC Faculty Association and as mayor of the city of Calais.

Kudos

Stephen Head, who will retire August 1 as chancellor of Lone State College (LSC) in Texas, has received from the LSC board of trustees the designation of chancellor emeritus.

“Dr. Head has dedicated 39 years of service to Lone Star College in various capacities,” board chair Michael Stoma said in a statement. “His valuable leadership has helped Lone Star College become a respected institution that offers quality educational opportunities locally, nationally and globally.”

During his tenure as chancellor, which began in 2014, Head has focused on student access, equality, success and completion; academic quality; workforce programs in alignment with community needs; and collaborative agreements with educational, business and local civic organizations.

Head, who has served on the American Association of Community Colleges board of directors, previously was LSC’s executive vice chancellor and served as president at three of its campuses. He arrived at LSC in 1984, having previously served as financial aid director at what was then North Harris County Community College.

Obituary

Gerald Lamkin, who served as president of both Ivy Tech Community College and the Ivy Tech Foundation from 1983 to 2007, passed away on June 3. He was 86.

Lamkin started at the Indiana college in 1967, then called the Indiana Vocational Technical College, as a part-time instructor in 1967. He then served as a full-time accounting and management instructor before moving into a range of administrative roles, from business manager and director of education for the college’s then-Indianapolis region, to vice president of operations, before assuming the presidency in 1983.

During Lamkin’s tenure, Ivy Tech saw its enrollment grow from 45,000 to more than 120,000 students across 13 regions. Program offerings and credit and degree transfer opportunities also expanded, according to a release from the college.

“No single leader has had more impact on Ivy Tech than Gerald Lamkin. He was the father of Indiana’s community college system,” Ivy Tech President Sue Ellspermann said in a statement. “His visionary leadership transitioned the college from a vocational school and positioned it to become what it is today: Indiana’s workforce development engine.”

In 2007, the Lamkin Center for Student Success on the Ivy Tech Evansville campus was officially named in Lamkin’s honor. Also in 2007, he received the title of president emeritus for his nearly 40 years of service at the college, including nearly 25 years as CEO.

“Mr. Lamkins’s leadership and vision over nearly 25 years as president took the college from near obscurity with Indiana’s higher education system to a position of equal among equals and made Ivy Tech an institution viewed as critical to meeting the state’s economic development and education goals,” says a 2007 resolution from the college’s board bestowing his emeritus status.

Appointments

Peter Hanson is now assistant vice president of academic affairs at Jackson State Community College in Tennessee. He most recently was chief academic officer and Dean at Chatfield College, a private college in Ohio.

Emily Mendez-Bryant will join Tacoma Community College in Washington on August 14 as executive director of its foundation. Currently, she is chief development officer at United Way of Pierce County.

Chae Sweet is now vice president of academic affairs at Montgomery County Community College in Pennsylvania. She comes from the Community College of Philadelphia where she was dean of liberal studies.

Tamara Williams has been named the new chief academic officer at Forsyth Technical Community College in North Carolina. She previously was vice president of workforce solutions at Tidewater Community College in Virginia.

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.