New CEOs

Jonathan P. Koh is now president of Shelton State Community College. He has served in multiple capacities at the Alabama college since 2015, and most recently was dean of workforce and economic development.

As dean, Koh has led several innovative strategies that expand the reach of the college’s 16 technical services and adult education programs, including co-enrollment pathways, nationally recognized work-based learning programs, and on-demand incumbent worker training initiatives, according to Shelton State. He also oversaw the college’s pre-K program.

“There is a level of confidence a community has to have in its community college to make a difference in the needs of the businesses, industry and residents who make up a region, and for years Dr. Koh has built and strengthened the relationships that are necessary for Shelton State to be a change agent in the lives of so many individuals,” Jimmy H. Baker, chancellor of the Alabama Community College System, said in a release.

Other posts Kohn has held at Shelton State include director of grants and governmental relations. Prior to that, he worked at the University of Alabama as a research coordinator for the university’s Education Policy Center.

Mojdeh Mehdizadeh will serve as the 10th chancellor of California’s Contra Costa Community College District (4CD), pending contract negotiations and approval. The long-time 4CD employee has served as the district’s interim CEO since February 2022.

“Her commitment to our mission of transforming the lives of all our students is unwavering, and she ensures that students are at the forefront of every discussion and decision. Her 36 years of leadership at 4CD has helped us maintain our legacy of higher education excellence,” Fernando Sandoval, the district’s governing board president, said in a statement.

Prior to her interim role, Mehdizadeh was the district’s executive vice chancellor of education and technology. She also was president of Contra Costa College after serving as its interim president. Early in her career, Mehdizadeh taught speech communications as an adjunct faculty member at Diablo Valley College, her alma mater.

Interim president

Frazier Payne is now interim president at Coastal Alabama Community College. He currently is special assistant to the chancellor at Bishop State Community College.

A Shelton State Community College alum, Payne joined the Alabama Community College System (ACCS) in 2020 as a regional external and government affairs liaison before being appointed to his current position, according to a release. Payne was instrumental in Bishop State starting the state’s first aviation manufacturing technology program. More than 200 new Airbus employees have been trained through Bishop State, according to the college.

Prior to ACCS, Payne worked for two members of Congress, former Reps. Bradley Byrne and Jo Bonner.

Retirement announcement

Deneece G. Huftalin, who has served as the eighth president of Salt Lake Community College (SLCC) since 2014, plans to retire next June.

Huftalin said in a release that she looks forward to having more time to travel and spend with family and friends. She said she is particularly proud of the college’s efforts to strengthen student success, create a more inclusive environment for students and employees, and “serve as a model for colleges nationwide in affordability, innovation, equity and commitment to mission.” She also noted SLCC’s championing of the value of associate degrees and workforce training.

Huftalin has served the Utah college since 1992, joining as director of academic and career advising. She went on to serve in various capacities at the college, including dean of students, vice president of student services and interim president.

Over her nearly decade as president, SLCC has created a Promise program, developed an open educational resources initiative that has saved students $24 million and expanded its connections to local middle and high schools. The college also has restored its prison education program at the Utah State Correctional Facility, opened its Dream Center to better serve immigrant students and focused on offering more short-term training programs.

Huftalin is recognized for her workforce efforts and collaborations, leading SLCC’s effort to build the Westpointe Workforce Training & Education Center and partnering with the University of Utah to allow SLCC students to earn associate degrees and then continue their studies at the university, all at the same location at its Herriman Campus. She also holds national service positions on several prestigious organizations, including the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco’s Salt Lake City branch board of directors and the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration Steering Committee. Huftalin previously served as a commissioner and executive committee member for the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Prior to SLCC, Huftalin held roles at William Rainey Harper College (Illinois), Northwestern University, the University of Utah, Stanford University and the Institute for Shipboard Education.


Daniel López, Jr., president of Harold Washington College, which is part of City Colleges of Chicago, has been elected to serve on the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities’ (HACU) governing board. He will serve a two-year term, with the opportunity to be re-elected for a second term. López previously participated in HACU’s Leadership Academy/La Academia de Liderazgo as part of its inaugural class of 2020.

Ivan Lopez Hurtado will serve as associate vice president for academic affairs at Santa Fe Community College (New Mexico), beginning in January. He is currently provost and vice president for academic affairs at Northern New Mexico College.

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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