Newsmakers

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New CEO

Aaron Milner will be the next president of Coastal Alabama Community College as of February 1. He currently is superintendent of Saraland City Schools in Alabama.

“Aaron has nearly 30 years of educational experience but brings a fresh perspective on the changes that must happen for more students to pursue success, so I am confident that his expertise will continue to help move the region forward,” Jimmy Baker, chancellor of the Alabama Community College System (ACCS), said in a release.

Milner began his career in education as a middle school teacher and within six years was named an assistant principal at an area high school. He then became superintendent of that school in 2010 until 2013, when he began his tenure as superintendent of Saraland City Schools.

Interim president

Suri Duitch was named interim president of Kingsborough Community College in New York, effective January 29.

Duitch’s appointment brings her back to the City University of New York (CUNY) system after serving for seven years as dean and vice president for academic innovation at the Tulane University School of Professional Advancement. Prior to that, Duitch worked in CUNY’s Office of Academic Affairs for a decade, serving as the university dean for education and workforce development and deputy to the senior university dean for academic affairs. The two-time CUNY alumna also was previously part of the founding leadership team of CUNY’s School of Professional Studies and served as director of program development for the school, which was established in 2003 as CUNY’s premier school for adult learners.

CEO retirement announcement

Nick Neupauer, who has served as president of Pennsylvania’s Butler County Community College (BC3) for 17 years, plans to retire at the end of the year.

BC3 has seen major expansion under Neupauer’s leadership, which began in 2007. In 2008, the college opened a location at Lawrence Crossing, and in 2011 it expanded its location at LindenPointe; in 2013, BC3 opened at Brockway, followed by Armstrong in Manor Township in 2015. In 2023, it opened the relocated Armstrong campus in Ford City and the Victor K. Phillips Nursing and Allied Health Building on the college’s main campus in Butler Township.

It was upon completing the last two projects that the 56-year-old gave thought to retirement.

“I’ve had retired presidents tell me, ‘You will just know when,’” Neupauer said of his departure in a press release. “And after the completion of BC3 @ Armstrong and the Victor K. Phillips building, that internal voice became louder and louder, telling me, ‘Now’s the time.’”

Part of the college’s strategy to expand was to extend its academic reach and access to areas of the state that were underrepresented in higher education, Neupauer said. That also expanded its fundraising, he added. Since Neupauer started as the eighth and longest-serving CEO of BC3, assets in the college’s education foundation have increased 144%, to $21.7 million. The foundation has received one $3 million gift and six $1 million contributions since 2014, according to the college.

The college also has expanded its workforce development programs under Neupauer, partnering on nursing programs with Penn Highlands Healthcare, Concordia Lutheran Ministries and Grove City College. In addition, it has focused on addressing other community college needs and serving its civic duty. For example, BC3 has created programs for those in recovery from opioid addiction, a pantry for food-insecure members of the college community, hosts a township polling station for voters and provides frequent free use of its facilities for Butler County government.

Among other appointments and kudos, Neupauer has served as board chair of the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges and chair of the Community Colleges of Appalachia. He is a recipient of the Shirley B. Gordon Award of Distinction, a prestigious award from the international academic honor society Phi Theta Kappa, and the Jean B. Purvis Community Cornerstone Award, presented to an individual who has contributed significantly to the health and well-being of the community.

Neupauer joined BC3 in 1999 as dean of humanities and social science. He served as vice president for academic affairs from 2004 until his appointment as president.

Kudos

Kathleen Hetherington, president emeritus of Howard Community College (HCC), last week was named a recipient of the 2024 Foundation Award for Leadership Excellence in Education from the Baldrige Foundation. The honor recognizes “outstanding individuals, leaders and supporters who embody Baldrige leadership and management values and principles, and who have provided outstanding service to the Baldrige community and beyond.”

“It was a wonderful surprise to receive it and quite an honor,” Hetherington said.

Under Hetherington’s leadership, the Maryland college received the 2019 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award in the category of education. It is the nation’s only presidential-level honor for performance excellence in organizations.

Hetherington retired as the fourth president of HCC in 2021 and now serves as a consultant.

Appointments

Danielle Lopez has been appointed the first director of diversity, equity and inclusion for accessibility services at Hudson County Community College in New Jersey. Previously, she served for 10 years as assistant director and academic counselor at the City University of New York (CUNY) Center for Student Accessibility.

Katie Lynch is the new provost and vice president of academic affairs at Brookdale Community College in New Jersey. She most recently was the officer in charge of academic affairs at Rockland Community College in New York.

Ben Melson is now vice chancellor of strategic engagement and communications at Lone Star College (Texas). He previously was director of advocacy with Moak Casey, LLC, where he oversaw marketing communication strategies, strategic planning and community engagement.

Kecia Peterson, who has served as an adjunct instructor in adult education at Guilford Technical Community College (North Carolina) since 2021, has been named the college’s associate dean of adult education.

Diane Ryan is now vice president for academic affairs at Harford Community College in Maryland. She previously was vice president of academic affairs at Yavapai College in Arizona.

Jasmine Sanders will serve as the next executive director of human resources at Savannah Technical College in Georgia. Most recently, she was a talent development manager for Virginia Peninsula Community 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.