2022 Alliance Annual Meeting
October 26-28, 2022
Speakers and Sponsors
Alliance Executive Committee, California Community Colleges
Marty J. Alvarado serves as executive vice chancellor of educational services with the California Community Colleges. She provides leadership and support for the Academic Affairs and Student Services Programs. In this role Alvarado is responsible for agency-wide policies and programs related to student support, instructional delivery, and curriculum with the aim of increasing student success rates and closing achievement gaps. Prior to joining the chancellor’s office team in 2019, Alvarado provided support for scaling up regional cross-sector partnerships and state systems engaged in large scale transformation. She received a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Whittier College in Whittier, CA, and a master of arts in philosophy and cultural analysis from the Universiteit van Amsterdam located in the Netherlands.
Alliance Executive Committee, Truckee Meadows Community College
Jeffrey Alexander has served as vice president of academic affairs at Truckee Meadows Community College since 2021, and he collaborates with public institutions of higher education across Nevada. Previously, he served for six years as dean of arts and sciences at Pueblo Community College, prior to which he taught history at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. Alexander is an historian of modern Japan and has published three books on Japanese consumer product manufacturing, sales, and consumption. He holds a B.A. in history from Brock University, and an M.A. and a Ph.D. in history from The University of British Columbia.
Trinidad State College
Lynette Bates serves as the vice president of academic affairs at Trinidad State College. Previously, she served as the dean of career and technical education. Her passion concentrates on first generation, Pell Eligible and students of color, their identity and social capital and to provide resources and opportunities for her students. Bates earned her B.S. and M.S. from Colorado State University. She is currently earning her doctorate at University of Colorado Boulder.
Salt Lake Community College
Agustin Bautista Silva is currently serving as an orientation and student success coordinator for the Bridge Program at Salt Lake Community College. He is responsible for providing academic support to underrepresented first generation students. He is currently co-leading the development of a STEM-focused Summer Bridge where students will have the opportunity to implement engineering concepts through a capstone project completed at the end of the 8-week program. Bautista Silva has a background working with TRIO STEM and teaching AC/DC circuits. He earned his B.S in electronics engineering from Weber State University in 2021.
Senior Research Analyst, Policy Analysis and Research
Peace Bransberger has been a researcher with WICHE for 10 years. She leads the production and analysis of WICHE’s projections of high school graduates and other research focused on equitable college access, success and financing. Previously, Peace was a consultant and evaluation researcher with the Aspen Institute’s Economic Opportunities and Workforce Strategies Initiatives and Westat’s education and mental health evaluations, in Washington, DC, as well as a licensed adult educator. Peace is a former foster youth and first-generation college graduate with an M.A. from American University, Washington, DC and B.A. from St. Cloud State University, Minnesota.
Alliance Executive Committee, Laramie County Community College
Kari Brown-Herbst is the interim vice president, academic affairs at Laramie County Community College (LCCC) in Cheyenne, Wyoming. As the college’s chief academic officer, Brown-Herbst provides executive oversight and strategic guidance in the planning, development, and implementation of all aspects of academic programming as well as instructional support services. Brown-Herbst also serves as a representative to the LCCC Foundation Board, is the Wyoming Passport State Facilitator, and is also a member of the Peer Review Corps of the Higher Learning Commission. She received an Ed.D. in instructional technology from the University of Wyoming, her master’s in education technology from Marian University (Wisconsin) and her bachelor’s in sociology with an education endorsement from Kalamazoo College (Michigan).
Salt Lake Community College
Richard A. Diaz has served as the director of the Orientation and Student Success Department at Salt Lake Community College since 2013. He leads an energetic team responsible for leading new student orientations and subsequent programs aimed at supporting students to complete their academic goals. Diaz brings previous experiences as an ethnic studies and education faculty, and as a seasoned student affairs practitioner with roles in the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, Admissions, and TRIO. Diaz received his academic training at the University of Utah where he earned a B.U.S in social justice education, and an M.Ed. in educational leadership and policy with an emphasis in student affairs.
Alliance Executive Committee, Lake Area Technical Institute
Mike Cartney is president of Lake Area Technical College, Watertown SD, recipient of the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, and commonly ranked as the top community college in the nation. He was also recently re-appointed as a commissioner for the Midwestern Higher Education Compact, serves on the Air University Board of Visitors, and also serves on the executive committee for the Alliance. Cartney testified to the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee, on education’s role in addressing the skilled workforce gap and making the country more competitive. He holds a B.S. in computer science from the U.S. Air Force Academy, a M.Sc. in numerical analysis for Automated Data Processing (ADP) from Purdue University, attended numerous national and international military schools, and was a National Fellow to Harvard University’s Program on Information Resources Policy.
Montana Department of Labor & Industry
Scott Eychner was born in San Antonio, Texas to a career Air Force officer which allowed him the opportunity to live in locations and experience cultures all over the world. Growing up in this type of ever-changing environment instilled in him an appreciate and even desire for change. Eychner has spent 25 years in the workforce development world and serves as administrator of workforce services at the Montana Department of Labor & Industry. His passion for workforce development built itself over time through various positions and fantastic opportunities to be a part of helping others. Today he continues to work to understand Montana’s unique and dynamic workforce challenges and focus on making sure the public workforce system is a relevant and active partner in helping businesses and individuals address those challenges.
Salt Lake Community College
Penina Fitiao is serving as a success advocate coordinator for the Bridge Program at Salt Lake Community College. The Bridge Program provides guidance to first-generation, minoritized, LGBTQIA+ students who are transitioning from high school to college. Fitiao is passionate about guiding students through the labyrinth of higher education and empowering marginalized voices. She has acquired numerous talents from varying industries including International Rescue Committee, Fabian VanCott, Pharmacotherapy Outcome Research Center and Surgical Pathology at ARUP Laboratories. Fitiao received her B.A. in international studies, emphasis in Latin American studies from the University of Utah in 2016.
Arapahoe Community College
Stephanie J. Fujii, Ph.D. serves as the president of Arapahoe Community College in Littleton, Colorado. She is a passionate, outcomes-oriented, community college leader with over 30 years higher education experience in student services, instruction, and workforce/career and technical education. Prior to moving to administration, she was tenured faculty, division chair, and faculty senate president. Past administrative experience include service as a system/district level director leading and facilitating instructional support services and programs between ten colleges, a college instructional workforce dean, and a vice president of academic affairs. Fujii received B.A. in communication and M.A. in counseling and educational psychology from the University of Nevada, Reno and Ph.D. in educational leadership and policy studies from Arizona State University.
Salt Lake Community College
Tranquilino “Kino” Hurtado is a second year Ph.D. student at the University of Utah. He earned a B.A. in economics from the University of New Mexico and a M.A. in counseling from New Mexico Highlands University. His research interests are centered on closing the racial transfer gap that exists between Latina/o/x students and White students from a community college to a public 4-year institution. He currently serves as the assistant director of the Orientation and Student Success Office at Salt Lake Community College. In this role, he is responsible for designing and implementing a summer bridge program. The summer bridge is designed to help incoming freshman from historically underserved backgrounds succeed in the transition from high school to college.
Director of Academic Affairs, Colorado Community College System
Danen Jobe has served as Director of Academic Affairs since 2019. He works with faculty and staff at the system colleges on such items as course content, accreditation issues, work on internal policies and procedures, and inter institutional articulation agreements along with working closely with external entities such as the Colorado Department of Higher Education. Previously, he served as Vice President of Instruction at Northeastern Junior College, was a faculty in English, and an Associate Dean of Humanities. Jobe received his B. A. in English and MFA in Fiction and Poetry from the University of Arkansas.
Michele L. Johnson, Ph.D., has served as chancellor/CEO of Pierce College since 2005. She leads a mission-driven, data-informed, equity-minded community college district committed to supporting student success and building an anti-racist institution. She collaborates with institutions of higher education, K-12 districts, and community and business/industry partners, to improve access to and quality of education. Previously, she served as president of Pierce College Fort Steilacoom and was a professor in criminal justice/sociology for 15 years. Johnson received her B.S. and M.A. in police science and administration from Washington State University and Ph.D. in educational policy and management from University of Oregon.
Westchester Community College
Belinda S. Miles, Ed.D., has served as president of Westchester Community College since 2015. Her leadership contributed to the college’s selection to the Achieving the Dream network; the founding a full Honors College; and procurement of a major gift to establish the Center of Excellence in Cybersecurity. Previously, she served as provost and executive vice president at Cuyahoga Community College. Miles received her B.A. in political science from York College (CUNY), and an M.A. in educational psychology and an Ed.D. in higher education organization and leadership development from Columbia University Teachers College.
Educational Equity Officer, Colorado Department of Higher Education
Dr. Roberto Montoya has worked and researched at all levels of the educational system. He began his career as a diversity recruiter for Colorado Mesa University and traveled across the state and Southwest to recruit students from diverse populations. He worked in enrollment at Regis University, and more recently, at the University of Colorado Denver as an instructor and on various research projects and grants that focused on educational equity and justice in public PK-12 schools and higher education. He also worked in the private sector and with government agencies and nonprofits.
In August 2021, The Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE) hired Dr. Montoya, to take on the new position and serve as the first-ever chief educational equity officer. The new position supports the Department’s diversity, inclusion, justice, and equity goals and promotes the vision of a Colorado higher education community that is inclusive and deliberate in erasing the persistent equity gaps in educational attainment across all student demographic categories. The chief educational equity officer serves as a catalyst and advocates for educational equity initiatives and systemic change at Colorado’s institutions of higher education to develop quick and sustaining results that support historically minoritized and underrepresented students.
Dr. Montoya has numerous peer-reviewed publications, holds a B.S. in political science from Colorado Mesa University, an M.A. in ethnic studies from Regis University, and a Ph.D. in education and human development from the University of Colorado Denver. Forged in the barrios of Albuquerque, New Mexico, Dr. Montoya is committed to community, praxis, and elevating epistemologies. He is a father, husband, scholar, educator, and self-proclaimed jazz and hip-hop head.
Colorado Northwestern Community College
Keith Peterson has served as the vice president and chief academic officer of Colorado Northwestern Community College (CNCC) since 2018. He is the former chair and current member of the Colorado Community College System Rural College Consortium, a group dedicated to the advancement of and equitable distribution of resources for community colleges in the state of Colorado. Prior to his time at CNCC, Peterson spent five years as the dean of workforce education and economic development at Northwest Arkansas Community College. Peterson received his B.S. in communication from the University of Texas-Tyler and an M.A. in communication from Arkansas State University.
Pasadena City College
Laura M Ramirez, Ed.D., has served as assistant superintendent vice president of instruction at Pasadena City College since 2021. Previously, she served at East Los Angeles College for 20 years as a tenured faculty, dean and vice president of instruction and three years at Rio Hondo Community College as vice president of instruction. Ramirez received her B.S. in chemistry from the University of California, Los Angeles. She received her M.S. in chemistry and Ed.D. in educational leadership from California State University, Fullerton.
Tammy Robinson serves as the vice president of instruction at Cañada College in Redwood City, California. Prior to this position, she served as the dean of global learning programs and services and dean for social science and creative arts at Skyline College in San Bruno, California. Robinson has over twenty years of experience as a community college administrator and faculty member. Robinson holds a doctorate in education with an emphasis in community college administration from the University of Southern California, a M.A. degree in English with an emphasis in rhetoric and composition from California State University, Dominguez Hills, a B.A. degree in political science from the University of California, Los Angeles and an A.A. degree in social science from Cerritos College.
Alliance Executive Committee, Alliance Chair, Salt Lake Community College
Clifton Sanders has served Salt Lake Community College(SLCC) as provost for academic affairs since 2015. He is chief academic officer at SLCC, overseeing instruction and training for more than 61,000 students annually. Previously, he served in several roles at SLCC, including assistant professor of chemistry, division chair for natural sciences and communication, and dean of science, mathematics and engineering. Prior to his tenure at SLCC Sanders was a senior research scientist and co-inventor on six patents in biomaterials technology. He received his B.A. in chemistry from Hamline University and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Utah.
Alliance Executive Committee, Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges
Carli Schiffner serves as the deputy executive director of education at the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges. She is a dedicated leader in higher education, with over fifteen years of progressive senior leadership experience in positions including interim university president, university provost, vice president for instruction, and dean of arts and sciences. Schiffner values servant leadership, collaboration, quality improvement, focusing on the whole student, an entrepreneurial spirit, equity, hard work, and a sense of humor. She has a B.A. in history and political science from Gonzaga University; a M.A. in cultural and intellectual history from Drew University; and a Ph.D. in American women’s history from Washington State University.
Washington State Board of Community and Technical Colleges
Laura Schueller began serving as a policy associate in the Student Success Center at the Washington State Board of Community and Technical Colleges in the fall of 2019. Her current work is focused on placement reform, mathematics corequisites, and supporting colleges across Washington in their Guided Pathways work. She has more than 30 years of classroom experience and has worked on projects on equitable placement practices, pre-college math reform, and curriculum alignment. She received her B.S. in mathematics from Penn State University and Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Kentucky.
Central Wyoming College
Kathy Wells, DNP, RN, CNE, has served as the vice president for academic affairs at Central Wyoming College (CWC) since 2015. As the institution’s chief academic officer, she works with faculty and academic support staff to ensure relevant, experiential student learning. She collaborates with academic leaders across the state to advance initiatives to meet the needs of communities, employers, and other educational partners. She is a professor of nursing education, and currently serves on the local hospital board and on various advisory boards related to higher education and healthcare. Wells received her A.A.S. in nursing from CWC, her B.S. in nursing from Weber State University, her M.S. in nursing from the University of Wyoming, and her D.N.P. in educational leadership from American Sentinel University.