NextLevel Postsecondary CTE Fellowship
Cohort #2 – 2020 Fellows
ACTE announced its third class of Fellows for its 2020 NextLevel Postsecondary CTE Leadership Program, sponsored by ECMC Foundation and powered by ACTE (formerly known as the Postsecondary Leadership Success Program at ACTE – sponsored by ECMC Foundation). Nineteen fellows were selected for the 2020-2021 cohort. The NextLevel Fellowship provides professional and career growth opportunities to the next generation of leaders in postsecondary CTE programs through a nationally-recognized program that is engaging, individualized, and memorable.
Sophia Alston – Technical College of the Lowcountry, South Carolina
Dr. Sophia Alston is currently the Director for Continuing Education and Workforce Development at the Technical College of the Lowcountry. An alumna of Colgate University, and University of Wisconsin-Madison. She obtained a Master’s degree in Educational Policy and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction. For over fifteen years, Dr. Alston has created and managed programs that support underserved populations. In addition to her work as an administrator, she has continued to express her passion for education by teaching for nearly a decade.
Carol Ash – Central New Mexico Community College, New Mexico
Dr. Carol Ash is the Dean of the school of Health, Wellness and Public Safety at Central New Mexico Community College where she leads, guides, and directs a faculty and staff team of almost 400 in the instruction of 49 career technical education degree and certificate programs at multiple campuses. Carol holds an Ed.D in higher education and organizational change from Benedictine University, a Master of Science in integrated marketing communications from Roosevelt University and a Bachelor of Arts in mass communications and media arts from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.
Pam Carter – Community College of Philadelphia in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Dr. Pam Carter serves as Dean of Business & Technology at Community College of Philadelphia in Philadelphia, PA. With 23 years of higher education experience and 6 years of industry operations experience in contracting, logistics and human resources, Pam strives every day to make a positive difference in the lives of students because she believes education can change the trajectory of a person’s life. She earned her PhD in Business Administration (MIS and Organizational Behavior) from Florida State University, her MBA from University of Maryland College Park, and her BIS in Applied Business Communications from George Mason University.
William Castillo – Leeward Community College, Hawaii
William Castillo is the Workforce Development Coordinator at Leeward Community College’s Office of Continuing Education and Workforce Development. He has over 13 years of experience in education and non-profit organizations with an emphasis on adult education. William volunteers as the Treasurer for Hawaii ACTE and enjoys event planning and writing about food.
Emilie Cherry – Community College of Baltimore County, Maryland
Emilie Cherry is currently the Director of High School Collaboration at the Community College of Baltimore County. A Baltimore native, she has been a part of higher education for the past 12 years with the last seven years dedicated to Career and Technical Education programs. She serves as a liaison establishing and maintaining working relationships with Maryland county high schools, local businesses and community agencies. She is passionate about college and career readiness and student success through CTE programs. Emilie holds a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication from Frostburg State University and a master’s degree in Professional Studies with a focus in Leadership, Management and Education from Towson University.
Kimberly Dreaden – Indian Hills Community College, Iowa
Kimberly M. Dreaden graduated from the University of Florida with a Masters of Science in Agricultural and Biological Engineering and a minor in Soil Water Science. Before working at Indian Hills Community College as the Bioprocessing Program Director and head instructor, she worked in the biomanufacturing industry as a Research Specialist.
Shakari Fraser – Cowen Institute: Tulane University, Louisiana
Shakari is the Senior Manager of the Earn and Learn Program in New Orleans, Louisiana. She is responsible for ensuring program impact by implementing strategic goals and coaching the team to effectively hire, retain, and advance opportunity youth. She oversees the improvement of systems and program operations for Earn and Learn. Shakari is a graduate of Louisiana State University and hold an advance degree from Southern University at New Orleans. She is passionate about empowering young adults in New Orleans to advance along living- wage career pathways.
Kia Keyton – Greenville Technical College, South Carolina
Kia Fisher Keyton began working at Greenville Technical College in 2016 and is the Director of the Transitions Program. In her role as Director, she manages the program designed to provide 100 students enrolled in Career and Technical Education majors with support services and resources needed to complete their degree. Kia Keyton is an honors graduate of Clark Atlanta University’s School of Communications. She has a Master of Fine Arts Degree in Theatre Arts as well as a Certificate in African American Theatre from the University of Louisville. She enjoys traveling, reading, going to the movies and seeing and performing in live theatre.
Josh Labrie – Northern Virginia Community College, Virginia
Josh has more than 15 years of experience in STEM education including nine years as a K-12 teacher in chemistry and physical science as and seven years in higher education. Currently at Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA), he is director of NOVA SySTEMic, leading the college’s STEM outreach efforts. While earning a bachelor’s in chemistry and a master’s in teaching at the University of Virginia, he conducted epilepsy research, worked for the VDOT Research Council and the School of Engineering in the development and teaching of engineering kits to foster interest and excitement in STEM.
Albert L. Long, Jr. – Southern State Community College, Ohio
Albert L. Long Jr, JD “AL” has over 25 years’ experience working within workforce development, juvenile and adult populations in the area of community corrections, various roles career technical education, secondary & post-secondary education as well as the development of diversity & inclusion initiatives. “AL” obtained his B.A. in Criminal Justice from Kentucky State University and shortly thereafter his J.D. from Salmon P. Chase College of Law and Northern Kentucky University. “AL” is currently an Instructor of Criminal Justice at Southern State Community College and serves as their Diversity & Equity Specialist, as well as working a Senior Consultant for The Correctional Management & Communications Group, LLC where he works in the areas of policy development as well as liaison for public, private and governmental entities to promote expand business opportunities.
Susan Moreland – Colorado Mountain College, Colorado
Susan is a higher education administrator and former senior military officer with years of experience in curriculum development, distance education, academic and student support, and human resource management. She oversaw career, technical and adult education programs across multiple campuses, ensured accreditation compliance and improved student outcomes. Susan now works at Colorado Mountain College as the Dean, School of Nursing, Health Science and Public Safety.
Brett Richardson – St. Louis Community College, Missouri
Brett Richardson has over 15 years in higher education from roles as a faculty member to leadership. Brett currently serves as the Manager of Career and Technical Education Partnerships and Processes for St. Louis Community College. His work revolves around administering the Perkins Grant and other state CTE funding sources. He supervises a dynamic team of CTE Retention Specialists who focus on improving retention and completion rates for CTE students. Brett currently serves as the Missouri Council of Career and Technical Administrators Post-secondary Cluster Chair. Brett has his undergraduate degree from Ball State University and his MS in Administration from Southeast Missouri State University.
Rick Ross – Valley City State University, North Dakota
Rick Ross is an Associate Professor of Career and Technical Education for Valley City State University, where his duties are to recruit and train trade and industry professionals to become teachers. Rick came to Valley City State University in 1995 to implement the universities new laptop university initiative. He was responsible for writing all training and conducting that training to faculty, staff, administration and students. In 1999 Rick became a full faculty member at Valley City State University in the Business Department, in 2001 Rick took over the Department Chair of the Business Department. Rick served as Chair of the Business Department for 4 years. Rick moved to the Career and Technical Education program in 2010 where he teaches classes, assess prior learning experiences and works one on one with teachers in trade in industry.
Adrian San Miguel – Idaho Career & Technical Education, Idaho
Adrian San Miguel is the Director of Postsecondary Education & Workforce Training for Idaho Career & Technical Education in Boise. Originally from Texas, he received his degrees from Baylor University and has spent the last 14 years working in higher education in Texas, Indiana, and Idaho. His career and passion have focused on serving special populations, nontraditional students, and diversity-related initiatives. He provides state leadership for Federal Perkins and Adult Education programs at the postsecondary level. He also provides oversight of programs that are designed to create awareness and a vision of equity for special populations and nontraditional occupations through Idaho’s Centers for New Directions. He also supports and provides technical assistance to Idaho’s six technical colleges for degree & certificate career & technical education programs and non-credit workforce training center programs.
Jared Scharpen – Minneapolis Community & Technical College, Minnesota
Jared has worked in postsecondary education for over six years, and in his current role as Career Coordinator for the Minneapolis Community & Technical College Career Services Department, he coordinates programming and services provided to CTE students. Given that the college identifies as a minority-serving institution, Jared has worked authentically towards empathic cultural fluency in order to equitably serve his students while coaching them along their career pathways. Jared also works with hiring managers and organizational leaders in the Greater Minneapolis-St. Paul Area to ensure pathways that value and include the students he serves.
Jason Simon – Advanced Manufacturing Technical Education Collaborative, Kentucky
Jason is Director of the Advanced Manufacturing Technical Education Collaborative (AMTEC) where he helps lead a multi-state educational initiative with over 70 educational and industry partners. He is especially passionate about bringing industry and education to the same table in order to fill the manufacturing skilled trade shortage across the US. Jason is a proud husband to his wife Anastacia and father to six beautiful children. He is also a Marine Corps veteran where he served with 1st Marine Division.
Alberto Urbina – Houston Community College, Texas
Alberto Urbina is a native Houstonian and former welder. He completed his associate degree from Houston Community College, bachelors degree from University of Houston, and graduate degree from University of Texas at Arlington. He has been an educator for more than 15 years. He now works as the Dean for Material Science at Houston Community College in Texas.
Laura VanWaardhuizen – Iowa State University, Iowa
At 17, Laura boldly declared she would not follow in her parents’ footsteps by becoming a teacher or going to Iowa State. After earning a degree in Textiles and Apparel, she worked in both the Quality Assurance and Design departments at Lands’ End. Feeling like something was missing from her career, she returned to college to became an Family and Consumer Science teacher. After 10 wonderful years teaching high school CTE, she has transitioned now to teaching future Family Consumer Science teachers at Iowa State (and cautions everyone to be careful what they say). Her “Why?” is to equip others with the tools to make conscientious choices and achieving their maximum career and life potentials. Laura now works as the Family & Consumer Sciences Education & Studies Program Coordinator & Assistant Teaching Professor at Iowa State University.
Kelly Washington – Altierus Career College, Florida
Kelly Washington is the Academic Dean at Altierus Career College, in Tampa Florida. She has worked in the post-secondary CTE space over eight years and was formerly the Vice President for Academic Advising at Zenith Education Group, now called ECMC Education. Kelly earned her Master’s in Curriculum and Teaching from Bowling Green State University. She has two children and loves to spend time with her family at the beach!
Brittney Williams – Louisiana Community and Technical College System, Louisiana
A native of Baton Rouge (LA), Brittney Williams is committed to strengthening the educational opportunities of students by assisting state leaders in both vision and scope. She earned her undergraduate degree with Louisiana State University and her graduate degree from Southeastern Louisiana University. Currently, she is completing her Doctorate of Education at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Mrs. Williams worked extensively with the Carl D. Perkins Grant at Baton Rouge Community College for 10 years before joining the state’s career and technical education team at Louisiana Community and Technical College System. Outside of her role as a post-secondary leader, she is a devoted wife and mother of two.