Chancellor King Announces 34 SUNY Fellows Complete the Inaugural New York State Community College Leadership Academy Program

June 18, 2024

Program Designed for Emerging Leaders is Funded by Ascendium Education Group, the ECMC Foundation, and the Kresge Foundation 

Photos of Inaugural Class Are Available Here  

Albany, NY
– State University of New York Chancellor John B. King Jr. today announced the completion of the inaugural New York State Community College Leadership Academy. Thirty-four fellows—both faculty and staff—from across SUNY’s community colleges participated in the leadership development program designed for emerging leaders to strengthen their critical skills and knowledge to build their campus’s capacity and improve student outcomes.  

New York State, along with Ohio, Michigan, and Texas, were selected to launch and scale up leadership development programs for college practitioners through a year-long curriculum from the Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program. The program is funded by the Ascendium Education Group, the ECMC Foundation, and the Kresge Foundation, to strengthen the pipeline of leaders within community colleges who can implement evidence-based reforms that help more students succeed. 

"We are very proud of the knowledge and skill of the talented faculty and staff across SUNY's community colleges," said SUNY Chancellor King. "The New York State Community College Leadership Academy reflects SUNY’s commitment to developing the next generation of leaders who will strengthen our communities, elevate student success, and ensure New York State has a pipeline of talented and visionary leaders." 

SUNY Board Trustee Robert J. Duffy said, "Investing in leadership is critical to the success of SUNY campuses and ultimately, the success of SUNY students. These fellows were selected for this fellowship thanks to their potential to become our next generation of leaders, guiding campuses wisely to ensure every New Yorker has an affordable, accessible and welcoming place at SUNY that positions them for success." 

Johanna Duncan-Poitier, Senior Vice Chancellor of Community Colleges and the Education Pipeline, who oversees this program stated, "the exceptional talent and expertise of this inaugural cohort is unparalleled. We thank these outstanding fellows for their commitment to this important work and are excited about their future impact on SUNY’s community college campuses." 

The fellows were nominated by senior leaders on their campuses based on their proven leadership and experience. The first class of the NYS Community College Leadership Academy Fellows program are: 

SUNY Adirondack 

  • Christine O’Connor, Professor of Chemistry 
  • Jenny Postlethwaite, Director of College Access & Students Success 

SUNY Broome 

  • Stephanie Malmberg, Assistant Dean 

Cayuga Community College 

  • Virginia Rudnick, Director of Institutional Research & Planning 

Columbia-Greene Community College 

  • Andrew Ledoux, Dean of Student Development 

SUNY Corning 

  • Sarah Tronkowski, Librarian 

Finger Lakes Community College 

  • Lindsey Chamberlain, Executive Director of FLCC Association 
  • Ryan McCabe, Associate Vice President of Academic Technology and High Impact Practices 

SUNY Fulton-Montgomery Community College 

  • Daniel Fogarty, Associate Dean of Academic and Student Affairs 
  • Pamela McCall, Associate Dean of Student Success, Retention and Opportunity Programs 
  • Emily Towne, Director of Behavioral Health Workforce Education & Training 

Genesee Community College 

  • Christa Aldrich, Executive Director of Human Resources, Genesee Community College 
  • Jennifer Wakefield, Executive Director, Workforce Development, Genesee Community College 

Hudson Valley Community College 

  • Ian LaChance, Vice President for Student Affairs, Hudson Valley Community College 
  • Ronalyn Wilson, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, Hudson Valley Community College 

Jamestown Community College 

  • Laura Parmenter, Director of Online Learning 

Mohawk Valley Community College 

  • Michael Adamo, Assistant Director, Financial Aid 
  • Jake Mihevc, Dean of the School of STEM 

Monroe Community College 

  • Kelsey Bright, Associate Vice President, Academic Affairs 
  • Quent Rhodes, Associate Vice President, Facilities 

SUNY Niagara 

  • Alissa Shugats Cummings, Vice President of Student Services 

Onondaga Community College 

  • Dana Acee, Director of Career and Transfer Services 
  • Ryan Nellenback, Director of Student Onboarding 

SUNY Orange 

  • Gabriella Ammiano, Program Director, PROSPERAR/Title V 
  • Jean Leandre, Vice President for Workforce, Strategy and Innovation 
  • Adrienne Victor, Director, Center for Student Involvement 

Rockland Community College 

  • Joseph Falco, former Executive Director, Student Success 

SUNY Schenectady County Community College 

  • Mark Bessette, Assistant Dean of Financial Aid and Access 

Suffolk County Community College 

  • Carol Wickliffe-Campbell, Chief of Staff 

Tompkins Cortland Community College 

  • Tracey Brunner, Office of Diversity Education & Support Services Program Coordinator 
  • Anndrea Mathers, Assistant Provost 

SUNY Ulster 

  • Penny Rifenburgh, Assistant Professor and Chair of the English, Language, and Philosophy Department 

SUNY Westchester Community College 

  • Dave Arons, Division Coordinator of Career & Technical Education 
  • Abigail Morrison, Assistant Dean of Curriculum and Academic Programs 

The NYS Community College Leadership Academy Advisory Board members include:  

  • Randy VanWagoner, President of Mohawk Valley Community College, Chair of the Advisory Board 
  • Ed Bonahue, President, Suffolk County Community College
  • DeAnna Burt-Nanna, President, Monroe Community College;  
  • Dante Cantu, Vice President & Dean of Student Affairs, SUNY Westchester Community College
  • Erika Hackman, Vice President for Academic Affairs, SUNY Orange
  • Lew Kahler, Vice President for Learning & Academic Affairs, Mohawk Valley Community College;  
  • Amy Kremenek, President, Tompkins Cortland Community College; and 
  • Carol Ross, Vice President for Student Development & Chief Diversity Officer, SUNY Broome

The National Center for Inquiry & Improvement is leading this national scale-up project with colleagues at the Aspen College Excellence Program and the Success Center for Ohio’s Community Colleges. The curriculum for this project draws on Aspen’s Curriculum for Community College Excellence and includes the following content sessions: The Essential Roles of Leadership in Student Success; Keeping Students’ End Goals in Mind; The Student Experience; Leadership Traits to Drive Change; Managing and Advancing Institutional Change and Effective External Partnerships & the Leadership Journey. The project partners will support the selected states as they replicate Ohio’s successful program over the next three years.  

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the country’s oldest school of maritime, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.4 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2023, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunities, visit

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