Community College Council (C3)

ABOUT

With the support of the Lumina Foundation the Steve Fund has establish a Community College Council (3C), made up of high-level national leaders and experts working at and with community colleges and their student populations across the country. The charge to 3C is to advise and support the mission of the Steve Fund as it seeks to promote the mental health and emotional well-being of students of color from transition from high school to college, throughout the college experience, and to the transition from higher education to the workforce. The goal is to drive system change through a careful review of promising practices, dissemination/support for implementation of the recommendations of the Equity in Mental Health Framework. By providing input about the scope of mental health challenges on community college campuses, defining research objectives, and data needed to support the mental and emotional well-being of students of color at community colleges, 3C will influence the lives and success of all students.

3C will informed strengthened the capacity of the Steve Fund to provide in-person and on-line delivery of its programs and services to the community college sector and higher education in general.

MEMBERS

Byron Breland
Chancellor, San Jose-Evergreen Community College District Chair, Community College Council (3C)

Dr. Byron D. Clift Breland currently serves as Chancellor of San Jose – Evergreen Community College District (SJECCD). He served as President of San Jose City College from spring of 2013 until being named Interim Chancellor in July 2018.  He was appointed permanent Chancellor by the SJECCD Board of Trustees in November 2018. Dr. Clift Breland holds a Bachelor of Science degree in consumer economics and a Master of Science degree in family studies from the University of Maryland, College Park. He also has a Master of Science degree in education and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in counseling psychology, both from the University of Southern California.

Dr. Clift Breland has held administrative positions at the University of Maryland at College Park and the University of Southern California where he successfully led community development, outreach, and student success initiatives. Throughout his educational career, he has served as an Assistant Dean, Director of Judicial Affairs, serving both the undergraduate and medical school campuses, at the University of California, Irvine, Associate Dean of Student Development at Santa Ana College and Dean of Student Affairs and Associate Vice President/Provost at Long Beach City College.

Dr. Clift Breland was a Presidential Fellow at the University of Southern California and developed a broad base of academic interests. A few of his publications and presentations include: “Factors influencing the educational and career transitions of African American and Latino community college students,” “How Mental Health Influences Degree Attainment among African American Community College Students” and “Using Civic Engagement at a Community College to Develop Community Leaders.” 

As a leader working in the field of education, Dr. Clift Breland has always known the importance of being engaged in the broader community, having served on a number of boards to promote equity in housing and economic opportunities, as well as gains in educational outcomes for traditionally underrepresented groups. Moreover, he has an extensive background leading and working with programs that create strategic community partnerships, particularly in urban environments, which have successfully served the needs of students who have been traditionally underrepresented in higher education, such as African Americans, Latinos, and Asian Pacific Islanders, or who are the first in their family to attend college.

Cesar Maldonado
Chancellor, Houston Community College

A nationally recognized leader in the engineering and manufacturing industry, Dr. Cesar Maldonado transitioned to a leadership role in higher education in 2008. Today he serves as the 8th Chancellor of the 47-year old Houston Community College District, leading a system that stretches over nearly 700 square miles in the nation’s fourth largest city, and serves over 100,000 students per year at 20 locations.

He has served as the Interim Chairman of the Border Governors Conference on Science and Technology, where he worked to foster bi-national research and technology exchange with scientists across the U.S. and Mexico border.

Dr. Maldonado has led legislative efforts to create high school/college dual enrollment opportunities in Texas and has served as a board member and twice as president of the Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District. Recognized by the Texas Tech University Industrial Engineering Academy for his contributions to industry, education and government, Dr. Maldonado was also appointed by the governor to serve as a Regent of the Texas State Technical College System. 

Through his involvement with the education community and businesses across the nation, Dr. Maldonado is actively working with the Texas state legislature on education initiatives regarding school finance and education in the STEM arena – science, technology, engineering and math.

Dr. Maldonado holds Bachelor and Masters of Science degrees in Chemical Engineering from Texas A&M University, a Doctorate in Systems and Engineering Management from Texas Tech University, and is an alumnus of the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business.

Belinda S. Miles
President, Westchester Community College, NY

Dr. Belinda S. Miles has served as president of Westchester Community College, a State University of New York (SUNY) institution serving more than 26,000 students in one of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas, since 2015. Deeply committed to student success and completion, Dr. Miles has worked with faculty and staff to achieve a 42% increase in the college’s three-year graduation rate and the largest graduating classes in its 72-year history.

Her leadership contributed to Westchester Community College being selected as a member of the Achieving the Dream network of community colleges committed to improved student outcomes and as one of two institutions selected nationally for a $1,000,000 award to support replication of the City University of New York’s Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) which doubled CUNY’s three-year graduation rate. Westchester Community College is SUNY’s first federally designated Hispanic Serving Institution.

Locally, Dr. Miles is a member of the Board of Directors for the Business Council of Westchester, the Westchester-Putnam Workforce Investment Board, and the Westchester Medical Center Healthcare Transformation Workforce Committee. Her national leadership includes board or advisory roles at the American Association of Community Colleges, COMBASE, Higher Education Resource Services (HERS), American Association of Colleges & Universities Presidents’ Trust, and the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA).

Among Dr. Miles’ numerous awards are 2017 914INC Magazine Women in Business; 2016 NAACP Education “Still Standing for Justice;” and 2016 United Way of Westchester/Putnam “Spirit of Caring.” Dr. Miles is a highly regarded regional and national presenter on a range of topics including community colleges as a disruptive innovation in academia that fosters an equitable and inclusive democracy.

Prior to joining Westchester Community College, Dr. Miles served as provost and executive vice president of Access, Learning, and Success at Cuyahoga Community College with oversight of four campuses and multiple extension sites serving 60,000 students in the Greater Cleveland, Ohio area. Her other roles at Cuyahoga included president of the Eastern Campus, dean of Academic Affairs, and assistant dean of Liberal Arts. Other previous positions include faculty and administrator roles at LaGuardia Community College, Nassau Community College, and Columbia University.

Originally from Queens, New York, Dr. Miles attended public schools including York College City University of New York (CUNY), earning a B.A. in Political Science. She attained a M.A. in Educational Psychology and an Ed.D. in Higher Education Organization and Leadership Development from Columbia University Teachers College.

Kevin E. Drumm
President, SUNY Broome Community College, NY

Dr. Kevin Drumm became SUNY Broome Community College’s 7th president in February 2010.  Since 2010 the college has added 12 new academic programs including the A.A.1, an advanced 1-year associate’s degree program and 8 new certificates. SUNY Broome has also undertaken $80 million in capital construction and renovations, including the College’s first residence hall, a state-of-the-art Natural Science Center and the renovation of a 120yrold historic Carnegie Library in downtown Binghamton for a Culinary and Events Center. Labor relations have been more positive than at any time in the past 30 years in spite of both shrinking budgets and public subsidy. Also during Dr. Drumm’s tenure SUNY Broome received the largest private gift in SUNY community college history of $11.3 million and the single largest grant at $6 million. The college also recently opened a Student Incubator in partnership with Binghamton University thanks to a SUNY 2020 Grant.  The local IDA and Chamber of Commerce, in a first for New York, are now co-located on campus in the region’s first one-stop economic development center. 

From 2004-2010 Dr. Drumm had been president of the Northern Wyoming Community College District, creating Wyoming’s 1st multi-college district where he raised over $100 million in public and private support for campus expansions and endowments. Prior to NWCCD, Drumm was VP Enrollment, Student & Public Affairs at Springfield Technical Community College in his home state of Massachusetts. He has held a variety of administrative posts at other community colleges, universities, and private colleges ranging from Student Life Director and Assistant Academic Dean to Vice President of Student Affairs.

He received his A.A. from Berkshire Community College in Pittsfield, Mass; B.S. and M.Ed. degrees from Boston University; and his Ph.D. in Organizational Studies and Higher Education from New York University.

Patricia Hsieh
Superintendent/President, Hartnell Community College District

Patricia Hsieh is the Superintendent/President of Hartnell Community College District In Salinas, California. She has broad experience and background in teaching, student services, and community college administration. Prior to her current position, Hsieh served as the President at San Diego Miramar College, Interim President and Vice President of Student Services at Sacramento City College. Hsieh studied at the Harvard University Management and Leadership in Education Program and Institute for Educational Management, and has received her doctorate in Institutional Management in Higher Education focusing on Community College Administration at Pepperdine University, her master’s in Guidance and Counseling from Wayne State University, and her bachelor’s in Western Languages and Literature from Chengchi University in Taiwan. 

In 2010 she was selected as a Fulbright Fellow to the Russian Federation to explore potential partnership opportunities with Russian higher education institutions. In 2016, she received her second Fulbright Fellowship to promote American community colleges to the French higher education community.  To represent and advocate for community colleges, she serves on the AACC (American Association of Community Colleges) Board and Executive Committee, Community Based Education (COMBASE) Board, Community College Baccalaureate Association Board (CCBA), and National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3) Board.

Hsieh is a frequent panel member at national conferences focusing on leadership development for minorities and has received many recognitions.  She was the recipient of Asian Women Leadership Award and Minority Women In Higher Education Trail Blazer Award.  Most recently, she was recognized as the outstanding alumni by Chengchi University  in Taiwan.

David Podell
President, Massachusetts Bay Community College

David Podell has served as President of Massachusetts Bay Community College since 2016.  Previously, he was Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost at the College of Staten Island, City University of New York, and Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty at Marymount Manhattan College.  

Dr. Podell’s academic area is the psychology of disabilities.  After receiving his master’s from Harvard and his Ph.D. from NYU, he was a faculty member at the College of Staten Island and a consulting psychologist at the Center for Child Development at Lutheran Medical Center in Brooklyn, working with children with learning and emotional problems from low-income neighborhoods.  He served for many years on the board of a “clubhouse” facility for young adults with mental health issues. His research has appeared in scholarly journals and is widely cited. 

The common thread of his work as a teacher, researcher, clinician, and administrator is to improve opportunities for children and adults and to achieve equity in educational outcomes.  

Debra L. McCurdy
President, Baltimore City Community College

Debra L. McCurdy, PhD, became the 14th president of Baltimore City Community College on May 1, 2019. She is a celebrated leader in higher education with more than 30 years of experience as an administrator and campus president.

For the past 11 years, she served as president of Rhodes State College in Lima, Ohio. Dr. McCurdy oversaw the transformation of the institution as it expanded its programs to include associate of arts and associate of science degrees. The college also expanded its reach into the region through distance and online programs and developed a manufacturing consortium to provide skill enhancement and training to serve 26 companies. Bringing a strategic vision for program development and growth, she was instrumental in securing increased grant funding and maintaining fiscal stability.

Dr. McCurdy previously served for nine years as provost and chief operating officer for the Dunwoody Campus at Georgia Perimeter College, and for seven years as assistant and associate provost at Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia. Earlier positions included serving as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow and vice president for academic affairs at Paul Quinn College in Texas and as assistant dean of academic affairs at Brandeis University in Massachusetts.

Dr. McCurdy earned bachelor of science, master of education and doctoral degrees from Bowling Green State University in Ohio. She has been a part of several national initiatives, and given her time to many community organizations and boards. She has also received numerous awards in recognition of her leadership.

Thomas A. Isekenegbe
President, Bronx Community College, SUNY

Dr. Thomas Isekenegbe is the sixth President of Bronx Community College, City University of New York (CUNY) where he has served in that position since being appointed in 2015. Dr. Isekenegbe has an outstanding administrative, teaching and leadership record that spans nearly 30 years at both two-year and four-year institutions of Higher Education.  

Dr. Isekenegbe was born in Agenebode, Edo State, Nigeria making him the first CUNY President originally from Africa. He graduated from The University of Nigeria with a B.SC (Honors) in Biology. He received three graduate degrees from Indiana State University, including a Master’s degree in Science Education, an Educational Specialist degree in Curriculum & Instruction, and a Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction. 

Dr. Isekenegbe has received numerous awards and honors, including the 2011 Distinguished Educator by the New Jersey NAACP, 2012 United Way of Cumberland County Volunteer of the Year, 2014 Mental Health Distinguished Community leader Award by the Guidance Center (Mental Health Services for Southern NJ) and a 2014 induction into the Cumberland County Black Hall of Fame. He was honored by the Morris Heights Health Center (MHHC) with the 2018 Leadership Excellence Award.  He has made the City and State’s Bronx Power 100 list of the most powerful and influential people in the Bronx for three years in a row (2017, 2018 and 2019). In June 2019, he was honored by the Lower Manhattan Historical Association with the Alexander Hamilton Immigrant Achievement Award

L. Marshall Washington
President, Kalamazoo Valley Community College

Dr. L. Marshall Washington is a passionate advocate for maintaining the community college open door access mission, improving student learning and success outcomes, and creating opportunities for learning.  Dr. L. Marshall Washington began his tenure as the third president of Kalamazoo Valley Community College on July 2, 2018. As the college’s new leader, he presides over a public institution with four campuses, which include student-run restaurants, state-of-the-art training facilities for health care careers and professional trades and the Kalamazoo Valley Museum.  

Washington previously served as President at New River Community and Technical College. He also served as Vice President and CEO at the Lancaster Campus of Harrisburg Area Community College (HACC) in Pennsylvania and Vice President of Student Services at Kellogg Community College in Michigan.  Washington received his doctorate in educational studies/specialization in educational leadership and higher education from University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Lincoln, Nebraska), a master’s degree in education from Winona State University (Winona, Minnesota), and a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Ohio Wesleyan University (Delaware, Ohio). Washington and his wife of twenty-six years Tonja have three children, Lauren, Ethan, and Jordan.

Colleen A. Smith.
President, Coconino Community College, AZ

Dr. Colleen Smith currently serves as President for Coconino Community College in Flagstaff, Arizona.  She has a passion for the mission of the community college that she developed during her years as a full-time faculty member at Western Wyoming Community College.  Throughout her career, Dr. Smith’s focus on the students and her collaborative leadership style have served as the driving force behind innovation and success initiatives that effectively implement policy, changes to processes, and launching new programs.  She served colleges in Texas and Wyoming in administrative positions including Dean, Vice President for Instruction, Senior Vice President and President before coming to CCC in Arizona.  

Dr. Smith earned her PhD from Texas Woman’s University and both her Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees from Texas A&M Commerce (previously known as East Texas State University).  While in Wyoming she served as a member of the Consultant-evaluator Corps for the Higher Learning Commission and while in Texas she chaired accreditation committees for the Southern Association of College and Schools Commission on Colleges.  She has served as the Community College Chair of the state-wide Undergraduate Education Advisory Committee for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and chair of the North Texas Community College Consortium. She has always served her home community, county, and state with a variety of organizations such as:  Sweetwater (Wyoming) Workforce Investment Council, Southwest Wyoming Rehabilitation Center, Wyoming Commission for National and Community Service, Cisco Civic League, Sweetwater Humane Society, McKinney Community Development Executive Board, United Way Campaign Co-chair and Goodwill Board of Directors, etc.  

She currently serves on the Boards of the Economic Collaborative of Northern Arizona and the Northern Arizona Leadership Alliance.  Having previously served as Chair, she currently serves the Board of the Arizona Community College Coordinating Council as Past Chair.  She is on the executive board of LAUNCH Flagstaff and serves on the national Presidential Advisory Board for Phi Theta Kappa.

A few of her honors and awards include Kitty Winter Magee Distinguished Scholar Award, Woman of the Year Award, Distinguished Alumni Award, President’s Award for outstanding service as a Board Member of the Rocky Mountain Theatre Association, and the Extra Mile Award.

Frank Chong
Superintendent/President,
Santa Rose Junior College

Frank Chong, Ed.D., was appointed by the Santa Rosa Junior College Board of Trustees as its new Superintendent/President effective January 2012. Dr. Chong becomes only the fifth superintendent/president of the school in its 93rd -year history. Prior to this appointment, Dr. Chong was appointed as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Community Colleges in the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Vocational and Adult Education.

Dr. Chong’s professional experience spans every level of education and politics. Prior to assuming the Laney College presidency, he served as president of Mission College in Santa Clara, CA.  and Dean of Student Affairs at City College of San Francisco.

He was an appointed member of the San Francisco Children and Families Commission, and was elected to the San Francisco Board of Education in 1998. From 1987 to 1991, he served as special assistant to Willie L. Brown, Jr., the Speaker of the California State Assembly.

Joi Lin Blake
Superintendent/President, Palomar Community College

Joi Lin Blake, Ed.D. is the 10th Superintendent/President of the Palomar Community College District/Palomar College.  Dr. Blake joined the college in July 2016 and has focused on building enrollment; fostering strong campus and community relationships; securing grant funding; and supporting the spirit of collective impact through a variety of key initiatives such as expansion of the Palomar Promise tuition-free program for high school students and funding to address food insecurities on college campuses. Under her leadership the college has opened the South Education Center in Rancho Bernardo and the North Education Center in Fallbrook.

Her previous administrative and leadership positions include serving as president at College of Alameda in the Peralta Community College District; Vice President of Student Services at Skyline College; Dean of Student Development and Matriculation at San Diego Mesa College; and Academic Senate President at Southwestern College. She also formerly served as a tenured Professor/Counselor.

At the national level, Blake served as Policy Assistant for the U.S. Department of Education, in the Offices of the Under Secretary, and Vocational and Adult Education. She has served on the California Community Colleges statewide Chief Student Services Officers Board and she is currently on the State Advisory Committee on Legislation, the CEO Student-Centered Funding Formula Task Force, and the President’s Advisory Committee on African American Presence at UC.

She holds an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership with an emphasis in Post-Secondary Education and a Master of Arts in Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling from San Diego State University, and a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Health Science and a minor in Spanish from San Francisco State University.

Kevin Glen Walthers
Superintendent/President,
Allan Hancock College

Kevin Glen Walthers, PhD, joined Allan Hancock College in July 2013 as its ninth superintendent/president.

The college serves more than 20,000 students primarily in northern Santa Barbara County. The college earned recognition four times from the Aspen Institute as one of the top 150 community colleges in the nation. Hancock College was also nominated for the prestigious Bellwether award, was awarded the 2017 Pacific Regional Equity Award, and was recognized by the Excelencia in Education for the Hancock Promise.

The Hancock Promise is the college’s signature program, providing a free first year to students who enroll full time directly from high school.  The inaugural year of the program resulted in a forty percent increase in the number of first time students enrolling at Allan Hancock College.  The college now enrolls half of all high school graduates from its service region. 

A first-generation college student, Dr. Walthers attended Eastfield College in Mesquite, Texas; holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin; a master’s degree in educational administration from East Texas State University (Commerce), and a doctorate in educational leadership and policy from the University of Utah.

Narcisa A. Polonio
Board Governance, Organizational Leadership & Strategic Solutions Independent Consultant Advisor to the Steve Fund

Dr. Narcisa A. Polonio, Serves an an independent consultant to college and universities throughout the country. She was the former Executive Vice President of Education, Research & Board Leadership Services at the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT). Serving ACCT for 18 years, Narcisa is recognized for having a long and distinguished history of providing outstanding services to boards of governance, presidents, chancellors, State systems throughout the country. Dr. Polonio is recognized as one of the leading authorities on governance and presidential leadership. She has facilitated over 600 retreats, governance institutes, and presidential searches. She provided direction for the ACCT’s annual leadership Congress, publications, research projects and leadership services including Retreat Service; Presidential Search Service; the Governance Leadership Institute; and New & Experienced Trustees Institutes. She is currently associated with the Greenwood/Asher & Associate, Inc. a nationally recognized university executive recruitment firm.

Dr. Polonio directed The Trustees for Student Success national initiative, which seeks to increase the engagement of community college trustees and governing boards in the student success movement. This initiative includes the nationally acclaimed Governance Institute for Student Success (GISS.  She provided leadership to several different initiatives, including: the Trustee Education Webinar Series, Governance Recognition Program, and Completion Symposia; supported by grants from the Kresge Foundation, Lumina Foundation, Strada Network, William & Melinda Gates Foundation, and corporate contributions.

Dr. Polonio previously served as Executive Vice President, Association of Community College Trustees, president of Harcum College (PA) and Hudson County Community

College (NJ). Other previous positions include Director of the Office of Community Colleges, New Jersey Department of Higher Education. Dr. Polonio served for seven years as a faculty member for the Institute for Educational Management, Graduate School of Education, Harvard University.