Leadership Profiles

Blue Ribbon Panel members participate and benefit from involvement in CCCIE by:

  • Sharing promising practices for advancing immigrant education program and policies.
  • Partnering with other community colleges and organizations to create programs that enhance immigrant students’ career opportunities.
  • Presenting at national and state conferences to raise the visibility of their colleges’ immigrant education programs and share their expertise with others.
  • Serving as advocates, articulating the reasons that immigrant education is essential to ensure that our communities thrive socially and economically.
  • Participating as ambassadors to professional associations, conveying their expertise in and enthusiasm for immigrant education.

Teresita Bango Wisell

Vice President, Workforce Development and Community Education, Westchester Community College, Valhalla, NY
Executive Director, Community College Consortium for Immigrant Education

Teresita (Tere) Wisell serves as Vice President of Workforce Development and Community Education (WDCE). The Division houses programs and services that support workforce development and lifelong learning for the diverse population of the college’s service area. Programs include ESL, public workforce training programs, and employee training.

Jill Casner-Lotto

Director, Community College Consortium for Immigrant Education, Westchester Community College, Valhalla, NY

Jill Casner-Lotto, Director of the Community College Consortium, is a writer and research analyst with over 25 years’ experience in workforce development topics, including various human resources and labor-management issues. Her most recent work with Westchester Community College and Norwalk Community College included a regional gaps and needs analysis on the employment and educational opportunities for working-age adults and young people with disabilities.

Juan Carlos Aguirre

Director of Continuing, Professional and Workforce Education, South Texas College, McAllen, TX

After working for 15 years in the chemical industry, Juan Carlos Aguirre joined South Texas College in 1997 as a Training Specialist for the Partnership for Business and Industry Training department, where he became Director in 1999.

Kevin Christian

Senior Program Associate for Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity, American Association of Community Colleges, Washington, D.C.

Kevin A. Christian serves as the Senior Program Associate for Access and Inclusion for the American Association of Community Colleges.  In his role at AACC, he is the staff liaison for the AACC Commission on Diversity, Inclusion and Equity.

Núrí Chandler-Smith

Dean of Academic Support and College Pathway Programs, Bunker Hill Community College

Núrí Chandler-Smith oversees the Boston Welcome Back Center for Internationally Educated Nurses, as well as an array of support, college transition, and partnership programs. She is an artist, activist and educator from Boston, MA

Maria del Carmen De Luna-Jones

Offsite Coordinator, Brackenridge Education & Training Center, Alamo Colleges, San Antonio, TX

Maria del Carmen De Luna-Jones is the district-wide point of contact in serving immigrant students for the Alamo Colleges. She has served with the Alamo Colleges for over 25 years in various student support and workforce development positions.

Paul Downs

Director, Silicon Valley ALLIES (Alliance for Language Learners’ Integration, Education, and Success), CA

Paul Downs is a strategy and organizational consultant for public and social sector entities. Paul holds a Master’s degree in public policy from Princeton University and a Bachelor’s in Sociology from UC Berkeley.

Paul Feltman

Director of Global Talent Bridge Initiative, World Education Services (WES)

Paul Feltman works closely with community-based organizations, government agencies, academic institutions, employers, and policy makers and makes frequent presentations on issues related to immigrant integration and credential recognition at professional conferences, workshops and public forums.

James Fenton

Associate Professor, ESL/Humanities, English Area Coordinator, Bluegrass Community & Technical College, Lexington, KY

Since joining the faculty of the Humanities Division in 2005, Dr. Jim Fenton has served as the ESL and English Area Coordinator, scheduling college classes for immigrants and freshman students, and advocating for expanded educational opportunities for immigrants and refugees.

Henry Gee

Vice President of Student Services, Rio Hondo College, Whittier, CA

Henry Gee is in his 34th year in higher education, and his ninth year as the Vice President of Student Services at Rio Hondo College in Whittier CA. Prior to that, he served for 10 years as the Dean of Student Affairs at Santa Ana College and 15 years at Azusa Pacific University in various capacities.

Elizabeth Harper

Associate Vice President for Student Services and Enrollment Management, Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale, VA

Dr. Elizabeth P. (Beth) Harper has responsibility for the central records office, financial aid, international student services, disability support services, military outreach and support services, and student behavior and mental health issues.

Malou C. Harrison, PhD

Dean of Students, North Campus, Miami Dade College, Miami, FL

Malou C. Harrison is the Interim President of Miami Dade College’s North Campus, the College’s first location that opened in 1960, and also oversees MDC West, the institution’s newest campus. She has served MDC in various capacities since 1989, including as dean of students, chief of staff to the College president and adjunct professor of English.

Erin Howard

Latino Outreach and Services Coordinator, Bluegrass Community and Technical College, Lexington, KY

Since 2005, Erin Howard has served as the Latino Outreach and Services Coordinator for Bluegrass Community and Technical College. She earned a Master’s of Arts in Spanish from the University of Tennessee and completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish from Tennessee Technological College.

John Hunt

Acting Director, Center for Immigrant Education & Training La Guardia Community College, Long Island City, NY and Acting Director, NYC Welcome Back Center

John has been managing EL civics, family literacy, immigrant parent engagement and vocational ESOL programs at LaGuardia for the past 8 years. He previously taught ESOL in Japan's public school system and then in Spain and New York with International House.

Jon Kerr

Director of Adult Basic Education, Washington State Board for Community & Technical Colleges, Olympia,WA

Jon Kerr recently joined the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges after his tenure as the Dean of Instructional Programs and Library Director at Lower Columbia College in Washington State.

Donna Kinerney

Instructional Dean for Adult ESOL & Literacy Programs, Montgomery College, Rockville, MD

Dr. Kinerney provides administrative and instructional leadership for grant-funded adult education programs, including the Adult ESOL & Literacy – GED Program and Refugee Training Programs, which provide approximately 12,000 seats to learners in need of English language and/or literacy skills development.

Jeanett Manzanero

Director of the Dr. Kathryn W. Davis Global Education Center, City Palm Beach State College, Lake Worth, FL

For the past 10 years has been an adjunct professor of Sociology Center at Palm Beach State College. In the 1990s she established the “Amigos de por Vida-Friends for Life” Pk-5 public charter school in Houston.

Margie McHugh

Co-Director, National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy, Migration Policy Institute, Washington, D.C.

Ms. McHugh served for 15 years as the executive director of The New York Immigration Coalition, an umbrella organization for over 150 groups in New York that uses research, policy development, and community mobilization efforts to achieve landmark integration policy and program initiatives.

Israel David Mendoza

Independent Consultant

Israel Mendoza is a native of Washington, born in Yakima, and the third oldest of eleven children in a farm worker family. He worked for Cesar Chavez and the United Farm workers Union in Seattle, Washington and Dallas, Texas. 

Julie Pitts

Director, Intercultural Center, Johnson County Community College, Overland Park, KS

Julie Pitts has worked with international and immigrant issues in residential life, counseling, academic advising, programming and immigration advising in both two and four year institutions. She is currently the Director of the Intercultural Center at Johnson County Community College, an office she was responsible for developing and implementing.

Melissa Sadler-Nitu

Integrated Basic Education Skills Training (I-BEST) and Adult Education Director, Alamo Colleges, San Antonio, TX

Alamo I-BEST is an initiative that provides training and employment assistance to workers and students who require basic skill development in order to succeed in technical training. Through grant writing and braided funding, based on the Accelerate Texas model, Melissa has created the system of program delivery.

Regina Suitt

Vice President for Adult Basic Education for College & Career, Pima Community College, Tucson, AZ

Regina has dedicated her career to adult basic education. She currently leads multiple district-wide programs including all Arizona Department of Education funded Adult Basic Education, Adult Secondary, and English Language Acquisition for Adults.

Jeff Wagnitz

Vice President for Academic Affairs, Highline College

For the prior eight years, he served as Highline’s dean of instruction for transfer and pre-college education. To serve its large immigrant community, Highline enrolls over 5,000 adults annually in English as a Second Language — the largest cohort of any community college in Washington.

Heide Spruck Wrigley

Senior Researcher for Language, Literacy, and Learning, Literacywork International, Las Cruces, NM

Heide Spruck Wrigley is a highly respected literacy practitioner and researcher from the US, well known for her work on English language as well as literacy. Dr. Wrigley is Senior Researcher for Language, Literacy and Learning with Literacywork International.

Federico Zaragoza

Vice Chancellor of Economic & WorkForce Development, Alamo Community College District, San Antonio, TX

Dr. Federico Zaragoza has been the Vice Chancellor of Economic and Workforce Development at the Alamo Community College District (ACCD) since 2004. Under his leadership, ACCD received the prestigious American Association of Community College Trustees’ 2005 National Workforce Excellence Award.