Friday, June 21, 2024
The RP Group

 Our Team

LFM coaches and facilitators are a dynamic group of (instructional and counseling) faculty, department chairs, directors, program coordinators, deans, student services professionals, researchers, and classified staff. The majority of our coaches and facilitators are graduates of LFM. As middle leaders themselves, they bring real-world experience to augment and contextualize the LFM curriculum. A few of our coaches have moved from middle leadership positions to become leaders in upper administration.


Ireri Valenzuela, Director

For over 18 years, Ireri has creatively blended her passion for organizational change, team coaching, leadership development, adult education, program design, and qualitative research to support structural reform efforts in California community colleges.

In 2014, Ireri joined The RP Group as a Senior Researcher. In this role, she primarily conducts qualitative research to elevate the voices and needs of diverse community college student populations inequitably served by their institutions. She also highlights faculty and colleges’ work to increase educational attainment and close equity gaps. 

In 2017, in addition to her position as Senior Researcher, Ireri became the Lead Coaching Coordinator for the LFM Academy, and in 2020, she became the Director of LFM. In this role, she innovatively combines her expertise in systems change, evidence-based decision-making, leadership, and team development to support the development of emerging middle leaders. She is adept at building trust and credibility with people across different roles and socioeconomic statuses. Further, she is an expert in creating and tailoring curriculum, training, and written materials for diverse audiences and designing, implementing, evaluating, and managing complex programs and projects.

Ireri's commitment to equity, diversity, and social justice is central to who she is and is the lens through which she approaches her work.

Ireri is bilingual in Spanish and English. She earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a master’s degree in adult education from San Francisco State University. Ireri is also a certified team performance coach from Team Coaching International. Ireri grew up in Mexico City and San Francisco, California.


Ethan Hartsell, Facilitator

Ethan Hartsell, Facilitator

Since 2017, Ethan Hartsell has been a professor of communication at Porterville College, where he teaches classes on public speaking, interpersonal communication, mass communication, small group communication, and persuasion. He began his participation with LFM in 2019 as a participant on the Porterville LFM team and moved into a coaching role in 2020. At Porterville College, Ethan is working on the Guided Pathways committee in charge of developing meta-majors and program maps. He has also been active on the Porterville curriculum committee, scholarship committee, and student success and equity committee. 

Ethan received his PhD in communication from the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 2016. His research examined political identity and perceptions of credibility and bias in news media.

Toni Trejo Parsons, Facilitator

Toni Trejo Parsons, Facilitator

Toni Trejo Parsons attended the LFM Academy in 2019 with San Diego Mesa College. At that time, she served as Pathways Co-Coordinator and math faculty. Currently, Toni is serving as the HSI Title III Director. She has been a contract faculty member at Mesa College since 2005. During that time, she has served as a faculty leader through various positions including Curriculum Chair, Senate Treasurer, Department Chair, Basic Skills Math Coordinator, New Faculty Institute Mentor, and most recently as Pathways Co-Coordinator. She has also served at the state level on the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges Basic Skills, Curriculum, and Career and Technical Education Leadership Committees, as well as the Board of Governors Strong Workforce Taskforce in 2015. 

Toni received her EdD in community college leadership from San Diego State University in 2020. Her dissertation focused on the degree aspirations of STEM majors who begin their postsecondary education at a community college. Outside of the professional realm, Toni is a mother of two, Nicolas and Maralyn, and enjoys riding in the desert and watching all sports.


Ghada Al-Masri, Coach

Ghada Al-Masri

Ghada Al-Masri is the Vice President of Educational Services and Institutional Effectiveness at Fresno City College (FCC). She has over twenty years of experience in higher education. She joined the California Community Colleges system as an equity and student success research analyst in institutional planning and later moved to administrative leadership. She came to FCC from Ohlone College, where she served as Dean of Social Sciences. At Ohlone, she also served over the college’s eCampus and led equity and Guided Pathways programming. Prior to Ohlone College, she served as a professor of global studies at the University of Wisconsin. 

Ghada is a passionate leader in advancing student success through equity and social justice and continues in her life-long commitment to create opportunities to serve students, faculty, and staff in their educational and professional goals. As an undocumented child immigrant to the US, she grew up in fear after crossing the Mexico-US border with her parents and siblings. Her dream of education as an essential path for freedom and justice was instilled in her by her mother.

As a first-generation student, Ghada was eventually able to study biology and anthropology at University of California, Irvine, and later earned her master’s degree in anthropology and her PhD in geography from University of California, Davis.

Phyllis Braxton, Coach

Phyllis Braxton

Phyllis Braxton is an Associate Professor of Counseling at Los Angeles Pierce College. She currently serves as an Extended Opportunity Programs & Services and CARE Counselor. She also serves as a Guided Pathways Coordinator for the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD). 

Phyllis received her doctorate in higher education leadership at California Lutheran University in 2018. In her 20 years in the California Community Colleges system, Phyllis has served in various leadership roles including vice president and dean of student services at colleges within LACCD. Phyllis has been extensively involved in leading student success and equity efforts such as developing design models for Guided Pathways; developing college success curriculum; creating first-year experience programs; and developing assessment and program review models for both academic affairs and student services. She also has served as an adjunct faculty member teaching undergraduate counseling and psychology courses as well as graduate courses in counseling and leadership.

Currently, Phyllis serves as a member of the planning and program committees of The RP Group’s Strengthening Student Success Conference. She also serves as a member of the Partnership Resource Team of the Institutional Effectiveness Partnership Initiative. Phyllis began coaching for LFM in 2018 and in 2019, joining the LFM facilitation and evaluation teams before taking time to serve in administrative roles. She recently re-joined LFM and is eager to serve as a coach again.

Brandi Howard, Coach

Brandi Howard

Brandi Howard currently works as Legal Coordinator for the Peralta Community College District. Previously, she held the position of Staff Assistant to the President of Laney College and had a leadership role as Advisor to Laney College’s Alpha Chi Theta, Phi Theta Kappa Chapter. In 2015, Brandi joined the Laney College Classified Senate and was elected Senate President in 2016. Before working in education, Brandi held executive administrative roles in the corporate and non-profit sectors. 

Brandi believes that success is achievable by students and staff and will come as a result of demonstrated reciprocity and by highlighting the importance of collaboration and professional development through consistent, focused work and commitment to the overall mission of our education system.

Brandi began her participation in LFM as a member of the Laney College team in 2017 and joined the coaching team in 2018. She enjoys working in education and considers collaborating with LFM a rewarding experience because it gives her a new perspective on how the overall work of education can intentionally benefit both staff and students.

Jennifer Johnson, Coach

Jennifer Johnson

Jennifer is retired from Bakersfield College (BC) and brings more than 31 years of experience in higher education. During her tenure at Bakersfield College, she served in both local and state leadership roles including the BC Department Chair for Nursing, faculty co-chair of the BC Curriculum Committee, faculty member of the BC Guided Pathways Implementation Team, and lead on key college initiatives: Credit for Prior Learning, Noncredit Curriculum, Competency Based Education, and Program Pathways Mapper. 

She was also a member of the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges (ASCCC) legislative committee and was an ASCCC-appointed member to the California Community Colleges Curriculum Committee (5C).

Currently, Jennifer is a consultant for the Foundation for California Community Colleges and the California State University Office of the Chancellor. Her work is focused on creating opportunities for intersegmental engagement and developing four-year (2+2) degree maps using the Program Pathways Mapper. Her engagement at the varied levels of governance represents her commitment to understanding and improving systems that will enhance a student’s educational experience.

Jennifer began her participation in LFM in 2018 as a member of the Bakersfield College team, participating in the first academy specifically for Central Valley Colleges. She joined the LFM coaching team in 2019 and, after a short hiatus, is returning to the coaching team.

Curtis Martin, Coach

Curtis Martin

Curtis Martin taught history for over 20 years and is currently the interim dean of the School of Behavioral and Social Sciences at Modesto Junior College. As a faculty member, he served three two-year terms as Academic Senate president. He has been deeply involved in leadership roles and many initiatives to increase student completion. Curtis has co-chaired and served in a broad range of committees, including Guided Pathways, implementing AB 705, faculty program review, accreditation, and hiring committees for chancellors, presidents, vice presidents, and faculty. As interim dean, he has continued advocating for and supporting students and faculty to create the best learning and teaching environment. 

Curtis passionately believes that higher and career technical public education are instrumental in helping create a more just and equitable society, and he believes in facing challenges head-on by promoting engagement and advocating for actionable policies and initiatives. Curtis grew up in Cuba and migrated to the United States at age 18, first attending community college in Oakland Navigating the cultural, linguistic, and social differences in the United States was the most challenging part of integrating and adapting to his new surroundings. He transferred to University of California, Berkeley, where he completed a history degree, and later became a doctoral candidate in history at University of California, San Diego. Throughout his long journey to complete those degrees, he worked to help pay the bills.

Curtis first participated in LFM in 2015, helping his institution organize a transformational four-day retreat around equity and student success in Asilomar. One hundred faculty attended in 2015, and one hundred fifty in 2016. A few years later, he again joined LFM to discuss possible ways to use data to inform decisions at his institution.

Curtis is a people person and enjoys deep and vibrant conversations, especially while sharing a meal with colleagues and friends.

Holly Piscopo, Coach

Holly Piscopo

Holly Piscopo has been teaching history in California community colleges for over 20 years—one urban, one in the central valley, and one suburban. Since 2006, she has worked at Sacramento City College (SCC) teaching US history and Asian civilizations, along with coordinating two college-wide grants. Influenced by her multigenerational, immigrant, and adopted households, Holly has long sought to raise global competencies, emphasizing colonialism, nationalism, and race in her graduate work at the University of California, Santa Cruz. 

Prior to SCC, Holly led the Mexico wing of an international cross-cultural education grant between Mexico, Canada, and California. In recent years, she taught study abroad in Italy in 2019 and, in 2021-22, she was a Global Studies EPIC Fellow with Stanford University. In an effort to connect students to community public history, Holly has just begun serving on the Education Advisory Committee for the Sacramento Historical Society. In addition to this rewarding work, Holly’s eyes really light up around her two young boys and the prospect of traveling again!

Josh Roberts, Coach

Josh Roberts

Josh Roberts spent the first five years of his teaching career at the high school level before accepting a position a community college. Upon arriving at Sacramento City College (SCC), he quickly noticed the disconnect between what was happening at the local high schools and at SCC, and he eventually created SCC’s High School English Pathways program, a curricular collaboration between SCC’s English faculty, the English instructors at SCC’s main feeder high schools, and Sacramento State. 

Over the years, Josh has also served in a variety of leadership roles at the college, district, and state levels. He served as the chair of the English Department at SCC, on their Academic Senate, and on multiple district-level committees for the Los Rios Community College District. In 2014, he was appointed by the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges to serve as the statewide representative for English faculty on the Common Assessment Initiative, and he served on the Faculty Association for California Community Colleges’ Legislation and Advocacy Committee.

Josh first joined LFM in 2018 as a member of SCC’s Guided Pathways team. He has served as an LFM coach since 2019.

Gio Sosa, Coach

Gio Sosa

Gio Sosa is the Dean of Institutional Effectiveness, Research & Planning at Crafton Hills College. He is also a member of The RP Group’s Multiple Measures Assessment Project (MMAP) team. Gio’s focus and work is on using equity-minded empirical findings to develop and advance student-centered initiatives in higher education.

Rob Stevenson, Coach

Rob Stevenson

Rob Stevenson recently became the Dean of the School of Arts, Performance, and the Humanities at Modesto Junior College (MJC), following 21 years on the faculty teaching in the areas of art history, humanities, and studio art. Select leadership roles at MJC have included serving on the Academic Senate Executive team, as Faculty Co-Chair of Guided Pathways, as the Co-Chair of the Instruction Counsel, the Chair of the Equivalency Committee, the Chair of the Academic Standards Committee, and at the state level as the Course Identification Numbering System lead for studio arts. 

Select awards include state-level recognition as a holistic student support Leader by Guided Pathways 2.0 and the Ada Center, as well as the 2021 OER Faculty Award, the 2019 Robert J. Cardoza Excellence Award, and the 2018 Online Instructor of the Year Award at MJC. Recent scholarly awards include National Endowment for the Humanities Institute fellowships to study South Asian culture in New Delhi, India, and to study Islam in Asia at the East-West Center in Honolulu, Hawaii; a fellowship from the Korea Society at the Academy for Korean Studies in Seoul, South Korea; and the Dar al Islam Teachers’ Institute. In 2019, he was an organizer of the “Establishing Indonesia’s Place as a Global Center by Updating Ideas About Its Past” conference and presented at three Indonesian universities: Universitas Mataram, Lombok; Universitas Sebelas Maret, Suryakarta; and Universitas Muhammadiyah.

Rob began his participation in LFM in the 2018 as a member of the MJC team and became a coach the following year. He has coached for Grossmont College, Fresno City College, and the Hoopa Higher Education Program. In 2023, he will be serving LFM in a different capacity as a Facilitator.

Michael Takeda, Coach

Michael Takeda

Michael Takeda began his participation in LFM in 2017 as a member of the Fresno City College team, which leveraged its time and experience with the academy to begin the process of developing the Guided Pathways framework for the entire college. 

Michael played a key role in establishing the structure for the initial Pathways student cohort and implementing many of its key elements, including a new and comprehensive first-time-student orientation and the FCC Common Read.

Using his experience at LFM, Michael is now part of the official workgroup that will manage the campus-wide implementation of Guided Pathways.

He has led the charge for pre-collegiate course acceleration, including membership on the FCC Pilot team for The RP Group’s Multiple Measures Assessment Project (MMAP) and Common Assessment Initiative.

In addition to his academic responsibilities at Fresno City College, Michael has co-organized a series of annual events to celebrate Asian culture. In his current role as President of the Asian American Faculty and Staff Association, he has fought for the disaggregation of demographic identifiers for Asian students, and founded events to celebrate achievements and connect the campus to the community.

Angella VenJohn, Coach

Angella VenJohn

Angella has been a counselor at Las Positas College (LPC) for over 20 years. Her focus is on retention and persistence of students, especially probation and dismissal students, and her particular areas of interest are positive psychology, growth mindset, and grit. She has spent time researching best practices regarding student success and incorporating those strategies into programs at LPC. This research also included The RP Group’s research on “6 Student Success Factors,” in which LPC was involved. 

More recently, Angella was an early adopter of Guided Pathways at LPC and has been the Student Services Co-Lead of Guided Pathways since the program’s inception in 2017. Her Guided Pathways work has focused on pillars one and two (“clarifying the pathway” and “entering the pathway”) and her accomplishments have included the identification of academic and career pathways, program mapping, and career coach implementation.

It was through Angella’s Guided Pathways implementation work that she became involved in LFM, serving as a member of the Guided Pathways team in 2019-2022. At the time, LPC’s entire administrative leadership team was in flux, so it was up to the college’s “middle leaders” to implement Guided Pathways.

Toren Wallace, Coach

Toren Wallace

Toren Wallace is an associate faculty member of the English discipline at Norco College, as well as a lecturer at California State University, Long Beach. In addition, he has worked at Golden West College, Long Beach City College, and Cerritos College. Toren has served on the diversity, equity, and inclusion committee at Norco College for five years, planning and participating in several events on campus. Most recently, he planned an event bringing student experiences in the MENA community to faculty. The goal of this event was to raise cultural awareness on campus. 

For the past two years, Toren has been focused on piloting and launching a program to use Canvas district-wide for assessment. A major goal of this transition was to better use disaggregated student data to recognize and attend to equity gaps.

Toren believes in intersectionality on many levels—in particular, as it relates to relationships at the community college level. He hopes to bridge the gaps between faculty, administration, classified employees, and—most importantly—students. He completed his general education at Fullerton College and earned both a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from California State University, Long Beach.

Toren first participated in LFM in 2021 as a member of the Norco College team and joined the LFM coaching team in 2023.


Artour Aslanian, Facilitator

Artour Aslanian, Facilitator

Artour Aslanian started his career in academia as an Adjunct Professor of Political Science at Azusa Pacific University in 2012 and has since taught at California State University, San Bernardino, California Polytechnic University, Pomona, and Chadron State College. In January 2017, Artour became an Assistant Research Analyst at Los Angeles Trade-Technical College, and in October of that year, he took the position as a Research & Planning Analyst at Crafton Hills College (CHC)—later promoted to Senior Research & Planning Analyst in 2018. Artour currently serves as a Dean of Institutional Effectiveness at West Los Angeles College. In this capacity, he is involved in efforts to enhance data literacy, increase efficiencies through automation of tasks, close equity gaps, and assist with the implementation of Caring Campus. 

In 2019, Artour earned his PhD in political science from Claremont Graduate University. Artour first participated in LFM in 2018 as a member of the CHC team. In 2019, he joined the LFM coaching team.

Reagen Dozier, Facilitator

Reagen Dozier, Facilitator

Reagen Dozier currently serves as the Program Director, Title V, for Porterville College. Prior to joining Porterville, Reagen worked in the Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships at Bakersfield College and California State University, Bakersfield (CSUB). Through pure happenstance, Reagen has worked for all three public college/university systems in California. 

Reagen received her bachelor’s degree in history from University of California, Berkeley, and her master's degree in educational counseling with a concentration in student affairs from CSUB. She also has a professional certificate in grant writing from San Diego State University, College of Extended Studies.

Reagen was born and raised in Bakersfield, California. She is a middle child with seven brothers and sisters. Reagen has two dogs (one is a German Shepherd mix and the other is a Shih Tzu and Poodle mix) named Yoshi and Marshmallow. She is a champion for adult learners, diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility. Reagen enjoys museums, traveling, and musicals.


LaKisha Bradley, Coach

LaKisha Bradley

LaKisha Bradley serves as a Dean of Student Services at Monterey Peninsula College (MPC), providing institutional support necessary to aid the college in meeting its mission to “foster student learning and achievement within its diverse community.” As Dean, LaKisha is the lead administrator for MPC’s Marina Education Center and federal grant programs including TRIO and Title V grants. LaKisha has 20 years of professional experience in education, which reflects her belief in the ability of education to transform lives. 

In her current role, LaKisha collaborates with individuals and programs across the college to develop programs and resources for students and employees, designed to improve student success. LaKisha firmly believes in the power of education to open avenues for success in one’s life. Of particular importance to LaKisha is providing the additional support resources to students that are often necessary for their ability to succeed and reach their educational goals. She continues to support inclusion, diversity, equity, anti-racist, and accessibility (IDEA2) through her work at the college and as a member of the Board of Directors for The Village Demands Statewide Coalition on Black American Affairs.

LaKisha first participated in LFM in 2017 as a member of the Monterey Peninsula College team.

Angela Burk-Herrick, Coach

Angela Burk-Herrick

Angela Burk-Herrick joined Chaffey College’s biology department in 2006. A practitioner of active learning strategies (e.g., reading apprenticeship), she has taught courses in general biology, cell and molecular biology, and genetics, as well as guidance courses on college success. 

Angela participated in LFM as a member of a Chaffey College team in both 2016 and 2019. At Chaffey, Angela has served as a faculty leader for program review and student learning outcomes, and she is currently the Curriculum Chair, an Academic Senate officer, and a Guided Pathways facilitator.

Angela is a champion of diversity, equity, inclusion, and antiracism efforts and is particularly passionate about projects that focus on institution-wide systemic changes that positively impact the student experience and promote student success.

Ray Cuellar, Coach

Ray Cuellar

Ray Cuellar is an accomplished professional with over 22 years of experience in resource development. He currently serves as Director of Grants Development and Management for Chaffey College, where he specializes in strategic planning, program design, and grant administration. 

Ray has dedicated his career to serving diverse communities in various sectors, including early childhood education, secondary and post-secondary education, economic and employment development, and non-profits. He has secured millions of dollars in federal, state, and philanthropic funds for equitable efforts across the nation. His unique strength is building sustainable community-academic-economic partnerships that empower underrepresented populations. Ray believes in grassroots program planning, involving communities in developing solutions, and creating future leaders to ensure program sustainability.

Ray is known for creating dynamic and interactive work environments that foster team networking and inclusivity. In addition to leading the Grants Development and Management Office at Chaffey, he currently oversees Strong Workforce and Perkins efforts, and he provides guidance and strategic planning input on various college committees. In the nine years he has been with the college, he has also overseen the acquisition of over $175 million in competitive grant funding, contracts, and fee-for-service awards aimed at improving learning, student achievement, and equity at Chaffey College.

Ray’s leadership and expertise have been recognized by the Chaffey College community, and he was invited to participate as a member of the Chaffey College LFM team in 2017. In 2023, Ray joined the LFM coaching team, further demonstrating his commitment to developing future leaders in the field.

Hans Hauselmann, Coach

Hans Hauselmann

Hans Hauselmann has been a faculty member at Modesto Junior College (MJC) since 2013, as both a part-time history instructor for nine years and as a full-time tenure track instructor of history since 2022. He also taught part-time for San Joaquin Delta College for eight years. 

As a middle leader at MJC, Hans has served on the Academic Senate Executive as Legislative Analyst, Parliamentarian, Adjunct-at-Large Senator, and Senate Representative for the School of Behavioral and Social Sciences. In this capacity, he has collaborated with the Senate, Office of Instruction, and the District in redesigning onboarding and professional development for part-time faculty, implementing a new campus-wide shared governance framework, and reviewing district policies and procedures. He has also served as the faculty co-coordinator for MJC’s First Year Experience course and as the Guided Pathways Communication Coordinator, and he is an active member of the college’s Pathways Implementation Team and Steering Committee.

Hans participated in the 2018-19 and 2019-20 Central Valley LFM Academies as a member of the MJC team and as a coach for El Camino College in 2020-21. Hans’s work with his LFM teams helped facilitate campus-wide discussions on the development of Guided Pathways and developed communications and marketing for campus-wide implementation of Guided Pathways. In 2021-22, Hans helped to redesign and facilitate a new LFM curriculum that continued its focus on leadership, equity, and social justice.

Michael Hoffman, Coach

Michael Hoffman

Michael Hoffman has been a mathematics instructor in the San Mateo Community College District (SMCCD) since 2007. During his tenure in the SMCCD, Michael has been involved in programs related to student-success and equity. He was the faculty Equity Coordinator at Cañada College for several years and currently works on Faculty Development initiatives related to improving Equity in STEM programs.

Michael has been an LFM coach since 2017.

Tenisha James, Coach

Tenisha James

Tenisha James is currently serving as the Interim Vice President of Planning & Development at Norco College, where she leads college efforts in strategic planning, governance, grants, institutional effectiveness, and student equity and achievement. Her team is focused on the strategic integration of equity in Guided Pathways, engaging the college community in an institution-wide transformation that prioritizes increasing access to living-wage jobs through student access, student equity, and student success. 

Tenisha led the implementation of Guided Pathways and integration of student equity. Her work included the launch of meta-major/trailhead student supports, onboarding revisions, creation of student engagement centers, the integration of holistic student supports, scaling the pillars of Guided Pathways using equity programs as models, and the creation of faculty-led project teams to tackle critical issues related to student success and equity. Her most recent effort is co-leading the Pathways and Enrollment Workgroup using the Loss Momentum Framework as a guide for dismantling institutional barriers that disrupt student success.

Tenisha believes in leading teams through a commitment to interpersonal communication skills and cultural competency in order to bring institutional change with a focus on student equity. As such, she has prioritized ongoing equity and diversity training, such as CORA trainings in racial microaggressions, and Black ally, the USC Center for Urban Education Student Equity Institute, USC CCC Equity Leadership Alliance, and the Counseling in the Era of Equity Institute. Tenisha is currently serving as a board member on the Community Engagement Advisory Board for the state of California’s Cradle to Career launch.

Tenisha first participated in LFM in 2015 as a member of the Riverside City College team, assembled a college team to participate in LFM in 2022 at Norco College, and is joining the LFM Coaching team in 2023.

Brent Monte, Coach

Brent Monte

Brent Monte first began his affiliation with Leading from the Middle (LFM) as a participant, and felt that what he and his team learned from the Institute directly led to their progress and success in implementing Guided Pathways at Irvine Valley College. 

When the opportunity arose to share his knowledge and experience as a coach to other LFM attendees, Brent became a member of the LFM team in 2019 without hesitation.

Brent Monte considers himself first and foremost a teacher, currently teaching primarily statistics and calculus. Having obtained his PhD in Higher Education Leadership, he is currently serving as o-chair of the Mathematics Department at Irvine Valley College. Previously, Brent has been co-coordinator of Guided Pathways, Basic Skills Initiative (BSI) Coordinator, academic senate representative, faculty association representative, and a member of the curriculum committee. In his spare time, Brent enjoys spending time with his three children, and running marathons.

Wendy Nelson, Coach

Wendy Nelson

Wendy Nelson has served in several leadership roles at Palomar College. Her leadership journey started as a Student Learning Outcomes (SLO) Coordinator. She served in that role for 5 years and oversaw the college’s institutional outcome assessment program. During her time in this position, the college received an accreditation commendation for SLO assessment. Also serving as Curriculum Co-Chair, Wendy developed an effective technical review process and revived the Curriculum General Education subcommittee, which helped the college develop the required curriculum for the new ethnic studies requirement. 

Currently serving as the Faculty Senate President, Nelson has also helped lead the college’s Guided Pathways project. Her contributions include leading difficult discussions, developing meta-majors, coordinating the development of program maps, and implementing the Palomar Mapper Tool. Additionally, she has participated in important discussions around registration and enrollment and helped create the Palomar Excellence in Teaching and Learning Course.

Wendy has also served as the Media Studies Department Chair for over six years, overseeing the scheduling of courses for five disciplines, hiring of both full-time and part-time faculty, evaluation of faculty, and coordination of events and advisory meetings for career technical education programs.

As a participant in the 2022 LFM program, Nelson worked with the Palomar College team to begin developing a plan for the implementation of Student Success Teams.

Kurt Piland, Coach

Kurt Piland

Kurt Piland is the Dean of Students – Counseling & Guidance at Fresno City College (FCC). Kurt completed his EdD, with an emphasis on leadership in higher education, in 2017. His dissertation focused on the veteran student experience in the community colleges as they transition back into civilian life. He has worked for State Center Community College District for the past 17 years in various capacities including as Counseling Faculty, Department Lead, Principal Investigator, Director of Student Success, Equity, and Outreach, and currently as Dean. Kurt also serves on several campus and district-level leadership councils, committees, and workgroups. 

Kurt is highly involved in Guided Pathways implementation at FCC. He is currently focusing on targeted outreach and engagement activities to promote retention, support persistence, and move the needle on closing equity gaps.

Kurt first participated in LFM in 2018 as a member of the Reedley College team. In 2019, he joined the LFM coaching team.

Elizabeth Villalobos, Coach

Elizabeth Villalobos

Elizabeth Villalobos is the Senior Research and Planning Analyst at Madera Community College, where she is also a part of the Program Review, Guided Pathways, Accreditation, and Equity committees. She has worked for State Center Community College District for the past seven years, starting as a Research Assistant at Reedley College. Elizabeth values the community college journey and understands how pivotal the experience can be for a student, as she was once a community college student herself at the same district where she now works. Therefore, Elizabeth strives to address the inclusion of student voices into campus projects whenever possible, and she also enjoys discussing opportunities to use data to inform processes and practices. 

Elizabeth earned a graduate degree in business with an emphasis on leadership and organizational development. Elizabeth first participated in LFM in 2019 as a member of the Reedley College team. LFM conferences taught Tina the skills she needed to enhance her holistic approach to working with all partners on campus. She hopes she can inspire those she is coaching to embrace the gift of leading others to achieve positive impact. In her free time, Tina enjoys spending time with her husband, Israel, and cat, Faith.