Center for Leadership Excellence

Encouraging and supporting leadership development throughout the University System

2015-2016 ELI Scholars

Cynthia Robinson Alexander - University System Office
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Cynthia Alexander is the Director of Real Estate Ventures - Asset Manager for the Public Private Venture Program and a member of the System Office’s Fiscal Affairs team. She came to the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia in 2009. Since that time she actively works in helping institutions address reporting, compliance, risk management, affordability and financial obligations associated with the Public Private Venture Program.

She holds a BA in Urban Studies from Brown University, a Master of City and Regional Planning from Harvard University (John F. Kennedy School of Government), and a JD of Law from Boston University. She spent over 25 years in the private sector working for domestic and international owners of real estate in the area of asset management, commercial development, finance and risk management.

Cynthia is compassionate about her community and real estate and is extremely involved in various civic, charitable and professional organizations within the greater Atlanta community. She served as one of the founding board members of the Midtown Community Improvement District. She has served as president and on the board of the 300 member Atlanta chapter of Commercial Real Estate Women of Atlanta. Cynthia was recognized as one of the Outstanding Young People of Atlanta and a graduate of Leadership Atlanta. She was also selected for several years by the Atlanta Business Chronicle in their Who’s Who in Commercial Real Estate listing in Atlanta.

Michael Black - Valdosta State University
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Dr. Michael Black is the Director of Institutional Effectiveness at Valdosta State University. In this role, he helps faculty and staff document the progress made and helps to demonstrate that the university’s mission is being effectively pursued.

Dr. Black is a graduate of Valdosta State University and Florida State University. He has worked in several areas of higher education such as finance; policy; institutional research; strategic planning; assessment; compliance; accreditation, and academic planning.

He reads and writes about higher education history and has completed two books about the history of Valdosta State University.

Brian Bride - Georgia State University
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Dr. Bride is the Director & Professor School of Social Work at Georgia State University. He came to Georgia State University in 2014.

Dr. Bride earned the Master of Public Health degree in Quantitative Methods from Harvard School of Public Health in 2012. He earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree in Social Work from the University of Georgia in 2001, the Master of Social Work degree with a clinical concentration from Florida State University in 1995, and the Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from the University of Florida in 1991.

Dr. Bride has worked in higher education for 15 years. Prior to Georgia State University, he served as a Professor of Social Work at the University of Georgia. Dr. Bride has also worked as the Director of the M.S.W. Program, Interim Associate Dean, Director of Ph.D Program and Chair of the Research Task Force of the School of Social Work at UGA. He is a part of the Adjunct Faculty of the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the Baylor School of Medicine.

Joseph Brooks - Georgia Institute of Technology
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Joseph Brooks is the Director of Electronics, Optics, and Systems & Deputy Director of the Georgia Technical Research Institute (GTRI). He came to Georgia Tech in 1982, and is responsible for providing leadership, management, and technical direction for researchers, support staff, and students spanning three GTRI Laboratories.

He earned the Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology in 1986. He earned his Bachelor of Electrical Engineering degree from Georgia Institute of Technology in 1982.

He has worked in higher education for 32 years, all with Georgia Institute of Technology. Prior to his current position he was Director of Electronic Systems Laboratory and Chief of Systems Technology & Analysis Division, Electronic Systems Lab of GTRI.

Ric Calhoun - Gordon State College
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Ric Calhoun is the Director of Gordon State at McDonough & Professor of Business at Gordon State College. He came to Gordon State in 1986 and is responsible for coordinating all aspects of classes and services and promoting and marketing to the McDonough community.

A lifelong Georgia resident, Ric has a Bachelor’s of Business Administration, Masters of Business Administration, and a Doctorate of Education from the University of Georgia.

Ric’s experience at Gordon State College has been primarily in the classroom teaching technology and other business courses. For the last decade, he has increasingly taken on a number of leadership roles culminating in his current position as a campus director.

Sarah Covert - University of Georgia
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Sarah Covert is the Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs at the University of Georgia. She came to UGA in 1993 and is responsible for supporting the recruitment, promotion and professional development of faculty and academic leaders at the University.

Sarah earned the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Bacteriology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1990 and completed post-doctoral work at the University of Arizona. She also earned the Bachelor of Arts degree in Biochemistry from Dartmouth College in 1986.

Sarah has worked in higher education for 22 years, all with the University of Georgia. Prior to her current role, she was the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and a Professor in the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources.

Gwynne Darden - University of Georgia
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Gwynne Darden is the Interim Associate Vice President for Facilities Planning at the University of Georgia. She has been with the Office of University Architects for Facilities Planning since 2001, and she enjoys the collaborative process of creating and transforming the physical environment to support the academic, research, and outreach missions of the University.

She is a registered architect in the state of Georgia. She holds a Master of Architecture degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and dual Bachelor of Arts degrees in architecture and history from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.

As a Senior Project Manager she spent many years leading and coordinating the design and construction of fast-track and multi-phase projects for the University of Georgia Athletic Association. In 2013 she was promoted to Assistant Vice President and was responsible for the planning, design, and construction for numerous facility projects at the University of Georgia properties and campuses.

Jamie Fernandes - Georgia Perimeter College
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Jamie Fernandes is a leader in finance for Perimeter College at Georgia State University. Prior to consolidation, Jamie was the Associate Vice President for Financial Affairs for Georgia Perimeter College (GPC). She came to GPC in 2012 to increase financial and budgetary controls and was responsible for overseeing financial operations, including budget development and reporting.

Jamie earned her Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Georgia in 2003 and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Georgia in 2001.

Prior to her time at GPC, Jamie worked as the Budget Director for the Georgia Department of Revenue.

John Fields - Albany State University
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John Fields is the Chief of Police at Albany State University. He came to Albany State in 2007 and is responsible for safety operations and procedures within the campus community. He has been in his current role for a little over four years.

He earned his Masters degree from Albany State University. He has over 23 years of law enforcement experience. He has been a supervisor in law enforcement since the age of 24 and has four years of military experience to include Desert Shield/Storm.

Delana Gajdosik-Nivens - Armstrong State University
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Delana Gajodosik-Nivens is the Associate Provost Student Engagement & Success at Armstrong State University. In her current role she oversees Academic Advising, First-Year Experience, Testing Services, International Education, the Honors Program, Hispanic Outreach and Retention, and TRiO-Student Support Services. She also provides leadership for our Adult Learner Initiatives, Complete College Georgia Initiatives, as well as undergraduate research and other programs that facilitate student academic engagement.

Having served at Armstrong for 16 years, Delana was previously the Assistant Dean of the College of Science and Technology. She has received numerous grants for undergraduate research, undergraduate STEM education improvements, student scholarships, and student support services.

She holds a Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry from the University of South Carolina and a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from the University of Pittsburgh. She performed post-doctoral research at the Center for Bio/molecular Science and Engineering at the Naval Research Laboratory.

Frank Hardymon - Columbus State University
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Frank Hardymon is the Assistant Vice President for Business & Finance at Columbus State University. He came to Columbus State in 2014 and is responsible for enhancing the institution’s financial strength by performing budgeting, fiscal analysis, monitoring, planning and reporting. In addition, he directly manages the comptroller’s office, budget office, and indirectly manages the accounting, purchasing, and bursar’s offices.

He earned his undergraduate degree in Finance from the University of Kentucky. He earned an MBA from DePaul University in 1992 and a Masters of Education from the University of Georgia in 1995.

Prior to Columbus State, he served as Associate Athletic Director / CFO for the Georgia Tech Athletic Association. In this role, he managed the annual budget, oversaw business and ticket operations, and coordinated the financing of facility construction projects. Previously, he was Assistant Athletic Director (1997-2004) and Associate Athletic Director (2004-2008) at the College of William & Mary. Along with providing department budget oversight, he supervised eight sports as well as the business, ticket and sports information offices. From 1995 to 1997, he managed Villanova University’s athletic budget as the Associate Business Manager.

Alvin Harmon - Atlanta Metropolitan State College
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Alvin Harmon is the Department Head of the Science & Health Professions at Atlanta Metropolitan State College. He came to AMSC in 2007.

He earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree with a concentration in Neuroscience from Georgia State University in 2002. He also earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Morehouse College in 1991.

Alvin has worked in higher education for over 8 years. He has also worked as the Program Coordinator for Health Professions and campus PI for an LSAMP sub award for the GA-AL LSAMP.

His career plans are to seek leadership opportunities at the senior level, and to obtain a position which will allow him to have the greatest impact on a post-secondary institution and the community it serves.

Dale Hartenburg - Augusta University
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(Information Not Available)

Leslie Johnson - Georgia Highlands College
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Leslie Johnson is the Dean of the Cartersville Campus at Georgia Highlands College. She came to Georgia Highlands in 2003, and is responsible for directing faculty, student services, testing, library, facilities, security, and bookstore operations. She serves as a liaison to division chairs regarding academic matters, assist in monitoring class sizes and scheduling, manages the campus budget, and provides matriculation assistance to students. Her additional duties include community outreach and engagement, new programming, retention, recruitment, marketing, and student life efforts.

She earned her Master of Arts degree in Speech Communication and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Georgia.

She has worked in higher education for over 13 years. She has also worked as an Assistant and Associate Professor of Speech Communication at Georgia Highlands.

Karen Jones - East Georgia State College
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Karen Jones is the Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management at East Georgia State College. She came to EGSC in 2007, and is responsible for Admissions, Records, Financial Aid, Scanning and Indexing, and the Communications team.

She earned her Master of Arts degree in Organizational Management from Ashford University. She has worked in higher education for over 20 years. Prior to her current position, she worked as the Director of Financial Aid and Director of Admissions at East Georgia State College.

Gina Kertulis-Tartar - Dalton State College
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Gina is the Dean of the School of Health Professions and Associate Professor of Biology at Dalton State University. She is responsible for overseeing daily operations, accreditation matters, budget, and supervising faculty and staff. She came to Dalton State in 2005.

Gina earned her Ph.D. in Soil and Water Science from the University of Florida. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Soil Science and Agronomy at Penn State University. After graduating from Penn State, she went to West Virginia University to earn her Master of Science in Agronomy.

Gina has worked in higher education for over 10 years. She started teaching a variety of biology courses at Dalton State in 2005. She previously worked as Chair of the Department of Natural Science, and served as Interim Dean of the School of Health Professions.

Mike Kiefer - Darton State College
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Mike Kiefer is the Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs for Darton State College. He is responsible for overseeing Institutional Effectiveness, Institutional Research, Grants, Library Services, Honors, and Faculty Development.

He earned a BS in Psychology, MS in Exercise and Sport Science, and a Juris Doctorate and is currently pursuing an Ed.D.

Mike has worked in higher education for over 16 years. Prior to his current role at Darton State, he served as the Dean of Health, Physical Education, and Athletics and also held positions as a faculty member and coach.

Lectra Lawhorne - Kennesaw State University
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Lectra Lawhorne is the Associate CIO and Assistant Vice President of Information Technology at Kennesaw State University. Lectra’s career at Kennesaw State University began in 1992.

Lectra earned her Master of Science in Information Systems in 2001 and her Bachelor of Applied Science in Mathematics and Computer Sciences in 1996 at Kennesaw State University.She also earned a Federal CIO certificate at Carnegie Mellon University in 2012 and is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Public Administration at Valdosta State University.

Lectra’s experiences at Kennesaw State University began as a Student Assistant. She was promoted to various IT roles which led to Information Technology leadership roles and eventually to her current position of Associate CIO and Assistant Vice President of Information Technology.

Lectra was born in Dayton, Ohio but has been a resident of Georgia since 1992. She considers Georgia her home.

Andy Lewter - Georgia College & State University
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Andy Lewter is the Dean of Students for Georgia College & State University. He is responsible for creating relationships and systems that ensure students have a high quality college experience. He came to GCSU in 2013 and has worked in higher education for over 20 years.

Andy earned his Doctor of Education degree in Higher Education Administration from the University of Tennessee. He also earned a Master of Education in Student Personnel Services from the University of South Carolina, and his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Tennessee.

Tracy Linderholm - Georgia Southern University
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Dr. Tracy Linderholm has served as the Associate Dean of Graduate Education and Research, College of Education, Georgia Southern University, since 2011.

Dr. Linderholm received her Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in Educational Psychology with a minor in Cognitive Sciences. While in graduate school, she was an active member of the Cognitive Sciences Center was awarded an NIH Fellowship to support her research on cognitive psychological processes that facilitate adult reading comprehension. Prior to coming to Georgia Southern, she served as the Associate Director of the School of Human Development and Associate Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Florida.

Kate Maine - University of North Georgia
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Kate Maine is the Associate Vice President of University Relations for the University of North Georgia. She is responsible leading internal and external communications, institutional marketing, branding, and publications.

She earned the Master of Education in Higher Education Administration from Georgia Southern University. She also earned a Bachelor of Arts Journalism in Public Relations from the University of Georgia.

She has worked in higher education for over 10 years. She has 25 years of experience in public relations in a variety of settings, including education, non-profit, government, and agency. Prior to her current position she also worked as the Director of University Relations at UNG. She also is professionally accredited by the Public Relations Society of America.

Carrie Manning - Georgia State University
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Dr. Carrie Manning is Professor and Chair in the Department of Political Science at Georgia State University. She has also served as Director of Graduate Studies in her department. Dr. Manning began her academic career at Georgia State in 1998, after serving as the first country program director in Angola for the National Democratic Institute in 1996-97. She is the author of three research books and more than two dozen journal articles and book chapters on comparative politics, peace-building and post-conflict politics.

Dr. Manning earned her PhD in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley (1997); an M.P.A. from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University (1991); and a B.A. in Government at Wesleyan University (1986).

Jeff Marker - University of North Georgia
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Jeff Marker is the Head of the Communication, Media & Journalism Department at the University of North Georgia. The CMJ Department offers degrees in Film & Digital Media, Multimedia Journalism, Organizational Leadership, and Public Relations, all of which have been developed during Jeff’s tenure as Head. The department also houses a nationally ranked Debate, Forensics, Interpretation team, a student news organization that operates on three UNG campuses, a student-run streaming radio station, and a Student Film Association.

Jeff earned his Doctor of Philosophy in Comparative Literature from the University of Georgia in 2006 and began at North Georgia later that year. He now holds the rank of Associate Professor of Film Studies. In addition to academic scholarship, Jeff has reviewed movies for several years, co-hosts The Film Fix podcast, and is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association and the Georgia Film Critics Association. He has also directed, written, and/or edited several music videos and is in production on his first feature-length documentary.

Kimberly McElveen - Columbus State University
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Dr. Kimberly McElveen is the Assistant Vice President for Institutional Assessment at Columbus State University. She teaches Higher Education, Assessment, and History of Higher Education in the College of Education. She came to Columbus State in 2007 and served in Student Affairs for nine years in different roles including Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs.

Dr. McElveen has worked in higher education for over 14 years for three different institutions. Prior to her academic experience, she spent eight years at BCBSGA in Human Resources and Training.

Dr. McElveen earned her Doctor of Education in Higher Education Administration from Georgia Southern University. She earned her Master of Science in Business Management from Troy State University, and Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the College of Charleston, Charleston, SC.

Sametria McFall-Dickerson - Savannah State University
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Sametria McFall-Dickerson is the Assistant Dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences at Savannah State University. She began her career in higher education when she came to Savannah State University in 2005. She is responsible for developing action plans and providing extensive daily feedback regarding operations. She views leadership as the potential and ability to contribute significantly to an organization, its people, and the constituents that depend on that organization.

Sametria earned her Doctor of Philosophy degree in Psychology from Northeastern University in 2005. She also earned a Master of Science degree in Psychology from Northeastern University, and her MPA and Bachelor of Science in Biology from Savannah State University.

She has been in higher education for over 10 years. Prior to working in higher education, she worked in the private sector for an environmental firm where she cultivated her expertise in management and team building.

Tim Moody - Armstrong State University
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Tim Moody is the Interim Chief Information Officer for Armstrong State University. He came to Armstrong State in 2014 and oversees the IT Services department as well as sets IT strategic direction and coordinates infrastructure and service delivery across the University.

He earned his Masters of Business Administration from Kennesaw State University in 2015. He also earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Georgia in 1994.

Tim has worked in higher education for over 6 years and has over 22 years of experience in the IT arena. Prior to coming to Armstrong State, he served as the Chief Information Officer at College of Coastal Georgia. He began his career in higher education as the Director of Enterprise Systems at Georgia Gwinnett College.

Mable Moore - Savannah State University
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Mable Moore is the Chief Information Officer and Special Assistant to the President at Savannah State University. She has had the opportunity to work in a large urban K-12 school system, community colleges, and four-year colleges and universities.

Mable earned her Doctor of Philosophy in Education, Administration, and College Leadership. She also earned her Master of Science in Computer Science and Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science.

Deborah Patz - Georgia Gwinnett College
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Deborah Patz is the Executive Director for Corporate and Foundation Relations in the Office of Development for Georgia Gwinnett College. She has worked in higher education for over 10 years.

She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and she holds a Masters degree in Public Policy and Management from the University of Pittsburgh.

Leslie Pierce - Georgia College & State University
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Leslie Pierce is the Chief Human Resources Officer for Georgia College and State University. She has worked in higher education for over 6 years. Prior to joining Georgia College, she held numerous HR roles in higher education and the banking industry.

She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Xavier University and a Master of Human Resources Education from the University of Louisville.

Frederick Quinn - University of Georgia
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Dr. Quinn is an Athletic Association Professor of Infectious Diseases and the Department Head of Infectious Diseases at the University of Georgia. Dr. Quinn received his BS from Marquette University, PhD in Microbiology and Biochemistry from Indiana University, Bloomington and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University. Subsequently, Dr. Quinn oversaw several laboratory groups at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta investigating bacterial disease outbreaks including Brazilian Purpuric Fever, Cat Scratch Disease, meningococcal meningitis, Buruli ulcer, and ultimately TB. Prior to accepting the position at UGA, Dr. Quinn completed a Fullbright Fellowship studying TB pathogenesis at the University of Bristol in Great Britain.

In early 2002, Dr. Quinn left CDC to become Professor and Head of the Department of Medical Microbiology and Parasitology (now Infectious Diseases) in the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Georgia, Athens. The department currently is comprised of 50 faculty members, and over 120 research fellows, students and support personnel who study host-microbial interactions, and develop appropriate animal models, vaccine candidates, diagnostic tests and novel therapies for many parasitic, viral and bacterial human and veterinary emerging and zoonotic infectious diseases.

His research focuses on understanding the pathogenesis of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, with the ultimate goal of developing improved vaccines and diagnostic tests for tuberculosis (TB). Current collaborative activities include TB vaccine animal efficacy testing, animal model development for TB transmission, TB social networking and zoonotic transmission studies in Africa.

Rick Sears - University of West Georgia
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Rick Sears is the Assistant Vice President for Finance and Controller for the University of West Georgia. He came to the University of West Georgia in 2007, and is responsible for the financial operations, treasury management, and financial reporting the university.

He is a graduate of the University of Mississippi with a Bachelors in Accountancy. He also earned his Masters in Business Administration from the University of West Georgia.

Rick has worked in higher education for more than 30 years. Prior to coming to West Georgia, he worked at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston for 24 years in various capacities. He began his career in higher education as an accountant and finished as the CFO for the university’s psychiatric hospital. There, he gained experience in systems design and implementation, purchasing, patient billing, and business process re-engineering.

Stephen Synder - Georgia Southwestern State University
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Stephen Snyder is the Director of University Relations for Georgia Southwestern State University. He is responsible for planning, developing, and managing the University’s public relations, government relations and marketing activities. He has been working at Georgia Southwestern State University for nine years. Prior to his time in higher education, he worked in manufacturing as a materials control manager.

A proud employee of his alma mater, he earned his Bachelor of Business Administration in marketing and Master of Business Administration from Georgia Southwestern.

Ceimone Strickland - Clayton State University
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Ceimone Strickland is the Director of Internal Audit for Clayton State University. She has worked in higher education for over 3 years.

She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Oakwood University and a MBA in Accounting from Mercer University.

Her entire career has been focused on understanding the big picture of our educational structure in Georgia. For twelve years she worked with a K-12 public school system in Business and Operations.

Brencleveton Truss - Fort Valley State University
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Brencleveton Truss is the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs for Fort Valley State University. He is participating in this program to further enhance his skills and to learn even more about who he is as a leader. His career plans consist of serving in many capacities of higher education administration.

Andrea Wallace - College of Coastal Georgia
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(Information Not Available)

Donna Webb - Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College
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Donna Webb is the Director of Enrollment Management for Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. Her career in higher education began after graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Speech Communication from Valdosta State University. She also earned a Master of Public Administration from Georgia College & State University.

She has served at Middle Georgia College, the Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of Georgia Tifton Campus, and the University of South Carolina - Beaufort before starting in her current role. She is a Leadership Tifton Graduate, a graduate of the Student Affairs Foundation Institute, a State Honorary Member of the Georgia FCCLA, and a Registered Enrollment Professional.

She is very active within her professional organizations and is currently serving as President of the Georgia Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (GACRAO). She was recently selected to serve as Secretary of the Southern Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (SACRAO).

Wendy Woodrum - Georgia Southern University
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Wendy Woodrum is the Director of Business Operations for Georgia Southern University. She came to Georgia Southern University in 2014, and is responsible for the budget and all personnel matters for her division.

She graduated from Georgia Southern with a BBA in Finance in 1993, and an MBA in 1995.

Prior to working with Georgia Southern, she was a business consultant with the Small Business Development Center and worked as a business manager for five years in Academic Affairs. She has over 9 years of total service to Georgia Southern. Prior to higher education, she managed a bank branch and also worked for a government contractor at Fort Stewart.