Center for Leadership Excellence

Encouraging and supporting leadership development throughout the University System

2016-2017 ALA Scholars

Martha Abell - Georgia Southern University
Photo of Martha Abell

Martha L. Abell, Dean of the College of Science and Mathematics and Professor of Mathematics at Georgia Southern University, received her Ph.D. in Mathematics and M.S. in Applied Mathematics from Georgia Tech and her B.S. in Mathematics from Mercer University. While at Georgia Southern, she has also served as Faculty Assistant to the Vice President for Academic Affairs, Honors Director, and Chair of the Department of Mathematical Sciences. She is active in the mathematics community through her service to the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) where she has served as Governor and Chair of the Southeastern Section and currently chairs the national MAA Committee on the Teaching of Undergraduate Mathematics. In addition, Dr. Abell has served as President of the Southeastern Atlantic Section of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), Chair of the USG Academic Advisory Committee on Mathematical Subjects, and President of the Georgia Southern Chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP).

Dr. Abell is the author of numerous books, journal articles, and conference presentations on topics ranging from applications of mathematics to innovative approaches to teaching mathematics; published articles in a broad spectrum of journals, including SIAM Review, Applied Mathematics and Computation, and the Journal of Mathematical Analysis and Application; and has given over 80 talks at professional meetings across the globe. She was also the recipient of the 1995-1996 Georgia Southern Award for Excellence in Research.

Jeff Davis - Georgia Highlands College
Photo of Jeff Davis

Jeff Davis is the Vice President for Finance and Administration at Georgia Highlands College, in Rome, GA. Georgia Highlands College operates in five locations throughout Northwest Georgia and serves in excess of 600 students.

Prior to joining Georgia Highlands College, Jeff served as the Associate Vice President for Facilities and Auxiliary Services at the University of North Georgia, in Dahlonega, GA. Before coming to Higher Education, he pursued a career in retail, technology, and consulting.

Jeff attended the University of Tennessee, in Knoxville, TN where he earned a BS in Industrial Engineering and later attended graduate school at Georgia Tech, where he received a MS in Management.

Jamie Fernandes - Kennesaw State University
Photo of Jamie Fernandes

Jamie Fernandes currently serves as the Associate Controller for Budget at Kennesaw State University (KSU) where she is responsible for managing the KSU budget process and position management, facility fiscal services, and compliance. Prior to joining KSU in 2017, Jamie served as the College Administrative Officer for Perimeter College at Georgia State University and Associate Vice President for Financial Affairs for Georgia Perimeter College (GPC). Jamie joined GPC in 2012 to increase financial and budgetary controls and was responsible for overseeing budget operations, including budget development and reporting. Prior to her time at GPC, Jamie worked in budget for various Georgia state agencies.

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

Chaudron Gille - University of North Georgia
Photo of Chaudron Gille

Dr. Chaudron Gille currently serves as Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Professor of French at the University of North Georgia, where she oversees curriculum development, distance education, academic advising, student success initiatives, student academic issues, and works closely with accreditation and enrollment management. She is responsible for oversight and management of an annual budget of $7,533,733 in support of 6 units with 88 staff and faculty administrators, including the Academic Affairs officers for regional campuses. She assists the Provost with faculty issues, budget development and prioritization, facilities planning and strategic planning.

Dr. Gille has additional experience in international education and faculty professional development. She served on the SACSCOC and academic affairs leadership team during the consolidation which created UNG, and on the first strategic planning committee for the university. Gille has a Ph.D. in French Literature from Emory University, a M.A. in Applied Linguistics and Teaching English as a Second Language from Georgia State University, and a B.A. in French and Economics from the University of North Carolina.

Steven Girardot - Georgia Institute of Technology
Photo of Steven Girardot

Dr. Steven P. Girardot, associate vice provost for undergraduate education at Georgia Tech has over seventeen years of higher education experience. He earned both a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and an M.S. in Chemistry from Georgia Tech and completed his doctorate in Chemistry and a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree in Epidemiology from Emory University. In his role as associate vice provost, he manages the operations and administration of the Office of Undergraduate Education, including budget oversight, human resources, communication, strategic planning, assessment, accreditation, and related administrative policies and procedures. Dr. Girardot oversees the co-curricular programs and units within OUE, including the Center for Academic Success (CAS), Center for Career Discovery and Development (C2D2), and Center for Academic Enrichment (CAE). He also leads Retention, Complete College Georgia (CCG), Summer Session Initiatives (SSI) at Tech, and regularly presents on topics related to first-year programs and student success.

Prior to his current position, Dr. Girardot was the founding director of the center for academic success (CAS) and also served as the director of the office of success programs (which included FASET (New Student Orientation), GT1000 First-Year Seminar, Sophomore Programs, Tutoring and Academic Support programs), where he successfully re-launched the first-year common reading program (now Project One).

In his free time, Dr. Girardot enjoys spending time with his friends, family and his Boston Terriers, Pete and Oscar; running (completed 4 marathons to date); playing tennis; and enjoying Atlanta’s great restaurants.

Michael Heard - Atlanta Metropolitan State College
Photo of Michael Heard

Dr. Michael S. Heard serves as the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Professor of Political Science at Atlanta Metropolitan State College. Before coming to Atlanta Metropolitan State College, Dr. Heard served as the Associate Dean for the University College at Kennesaw State University. His extensive experience, commitment, and service in higher education include positions as Dean, 1890 Extension Administrator and Research Director, Director of the Center for Community and Leadership Development, liaison to the Minority Farmers Association, faculty member, and national chair of a USDA Advisory Committee on Centers of Excellence and 1890 Scholars. Dr. Heard has an undergraduate and graduate degree in Forestry and a Law Degree and Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Throughout his tenure in education Dr. Heard identifies with a quote from Phil Collins which states, “In learning you will teach and in teaching you will learn.” In the process of lifelong learning Dr. Heard has become a much better advocate, facilitator, role model and mentor, collaborator, visionary, scholar, and servant leader. In his current position the values of consistency, transparency, teamwork, integrity, and active participation and empowerment have been at the forefront of his administrative actions. As he likes to say, to quote our great conservation president Theodore Roosevelt, “Knowing what’s right doesn’t mean much unless you do what’s right.”

Karen Jones - East Georgia State College
Photo of Karen Jones

(Information Not Available)

Georj Lewis - Armstrong State University
Photo of Georj Lewis

Dr. Georj Lewis is approaching his 25th year of service in the higher education community, currently serving as the Vice President for Student Affairs at Georgia Southern University . His contextual areas of experience include, but are not limited to, strategic planning, student conduct, program assessment, diversity, budget management, behavior assessment, enrollment management, and collaborative efforts with faculty, legal services, university police, and auxiliary services. Beginning his higher educational career in admissions and enrollment, Dr. Lewis coordinated minority recruitment efforts and developed a basic knowledge of all campus services and programs. After transitioning to multicultural affairs, he led the diversity efforts at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and then transitioned to leading the same efforts at Georgia Southern University. During this time he assumed additional responsibilities in orientation, Greek life, and student government. After serving as a diversity professional at Georgia Southern, Dr. Lewis went on to serve in a senior level administrative positions as a Dean of Students. Following nearly 11 years of service at Georgia Southern University, Dr. Lewis went on to serve as the Chief Student Affairs Officers at Indiana University Northwest and Armstrong State University where he became skilled at strategic planning, leading complex student affairs organizational structures, and providing vision and leadership for departments that delivered services that are critical to student growth and development. In 2018, Dr. Lewis returned to consolidated Georgia Southern University as the Vice President for Student Affairs. Dr. Lewis has received several awards, been invited to serve on various major campus committees, is active nationally through consulting and delivering conference presentations, and voluntarily serves in the community.

Dr. Lewis is married to Ms. Anchelle N. Lewis, has 3 Children (Miles, Georj II, and Jazmyn) and 3 grandchildren (Taylor and Taliya).

Andy Meyer - Dalton State College
Photo of Andy Meyer

Andrew Meyer, Professor of Biology at Dalton State College, received his PhD in Physiology and Biophysics from the University of Iowa and his BA in Biology from Concordia University in Nebraska. Dr. Meyer has worked in higher education for the past 25 years with the last 19 being at Dalton State College. While at Dalton State College he has served as Department Chair for Natural Science, the Assistant Vice President of Academic Affairs, the Associate VPAA, and as Interim VPAA for approximately 2 years. He has also served on the Executive Committee for the USG’s Adult Learning Consortium, the Executive Committee for eCore, and as DSC’s representative for several Board of Regents Advisory Councils.

Currently Dr. Meyer has returned to the classroom and continues to serve students in his role as Professor of Biology. In his spare time he enjoys cycling, home projects, listening to jazz, and taking his dogs on new adventures.

Ivan Pulinkala - Kennesaw State University
Photo of Ivan Pulinkala

Ivan Pulinkala is the founder and chairperson of the Department of Dance at Kennesaw State University (KSU). He currently serves as the interim Dean of the College of the Arts at KSU. Originally from New Delhi, India, Pulinkala received his doctorate in Higher Education Administration from the University of Alabama, his Master of Fine Arts in Dance from Mills College, and his Bachelor of Commerce from Hindu College- Delhi University. Pulinkala began his professional training and choreographic career in India, where he served as the artistic director of his own company from 1994-1998. He served as the choreographer-in-residence for Delhi Music Theatre for five years and was named among the 25 Indian artists of the Millennium by the India Today Magazine in their December 1999 issue. Past choreographic commissions include works for Atlanta Ballet’s Wabi Sabi, The Israel Ballet, FRESCO Dance Company, and Kennesaw State University. Pulinkala’s solo work for internationally renowned dance artist Ido Tadmor premiered in Spain and Israel in 2017. Pulinkala’s written scholarship includes articles in Research in Dance Education and Theatre Topics. He travels nationally and internationally choreographing and teaching dance.

Pulinkala is the recipient of several awards and grants including the 2011 KSU Foundation Award, the 2010 Cobb Symphony Orchestra Award for Artistic Excellence, the 2010-12 Kennesaw State University Clendenin Graduate Fellowship, and the 2005 Murray State University Board of Regents Teaching Award. He serves on the boards of leading art organizations in Atlanta, including the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, the Artsbridge Educational Advisory Board, and Board of Directors. You can read more about Ivan Pulinkala at

Mark Reeves - University of West Georgia
Photo of Mark Reeves

Mark Reeves is the Associate Vice President for Auxiliary Enterprises, Business Services and Campus Events at the University of West Georgia. He has been with the University of West Georgia for 14 years. His areas of responsibility include the self-operated campus Dining programs, Bookstore, Coliseum, Performing Arts Center, Parking, Transportation, Post Office, Card Office, Snack-Beverage-ATM- Print Vending, Trademarks, Phone System, Summer Conferences, etc. Before coming to the University of West Georgia, Mark spent 23+ years, almost entirely in management, with United Parcel Service Inc. , Sandy Springs, Georgia. Mark served in many roles at UPS including Operations Manager, Logistics Manager, Sales Manager, Jr VP Sales, National Account and Strategic Accounts, and Air Division Manager. Mark has a Bachelor’s Degree from West Georgia College -majoring in Management, a Bachelor’s Degree from the State University of West Georgia with dual majors in Finance and Computer Information Systems, and a Master’s Degree from the University of Colorado with triple-majors in Management, Finance and Management Information Systems.

Mark and his wife Tina have four young adult children. Mark enjoys spending time with family, personal finance, numismatics, wood-working and construction, sports, and other outdoor activities.

Tom Reichert - University of South Carolina
Photo of Tom Reichert

(formerly @ University of Georgia at the start of program)

Tom Reichert currently serves as Dean of the College of Information and Communications at the University of South Carolina. He credits the leadership training USG provided for his success leading a college of over 2000 students, 65 faculty, and nationally ranked programs. Tom served as Department Head and Athletic Association Professor at the University of Georgia from 2004-2017. He participated in both the ALA and ELI programs, and sends his best to members of his USG leadership cohort.

Michael Sanseviro - Kennesaw State University
Photo of Michael Sanseviro

Michael L. Sanseviro, Ph.D., serves as the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students at Kennesaw State University. Prior to KSU, Dr. Sanseviro served at Georgia Perimeter College, Georgia State University, and the University System of Georgia office, with over 22 years of service in the USG and five years of service prior at private institutions of higher education in North Carolina and New York. He is originally from Long Island, NY, and completed his undergraduate studies at Emory University, Masters at Florida State University, and Ph.D. at Georgia State University. Dr. Sanseviro is also active in the community, serving on the Board of Directors for LGE Community Credit Union, as president of the Waterdance Homeowners Association, and president of the International Leadership Council and member of the board for Golden Key International Honor Society. He is a published author and was nominated for Author of the Year in 2011 by the Georgia Writers Association

Michael Schmidt - Valdosta State University
Photo of Michael Schmidt

Michael Schmidt serves as the Associate Dean of the College of the Arts at Valdosta State University. He served three years as the Head of the Department of Art & Design, and has taught ceramics and foundations courses for over 16 years. He arrived at VSU in 2001 as an assistant professor of art and has advanced through the academic ranks, promoted to professor in 2011. His creative works have been featured in more than 150 regional, national and international juried and invitational exhibitions from Georgia to Korea. Michael received his BFA from the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater in 1998, studying Graphic Design and Art History. He received his MFA from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania in 2001 in Ceramics and Sculpture. Much of his creative ceramic works involve themes of use, function, and a sense of history.

“It’s a great honor to be selected to participate in both the University System of Georgia ELI program (2013-14) and the ALA program (2017), representing Valdosta State University. These opportunities allowed me to explore leadership roles through the University System, connect with experienced administrators and faculty mentors throughout the system, and challenge my understanding of what it means to accept a more responsible leadership role in the academic world, ultimately affecting students in a more meaningful way.”

Julie Walker - Georgia Public Library Service
Photo of Julie Walker

Julie Walker is Georgia’s State Librarian and Assistant Vice Chancellor of the University System of Georgia. She has also served as Deputy State Librarian, Assistant State Librarian for Support Services and Strategic Initiatives, and as the first Program Director for PINES (Public Information Network for Electronic Services), Georgia’s statewide library card program. She served as Associate Director at the Athens Regional Library System in Athens GA, and has held professional positions in library systems in Charlotte, Winston-Salem and Asheboro, North Carolina. She is a past president of the Georgia Library Association, and Associate Editor of the Georgia Library Quarterly. Julie holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and the Master of Library Science degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Julie is a member trustee and secretary of the LYRASIS board of trustees, chair of public policy committee of the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA), and a member of the advisory board for ALA’s Center for the Future of Libraries. She is a graduate of the University System of Georgia’s Accelerated Leadership Academy, USG’s Executive Leadership Institute and Leadership Athens, and serves as coach for the Public Library Association’s Leadership Academy. Julie is a member of the Board of Visitors of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Information and Library Science, the advisory board of Valdosta State University’s School of Library and Information Science, and the advisory board of the Carl Vinson Institute of Government’s (UGA) Certified Public Manager program.