Higher-ed leaders who have been recently appointed or promoted
The National Junior College Athletic Association has announced the hiring of Christopher J. Parker as its new executive director. Parker will replace Mary Ellen Leicht, who is retiring after 28 years of service to the association. Parker has valuable experience in two-year collegiate athletics. In 2006 he was hired as the firstever athletic director at Patrick Henry Community College (Virginia) and led the institution to being the first community college in Virginia to join the NJCAA. He raised over $2 million for intercollegiate athletics at Patrick Henry, leading to new facility construction projects as well as renovations. Under his leadership, Patrick Henry’s athletic program grew from its original three sports to 12 before his departure in December 2015. Parker was named the Under Armour Southeast Athletic Director of the Year in 2010-11.
Jenni Martin has been named vice president of instruction at Spokane Community College. She has been filling that position on an interim basis.
Martin has worked at the Spokane community colleges for 17 years in various capacities including dean of extended learning, assistant dean of Adult Basic Education, WorkFirst manager and adjunct faculty. Prior to working at CCS, she was employed at Eastern Washington University as the head women’s soccer coach and also served as faculty at EWU and CCS. She has a master of education degree in adult education from EWU and earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Gonzaga University.
Spokane Falls Community College Vice President of Learning Andrew Feldman was selected to be the next vice president for learning at SFCC. Feldman currently serves as the dean of science, engineering and mathematics at Linn-Benton Community College (Ore.) After working in the entertainment industry, Feldman returned to school in his 30s and completed a Ph.D. in geology from Florida State University. He has more than 19 years combined teaching and administrative experience at Linn-Benton and at Luna Community College (N.M.) In addition to his leadership in education, Feldman also served on the Las Vegas (N.M.) City Council for four years.
Ricky Shabazz, an experienced higher education leader with a track record of promoting student equity and success, has been named the new president of San Diego City College (Calif.). Shabazz comes to City College from San Bernardino Valley College, where he serves as vice president of student services and has been responsible for leading the college’s strategic initiatives, student support programs, various instructional programs, and educational partnerships with K-12 schools and employers. At SBVC, Shabazz has proven to be especially adept at utilizing data in developing strategies to improve student success and retention while also growing the college’s enrollment. Shabazz earned his bachelor’s degree in Native American Studies at the University of California, Davis, his master’s degree in educational administration and supervision, and his doctorate in education in educational leadership from California State University, San Bernardino.
The Board of Trustees of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities has named Joseph Opatz interim president of Ridgewater College. Opatz has a lengthy and distinguished career serving higher education as well as the state of Minnesota. He was the president of Normandale Community College from 2007 to 2014, and was recognized by the Board of Trustees with president emeritus status. He also served Hennepin Technical College as interim vice president for workforce education, Central Lakes College as interim president and vice president for academic and student affairs, Anoka-Ramsey Community College as executive dean and dean of instructional programs, and St. Cloud State University as associate vice-president for academic affairs and special assistant to the president. He served for 12 years in the Minnesota House of Representatives, and was recognized as a Legislator of Distinction by the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities, and three times as an Outstanding Legislator of the Year by the Minnesota Business Partnership. He holds a bachelor’s degree from St. Cloud State University, a master’s from Kent State University, and a doctorate from the University of Minnesota.