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Leadership

Leading Together at MCC

The faculty, staff, and administration of Metropolitan Community College proudly serve the four-county area of Dodge, Douglas, Sarpy and Washington Counties in eastern Nebraska by providing open-access, relevant, student-centered education to a diverse community of learners.

The College is governed by an elected Board of Governors and led by President Randy Schmailzl, who has worked at MCC since 1989.

The Board and the President are supported in daily and strategic decision-making by several college groups highlighted below.

Office of the President

Fort Omaha Campus, Building 30
The College president serves as chief executive officer of the College. The President’s Office reports to the MCC Board of Governors.

Randy Schmailzl, president

Randy Schmailzl

Schmailzl started his career as a high school teacher, administrator and coach in 1976. He moved on to the field of higher education as a faculty member, administrator and coach, before joining MCC in April 1989 as the director of Enrollment Management, Records and Placement. He became the dean of Student Services in 1995. In March 1998, he became provost and was named executive vice president in July 2001. On Aug. 25, 2009, he was appointed president of the College. Schmailzl earned a bachelor's degree from Nebraska Wesleyan University, and his master's degree in Counseling, Administration and Higher Education from South Dakota University.
Executive assistant: Julie Lanxon, jlanxon@mccneb.edu or 531-MCC-2203

Patricia Crisler, chief of staff

Patricia Crisler

Having served the College in a variety of capacities since 1998, including K-12 partnerships, community education, workforce training, research, grants and fundraising development, Crisler currently provides strategic and operational support to the College president. She supports the president’s work with all areas of the College and the elected Board of Governors and provides administrative leadership to the office of Marketing, Brand and Communication, the 180 Re-entry Assistance Program, Veterans and Military Resource Center, Pathway Support Systems, and the Path Forward Initiative. Crisler holds a master's degree in Higher Education Administration from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

James Thibodeau, associate vice president for Compliance and General Counsel 

Thibodeau came to MCC in April of 2007, as the director of Labor Relations and General Counsel after seven years with the office of the Douglas County Attorney in Omaha.  He was appointed to the position of associate vice president for Compliance and General Counsel in October of 2016.  He holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and a law degree from Creighton University.

Julie Lanxon, executive assistant to the president 

Lanxon joined the President’s Office in 2021 with more than 15 years of experience in higher education. She supports the President’s office and serves as recording secretary for the Board of Governors. She holds a bachelor’s of science degree in business administration from Crown College.

Office of the Ombudsperson

Fort Omaha Campus, Building 21
Assists students, employees and members of the public respond to complaints or concerns to support retention and foster respect across the college community.

The Executive Leadership Team

The Executive Leadership Team is comprised of the President, his Chief of Staff and the five Vice Presidents. A decision-making body, the Executive Leadership Team meets monthly to address matters of strategy, mission, budget, and governance.

Vice President Offices

Academic Affairs

Fort Omaha Campus, Building 30
Oversees all credit programs of study at the College, leads full-time and adjunct instructors in course and curriculum development, and is responsible for standards in academic programs as well as faculty growth and development.
Assistant to the vice president for Academic Affairs: Jolynn Emery, jemery1@mccneb.edu or 531-MCC-2409.

Tom McDonnell, vice president for Academic Affairs 

Tom McDonnell

McDonnell’s career in postsecondary education covers nearly 30 years of service at two comprehensive, high-performing community colleges. During his career, he has worked in a supportive professional role, a faculty role and administrative roles. Since 2014, McDonnell has served as the vice president for Academic Affairs and is also the College’s Higher Learning Commission Accreditation liaison officer. From 2008 to 2014, he was dean for Humanities and Visual Arts at MCC. McDonnell earned a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Iowa State University in 1985, a Master of Arts in Communication from Eastern Illinois University in 1995, and his Ed.D. in Higher Education Leadership from North Central University in 2012.

Student Affairs

Fort Omaha Campus, Building 1
Oversees all student services operations at all MCC campuses and locations, including student services, advising, counseling, learning support and student technology services.
Assistant to the vice president for Student Affairs: TBA, ...

María Vazquez, vice president for Student Affairs 

Maria Vazquez

Vazquez has held several positions at MCC, including associate vice president for Student Affairs, dean of students, dean of the MCC South Omaha Campus, student services director at the South Omaha Campus and coordinator of Nebraska Corrections Education Connection. She was the first Latina to serve on former Omaha mayor Mike Fahey’s cabinet as director of Greater Omaha Workforce Development. Vazquez holds an associate degree from MCC, a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and a Ph.D. in Educational Administration from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Operations

Fort Omaha Campus, Building 18
Provides leadership for campus facilities planning, operations, scheduling events, and utilization.
Coordinator of Centralized Scheduling and Events: Hanne Kruse, hkruse@mccneb.edu or 531-MCC-2241.

Kay Friesen, vice president for Operations 

Kay Friesen

Since 1988, Friesen has served the College in a variety of capacities, including the President’s Office, Academic Affairs, institutional planning, research, grants, events, and facilities use. Friesen holds a master's degree in Higher Education Administration with an emphasis in Human Resource Development from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Human Resources

Fort Omaha Campus, Building 32
Supports the College’s mission through a variety of strategic and operational functions related to the attraction, recruitment, retention and development of a qualified and diverse workforce.
Human Resources specialist: Zenee Woodard, zwoodard@mccneb.edu or 531-MCC-2420.

Melissa Beber, vice president for Human Resources 

Missy Beber

Beber provides oversight to all functions within human resources while working collaboratively across the College to develop effective human capital strategies for the benefit of faculty, staff and students. Prior to joining MCC, she held several human resources leadership roles with WoodmenLife in Omaha. She obtained both her bachelor’s degree and Master of Business Administration degrees from the University of Nebraska Omaha, and holds Professional in Human Resources (PHR), Certified Compensation Professional (CCP) and Certified Employee Benefits Specialist (CEBS) certifications.

Institutional Effectiveness

Fort Omaha Campus, Building 14S
Provides leadership for strategic planning involving the development of goals that support MCC's mission, vision, and values.

T. Hank Robinson, Ph.D., vice president for Institutional Effectiveness 

T. Hank Robinson serves as the vice president for Institutional Effectiveness, providing college-wide strategic planning, evaluation and assistance to ensure MCC is following its mission statement of delivering relevant, student-centered education to a diverse community of learners. Robinson comes to the College from University of Nebraska at Omaha where he was the director of the office of Institutional Effectiveness since 2013, bringing the expertise needed to help keep MCC a growing and thriving community college.

President’s Cabinet Offices

The President’s Cabinet is comprised of the Executive Leadership Team and other senior leaders. Focused on collegewide communication and operational excellence, the Cabinet members meet monthly to share information, align efforts, and focus on effectiveness.

College Business Office

Fort Omaha Campus, Building 30

Brenda Schumacher, college business officer 

Brenda Schumacher

Schumacher serves as the College’s chief financial officer and oversees administrative service areas including Accounting, Purchasing, Budget Management, Student Financial Services, and Financial Aid. Schumacher has been with the College since 1992, starting as a staff accountant and growing into other leadership roles. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Management from Wayne State College.

Equity and Inclusion

Fort Omaha Campus, Building 15N
Oversees diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, federal TRIO programs, and intercultural education.
Equity and Inclusion associate: TBA, ...

Cynthia Gooch-Grayson, Ph.D., associate vice president for Equity and Inclusion 

Cynthia Gooch-Grayson

Gooch-Grayson holds a bachelor's degree in Communication Studies from the University of Nebraska Lincoln, a master’s degree in Family and Mental Health Counseling at the University of the District of Columbia and a PhD in Higher Education Administration and Leadership from the University of Nebraska Lincoln. Her scholarly interests include equity, retention and access in postsecondary education for historically disenfranchised and marginalized groups.

Information Technology Services

Fort Omaha Campus, Building 16
Provides educational and institutional technology and support to the MCC employee and student community.
Assistant to the chief information officer: Mary Thibodeau, mathibodeau@mccneb.edu or 531-MCC-2369.

chief information officer 

The CIO oversees all College technology operations, security and strategy including computer infrastructure, application services, cybersecurity, risk and compliance, servers, audio/visual, support services and computer systems support.

Marketing, Brand and Communication

Fort Omaha Campus, Building 6
Oversees marketing strategy and management, creative and internal client services, the MCC online user experience and provides stewardship of the College brand to all audiences.
Enrollment Services assistant: Linda Moraine, lmoraine@mccneb.edu or 531-MCC-2478.

Nannette Rodríguez, college marketing officer for Marketing, Brand and Communication 

Nannette Rodriguez

Rodríguez joined MCC in 2016 and was appointed its first college marketing officer in 2021. A serial entrepreneur, advertising agency executive and former Fortune 500 brand manager, Rodríguez was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and holds a bachelor’s degree in Advertising from Bradley University, a master’s degree in Integrated Marketing from Drake University and was named a 2019 National Community College Hispanic Council Fellow.

Community and Workforce Education

Fort Omaha Campus, Building 24
Oversees all non-credit workforce and personal enrichment offerings, including training for individual career advancement, corporate training, College for Kids, College for Teens, and a host of community-based educational outreach services.
Director of Workforce & IT Innovation-Career Skills: Tammy Green, tjgreen5@mccneb.edu or 531-MCC-2688.

Gary Girard, associate vice president for Community and Workforce Education 

Gary Girard is the associate vice president for Community and Workforce Education. Girard was previously the executive director of Continuing Education, constantly expanding and diversifying programming offered to learners of all ages and interests. This newly created role extends his leadership to include the College’s Workforce Innovation Division where he will provide leadership and strategic direction for the design and delivery of workforce training programs, customized skills development training, professional development and community education programming.

Pathway Support Systems

Fort Omaha Campus, Building 30
Oversees the growing array of mechanisms MCC students use to discover, choose, engage with, and fund their career/educational journeys, including scholarships, student worker opportunities, earn and learn sponsorships, and employer-based educational assistance programs.
Office of Pathway Support Systems: Associate Vice President: Chris Swanson, csswanson@mccneb.edu or 531-MCC-2442.

Chris Swanson, associate vice president for Pathway Support Systems 

Chris Swanson

Swanson’s first role at MCC was as a student. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Business from the University of Nebraska- Lincoln, and a master’s degree and an educational specialist degree in Higher Education Administration from the University of Iowa. Swanson has held several positions across MCC since joining the staff in 2012, including roles in scholarships, grant management, adult education, continuing education, and adjunct faculty member.

Metropolitan Community College Foundation

Fort Omaha Campus, Building 12S
The Office of Advancement builds awareness and financial support to advance the work of the College through the management and stewardship of grants, individual, corporate, and foundation giving, including alumni relations. The MCC Foundation is a separate 501(c)3 corporation within the advancement office.
Assistant director of Advancement: Lesa Villafuerte, lvillafuerte2@mccneb.edu or 531-MCC-2346.

Amy Recker, associate vice president for Advancement and executive director of the MCC Foundation 

Recker provides strategic and operational leadership in the areas of fundraising and donor stewardship for the MCC Foundation and its independent volunteer Board of Directors. Recker has been with the MCC Foundation since August 2016. Her previous career experience includes advertising, business analysis and nonprofit leadership roles in Seattle, Washington, Council Bluffs, Iowa, and Omaha, Nebraska. Recker earned her master’s degree in Management of Information Systems from the University of Nebraska Omaha and her bachelor’s degree in Communication from Nebraska Wesleyan University. She is a graduate of the 2016 Nonprofit Executive Institute offered through the Nonprofit Association of the Midlands.

Advisory Councils

Three standing councils serve as vehicles for input, representation, and problem-solving.

Academic Council 

Serving as advisor to the Vice President for Academic Affairs, the Academic Council provides an organizational structure where faculty can discuss issues related to teaching and learning and make recommendations to MCC Administration. The Council promotes and improves communication and mutual understanding between faculty and the administration, students and staff. The council consists of 12 full-time faculty, 2 adjunct faculty, and 3 administrators serving as voting members. The Vice President for Academic Affairs, Vice President for Student Affairs, the Faculty ex-officio to the Board of Governors, and the immediate past chair of Academic Council serve as non-voting members. The Assistant to the Vice President for Academic Affairs also serves as a non-voting member and is recording secretary for the Council. Faculty voting members serve a two-year term and represent a constituency within their academic discipline area as follows: Academic Success—one member, Business—one member, Career and Technical Education—two members, Culinary and Horticulture—one member, Information Technology—one member, Health Careers—one member, Humanities and the Arts—two members, Math and Natural Sciences—one member, and Social Sciences—two members. Adjunct faculty members serve a broader constituency with one adjunct elected from all general education/transfer disciplines and the other from all career program disciplines. Terms are staggered so that no more than half of the Council turns over each year.

Advising Council 

Serving as advisor to the Vice President for Student Affairs, the Advising Council was created to review and recommend procedures that support advising and student success. Membership includes academic advisors and success navigators representing the three main campuses and representation from one center. Other members include faculty, counselor, career services, financial aid, records, contact center, and representation from the recruiting team. Members serve a two-year term.

Student Advisory Council 

The Student Advisory Council (SAC) was established to enhance communication between students and the College at large. Members are elected in the fall to represent each MCC location. SAC also elects a student ex-officio member of the MCC Board of Governors meetings, who attends all Board meetings and provides monthly updates from the student perspective throughout their one-year term. For more information go to myhub.mccneb.edu and search "SAC".

Path Forward Teams

Path Forward Initiative 

Path Forward is a multi-year effort to recalibrate College systems to make success the default for our students. The collegewide improvement initiative is headed by a Steering Committee that serves a two-year term. Following a multi-year Plan-Do-Study-Act cycle, Path Forward activities include multidisciplinary teams engaged to (a) understand how systems support student success, (b) plan data-informed improvements, (c) test solutions and gather information, and (d) launch improvements at a sufficient scale to lead to meaningful improvements across all student experiences. Path Forward recommendations are presented to Cabinet, then Executive Leadership Team for adoption. Approved recommendations are assigned to implementation teams, which report to the steering committee for ongoing coordination, and Executive Leadership Team for implementation refinement.

The four primary pillars of the Path Forward initiative are below.

Four Primary Pillars of the Path Forward Initiative

Path Forward Leadership 

Steering Committee members – Cross-functional committee coordinates overall planning to integrate design and discovery team solutions into college practices and implementation; coordinates internal communication, alignment, research, reports and training.

  • Dr. Hollie Knake, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs, co-chair
  • Chad Jorgensen, English Instructor, co-chair
  • Jacquie Armstrong, Associate Dean of Construction Education
  • Laura Baca, Learning and Tutoring Center Supervisor
  • Dr. Nate Barry, Dean of Career and Technical Education
  • Cathy Brunkhorst, Director of Curriculum and Instruction
  • Daphne Cook, Assistant Director of Continuing Education
  • Cathy Curtis, Culinary Arts Instructor
  • Brigid Howard, Institutional Effectiveness Research Manager

The Path Forward initiative is supported by a host of college personnel, including

  • Dr. Jackie Almquist, Lead Project Coordinator
  • Dr. Neena Nizar, Implementation Coordinator