Academy Class of 2012
Shelley K. Bannish
Shelley K. Bannish is the director of student life and involvement at Centralia College, where she has been
employed for almost 25 years. She holds a bachelor's degree in leisure services from Central Washington University
and a master's degree in community college management from Antioch University - McGregor. Bannish has been involved in
several professional organizations including the National Association for Campus Activities, The Association of College
Unions International and the Council of Unions and Student Programs. She has been married for 25 years this July
and has two children who are both students at Central Washington University. In her spare time she enjoys spending
time reading, and taking walks with her cocker spaniel, Ellie.
Heather Bennett is the Executive Director of Institutional Effectiveness & Resource Development at
Everett Community College, where she manages the Grants and Institutional Research Offices and leads the college's
Achieving the Dream project to improve student success. She also actively supports the college's work in strategic
planning and annual accreditation reporting. After earning her MFA in Creative Writing at Eastern Washington University,
she taught English at the University of Kentucky for nearly a decade. In the last 15 years, she has worked as a grant
writer and fund raiser for multiple non-profit and education organizations in Washington, Kentucky, and Georgia,
including Eastern Washington University Press, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and West Georgia Technical College. She
also helped new high tech companies in Eastern Kentucky raise start-up capital from angel investors. As a member of the
board of the Kentucky Women Writers Conference, she worked to build a true town-and-gown partnership between the
University of Kentucky and the community in support of the literary arts. Heather currently serves on the Education
Days Committee of Leadership Snohomish County and sits on the board of Poetry Northwest. She lives in Everett with her
Ana Hernandez Blackstad
Ana Hernandez Blackstad has served as the Director of Student Advising & Support Services at
Cascadia Community College since 2004. Ana supervises the areas of academic advising, the Running
Start and high school completion programs, services for veterans, counseling and disability support
services. Before joining Cascadia, Ana was the manager of online student services for Washington
Online Virtual Campus, a project of the Washington State Board of Community and Technical Colleges.
Ana's previous experience includes residence life, academic and career advising, website development,
training, and online teaching. She holds a B.A. in history and fine arts from Creighton University
and an M.Ed. in student development administration from Seattle University. Ana is married and
lives in Bothell, WA.
Margit Brumbaugh is Director of International Programs at Lower Columbia College, combining a
multi-cultural, multi-lingual background with more than ten years of experience in Student Services.
Following a successful and rewarding five-year tenure as Executive Director of Foundation & College
Development, Margit is excited to use her range of experience and her personal dedication to student
success to create and develop student-centered programs and services. Margit seeks a position as Vice
President of Student Services. Margit comes to WELA with an enthusiasm for learning and for service to
students. An avid runner with an ingrained love of travel, she enjoys adventures with her husband and
their two teenage sons. Margit holds a B.A. in Linguistics from the University of Washington, Seattle,
and an M.Ed. from Concordia University, Portland.
Shema Hanebutte is responsible for the Advising and Counseling Center, Disability and Access Services, the WorkSource
Affiliate Career Center and the Ask Me Center at Clover Park Technical College. She has over 6 years experience
within Student Services and prior to working in higher education, she built workforce development initiative that
focused on increasing capacity in health care program within higher educational institutes of Pierce County. Shema
has a BS in Psychology with a focus on Community Interventions from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a MS in
Counseling from California State, East Bay. Having served in the United States Air Force, provided clinical
counseling and community based interventions, she finds that working in the Community Technical College system
provides such opportunity one could never get bored.
A native of Eastern Washington, I was raised with two younger brothers in a traditional household by working class
parents. After graduation from Central Valley High School (Veradale, WA) I attended Washington State University
graduating with a Business Administration degree. After graduation, I accepted temporary employment in Walla Walla
and spent the next 18 years working for the Washington State Penitentiary. It was there I met and then married my
wonderful husband of 20 years. We have two beautiful daughters, ages 14 and 18. I have climbed to the summit of Mt.
St. Helens (most recently with my daughter), Mt. Adams and Mt. Hood. I parachuted in tandem (one jump) in 2005.
I am active in my church community.
John Huffstutter is the District Director for Budget and Administrative Services at the Community College District of
Spokane. He has a passion for learning and personal development, soaking up skills and knowledge about everything
from his profession to his blacksmithing avocation, from ski patrolling to theology, from science and technology to
history and music. In his five-year tenure, he established himself as a leader within both the district and the
Washington community and technical college system, serving as the Budget, Accounting and Reporting Group Chair in
2010-2011. He brought more than twenty-two years of leadership experience from service as a military officer,
where he served as an intelligence officer, budget and program manager, and unit commander. His cat Mina shares
him with his wife Joanne.
Since 2009, Scott Marsh has served as Director of Institutional Effectiveness at Tacoma Community College (TCC).
Prior to this Scott held faculty/administrative positions in the fine arts at The Ohio State University, Western
Michigan University, the University of Utah, Mills College, and the University of the Pacific. With an MFA in
Modern Dance, Scott performed and taught internationally with Repertory Dance Theatre and Tandy Beal and Company.
Currently he's completing a Ph.D. in Higher Education Leadership and Policy at the University of Utah.
In 2002 his leadership was acknowledged by Meghan Durham with the establishment of a University of Utah
scholarship: The L. Scott Marsh Mentorship Award, which is "Awarded annually and recognizes a graduate student
who has 'brought someone along' through example and encouragement."
Rick McKinnon is the eLearning Support Manager at South Puget Sound Community College, where he helps faculty take
advantage of the opportunities that are emerging in world of teaching and learning. He also teaches part-time at
The Evergreen State College in the Evening and Weekend Studies Program. Rick's training is in language and
communication. He received his BA from Evergreen, an MA from City University of New York, and a Ph.D. (Linguistics)
from the University of Washington. Rick's goal is to help guide the community and technical college system in
Washington through the period of transformation that is currently being driven by economic and technological forces.
Rick lives in Olympia with his wife, Carolyn Cummins McKinnon, and two children, Sam (age 3) and Margot (age 4 months).
Rick plays clawhammer banjo in a small string band, and has recently begun experimenting with the banjo-uke.
Visit Rick's webpage at rickmckinnon.com.
Dr. James Mohr
Dr. James Mohr serves as the Director of Student Success and Outreach at the Community Colleges of Spokane,
Institute for Extended Learning, is a board member of the Northwest Association of Student Affairs Professionals,
and chairs the Board of Advisors for the Gonzaga University (GU) Institute for Hate Studies. He holds a doctorate in
Leadership Studies from GU and a master's degree in Student Personnel Administration from New York University. He has
presented at national and international conferences on intercultural leadership, understanding hate, white
privilege, and creating safe campuses. He has written articles on studying hate and the leadership lessons that
can be learned from improvisational theater. He is currently researching the impact of a co-curricular leadership
program on students in a college transition program.
Tom Nielsen has 30 years of experience at Bellevue College, which includes his work as an Instructor in the Interior
Design Program, his service as Program Chair of that department, and Chair of the Arts & Humanities Division.
As Vice President of Instruction he is chief academic officer, responsible for leadership and oversight of all
instructional programs. Tom collaborates with the college trustees and executive administrators in strategic
planning, policy development and implementation of college-wide programs and initiatives. Tom holds a Master of
Architecture and a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Design from the University of Washington, and an Associate
of Arts with honors from Bellevue College. Professional associations include the Interior Design Educators' Council
and the International Interior Design Association.
Brian Walsh has served as Director of Corrections Education for Peninsula College at Clallam Bay and
Olympic Corrections Centers since 2008. As Director, Brian started the first I-BEST program in
prison. Prior to Corrections, Brian worked in Peninsula College's WorkFirst program and assisted
with the startup of seven I-BEST programs. He holds a Master's Degree in Strategic Studies from
the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, which he earned while serving as a Rotary International
Ambassadorial Scholar, and a Bachelor's Degree in History from Ripon College. Brian enjoys sea
kayaking, cooking and passing the time on his long commute listening to Teaching Company lectures.
Sheila Walton is currently working as the Manager of Student Programs at Lake Washington Institute of Technology.
After receiving her Master's in Education from Seattle University in 1998 she began a storied career as a Student
Services professional. She has worked at community colleges and baccalaureate institutions, both public and private
and truly enjoys work associated with the technical college environment. Sheila has had the opportunity to work in
various Student Services departments like: student leadership, housing, academic advising, and student campus life.
She has held leadership positions within the Council for Unions and Student Programs and continues to volunteer her
time to help that organization foster student leadership. Focusing her energy on cyclic student leadership development
continues to drive her learning and professional growth.