Academy Class of 2012

Shelley K. Bannish

ShelleyBannish 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

Heather Bennett 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 strategic planning process. She also actively supports the college's Achieving the Dream project to improve student success and 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. A Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE), 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 boards of Poetry Northwest and KSER Independent Public Radio. She lives in Everett with her two children.

Ana Hernandez Blackstad

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

Margit Brumbaugh Margit Brumbaugh is Director of International Programs at Lower Columbia College, where she combines her multi-cultural, multi-lingual background with a personal commitment to service, equity, and student achievement. Margit's 15-year career in higher education includes leadership and administrative positions in admissions, advising, and retention; as well as successful and rewarding five-year tenure as Executive Director of Foundation & College Development. Margit is excited to lead the new international programs initiative for LCC, creating new opportunities for students and for global educational partnerships. An avid runner with an ingrained love of travel, she enjoys adventures with her husband and two sons. Margit holds a B.A. in Linguistics from the University of Washington, Seattle; an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from Concordia University, Portland; and is active in a variety of professional and community organizations.

Shema Hanebutte

Shema Hanebutte Shema Hanebutte is the Dean of Counseling, Advising, Worker Retraining and the Career Services at Tacoma Community College. She has many years of experience within various areas of Student Services and prior to working in higher education, she built workforce development initiatives that focused on increasing capacity in health care programs 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 and she is pursuing her Doctorate in Educational Leadership at the University of Washington, Tacoma. Having served in the United States Air Force, provided clinical counseling and community based interventions, she finds that working in the Community and Technical College system provides such opportunity one could never get bored.

Sherry Hartford

Sherry Hartford 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

John Huffstutter 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.

Scott Marsh

Scott Marsh Scott Marsh currently serves as Interim Vice President for Instruction at Tacoma Community College. At TCC he has also served as Interim Dean for Health, Justice and Human Services as well as Director of Institutional Effectiveness. Prior to TCC Scott held faculty/administrative appointments 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 has performed and taught internationally with Repertory Dance Theatre and Tandy Beal and Company. In 2002 his academic 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

Rick McKinnon 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

Dr. James Mohr

Jim Mohr Dr. James Mohr serves as Acting Assistant Dean of Student Success and Outreach at the Community Colleges of Spokane, Institute for Extended Learning 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

Tom Nielsen 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

Brian Walsh 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

Sheila Walton 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.