Mark James, chancellor
On Jan. 21, 2010, the Metropolitan Community College (MCC) Board of Trustees announced the selection of Vice Chancellor of Administrative Services Mark James as the college's next chancellor. As chancellor, James has focused the college vision on maximizing student success through a revamped strategic plan, expanded workforce training relationships with area businesses, improved strategic enrollment management and prioritized resource allocation through zero based budgeting.
Prior to joining MCC, James was appointed by Gov. Matt Blunt as director of the Missouri Department of Public Safety and State Homeland Security Advisor from 2005 through 2009. Mark oversaw the Missouri National Guard, Missouri State Highway Patrol, Missouri State Water Patrol, State Emergency Management Agency, Division of Fire Safety, Capitol Police, Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control, Gaming Commission, Veteran's Commission and Office of Homeland Security. He served as incident commander of 20 presidentially declared disasters in Missouri, revamped the State’s Emergency Operations Plan and championed a statewide interoperability of communications system.
James' public service began in 1978 with the Missouri State Highway Patrol where he worked as a trooper, undercover investigator and supervisor of the Intelligence Section. In 1987, he joined the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) where he spent 20 years advancing through the ranks of special agent in Kansas City to resident agent in charge of the Omaha Field Office, to chief of ATF's Intelligence Division in Washington, D.C. His final assignment was leading the four-state region of Missouri, Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska as special agent in charge of the Kansas City Field Division. His career highlights with ATF included many notable cases such as the Oklahoma City Bombing, TWA Flight 800, Olympic Bombing in Atlanta, UBL, Columbine and the capture of the D.C. Snipers.
James currently serves on the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) homeland security policy committee, Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Corporation, Full Employment Council and Missouri Community College Association Presidents and Chancellors Council.
James is a published author on Russian organized crime and domestic terrorism. He earned a master's degree in strategic intelligence from the National Intelligence University in Washington, D.C. and a bachelor's degree in criminal justice and administration from the University of Central Missouri. Based on his body of work, he was awarded an honorary doctorate of laws from the University of Central Missouri, named a distinguished graduate of the National Intelligence University and made an Intelligence Fellow by the Director Central Intelligence.
James balances his career with sports and fitness. For more than 10 years, he has
mentored student athletes coaching football and basketball while raising two children
with his wife Debra. Debra and Mark are longtime residents and former business owners
in the Northland of the Kansas City metropolitan area.
Shelley Temple Kneuvean, vice chancellor, financial and administrative services
Shelley Temple Kneuvean joined Metropolitan Community College as vice chancellor of financial and administrative services in November 2014.
She serves as the chief financial officer for the College and is responsible for budgeting and financial services for the College and its five campuses. She works to deliver a strategic and creative financial plan that will ensure MCC's long-term sustainability and success. She is also responsible for oversight and management of facilities services, information technology, auxiliary services and business relations.
Kneuvean came to MCC from the County Executive's office of Jackson County, Mo., where she served as the chief operating officer. She managed budgeting and finance functions across multiple departments and supervised operational areas including public works, planning, facilities, parks and recreation, corrections and the county municipal court. Additionally, she was the County Executive’s office liaison with the sheriff, prosecutor and circuit court.
Prior to her work with Jackson County, Kneuvean served as the assistant and acting city manager of the city of Lee's Summit, where she administered all internal service departments and economic development.
She is a native of the Kansas City area. After graduating from Truman High School in Independence, Kneuvean earned multiple bachelor's degrees -- in public administration, communications and political science -- from William Jewell College in Liberty as well as a master’s in public administration from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
Carlos G. Peñaloza, vice chancellor, academic affairs
Carlos G. Peñaloza, Ph.D., became MCC’s vice chancellor for academic affairs on Aug. 1, 2016. He came here from Schenectady County Community College, part of the State University of New York system, where he served as assistant vice president of academic affairs and acting dean of mathematics, science, technology and health.
Peñaloza, a former biology instructor, earned his doctorate in molecular, cellular and developmental biology from the City University of New York. He came to New York at the age of 17 after being born and raised in Venezuela.
Peñaloza, whose first degree was from a community college, calls himself a "true believer" in the community college experience.
Peñaloza joined Schenectady County Community College in June 2014. His responsibilities there included oversight of academic assessment, academic offerings, program revisions, new program submissions and accreditation-related matters.
He previously served as dean of health sciences and chair of health-care administration for Briarcliffe College on Long Island, N.Y., overseeing three campuses and an online division. He also held various academic and administrative positions for the City University of New York, in instruction and administration.
Peñaloza’s teaching experience spans Queens College, LaGuardia Community College and York College, all in New York City, in the areas of general biology and developmental biology.
In addition to his Ph.D., he holds an associate degree in liberal arts sciences with concentrations in chemistry, biology and math from Queensborough Community College; a B.A. in biology with minors in chemistry and biochemistry from Queens College; and an M.Phil. (master of philosophy) in biology from the City University of New York.
Kathrine Swanson, vice chancellor, student success and engagement
Kathrine Swanson, Ed.D., became MCC's vice chancellor for student success and engagement
in August 2015.
Swanson came to MCC from Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell, Penn., where she served for 10 years as a member of the senior leadership team, last as vice president for student affairs and enrollment management. In that role, she was responsible for areas including institutional research, admissions, registration, financial aid, child care, student leadership and involvement, advising, counseling, career services, dual-enrollment initiatives, testing and placement, transfer services, veterans services and many grant-funded specialty programs.
Swanson holds a bachelor’s degree in business management from Northern Michigan University, a master’s in adult and higher education from Montana State University and a doctorate in higher education administration from the University of North Texas.
Prior to her position at Montgomery County, Swanson was associate dean of students
at Collin County Community College in McKinney, Texas. She also held the positions
of executive director for community relations, acting provost and director of recruitment
and retention during her time at Collin County Community College.
At MCC, she is responsible for student access and success initiatives through leading strategic enrollment management planning and student financial services and collaborating with campus leaders to ensure student development areas such as counseling, disability services and campus life are providing opportunities for student engagement and success both in and out of the classroom.
Michael Banks, president, MCC-Blue River
Michael Banks never imagined that the lessons he learned as a theater designer and director over the last 25 years would help shape his role as a leader of Metropolitan Community College’s Blue River campus.
Banks joined MCC in March, 2012, and immediately saw his new role as an opportunity to help grow the campus and the communities it serves. It was a chance, he said, to pull together differing viewpoints and organizations, as he has done throughout his career, to rally them around the success of every student who attends MCC.
Before joining MCC, Banks served as vice president for academic and student affairs and vice president for academic affairs at St. Charles Community College (Missouri). During his tenure, he integrated the academic affairs and student services areas into a unified academic and student affairs area. He also chaired the campus security task force and led the campus security leadership team.
Banks served as dean/division chair of the arts and humanities division at St. Charles Community College (SCC) from 1994-2003.
Previous to his time at SCC, he served as an assistant professor of speech and theatre and director of performing arts at Urbana University (Ohio), and as theatre department chair and assistant professor of theatre and design/ technical direction at Xavier University (Ohio). He has taught full-time and part-time in speech and theatre at Xavier University, Urbana University, Lindenwood University (Missouri), and SCC.
Banks has a Ph.D. in American studies from St. Louis University, a Master of Fine Arts degree in design and technical theatre from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale and a bachelor’s degree in theatre from St. Louis University.
Kirk Nooks, president, MCC-Longview
Kirk Nooks had a relationship with the Kansas City area long before occupying the president’s office at MCC-Longview. This relationship unfolded years ago when he attended a conference and fell in love with the area and its barbecue.
Now he’s become acquainted with the many attributes of Lee’s Summit and the Kansas City area. He considers the community a mecca of educational opportunity, beginning with the award-winning Lee’s Summit public school district and the quality higher education offered by MCC.
Nooks, who took the lead at MCC-Longview in July, 2013, began his tenure by establishing a presidential task force to explore the campus’s future. The approach involves establishing a model based on several ‘P’ initiatives, including philosophy, people, places, policies, programs, practices and progress.
With 15 years of experience in education, business and engineering, Nooks is building on the foundations laid by Longview’s last president, Fred Grogan, who retired after 15 years.
Nooks is making the most of his educational leadership background, which includes his last position at Georgia Highlands College, where he served as both campus dean and executive liaison for diversity initiatives. Under his leadership, the campus saw tremendous growth, including a 35 percent increase in enrollment and expanded academic and student services. Additionally, academic and office space more than doubled.
Nooks holds a doctorate in higher education administration from The George Washington University, an MBA in marketing and a bachelor of science in industrial management from Mercer University. He is a graduate of the Thomas Lakin Institute for Mentored Leadership and a member of the inaugural cohort of the American Council on Education’s Spectrum Leadership Institute.
Locally, Nooks is involved with the Lee’s Summit Chamber of Commerce and the Missouri Community College Association. Nooks has also been involved with the Association for the Study of Higher Education, The Chair Academy, National Academic Advising Association, the National Association of College & University Business Officers, the National Association for Student Personnel Administrators, the National Council on Black American Affairs and the National Council on Student Development, the American Association of Community Colleges and the Association of American Colleges and Universities.
Utpal Goswami, president, MCC-Maple Woods
Before joining MCC-Maple Woods in July, Dr. Utpal K. Goswami logged more than 30 years of higher education experience as both a member of the faculty and administration at colleges in Texas, California, Arizona and Missouri.
Most recently, he served as vice president of instruction at College of the Redwoods in Eureka, Calif. He also served as interim president and superintendent of the college in 2011-12, during which time he led the district in responding to accreditation challenges, development of a new mission/vision statement, development of the 2012-17 strategic plan and the 2012-17 education master plan and implementation of major capital projects.
Prior to his leadership at College of the Redwoods, Goswami served as vice president and provost at Yavapai College in Prescott, Ariz. Before that, he spent several years as dean of business administration and instructional operations at St. Louis Community College – Meramec. Goswami has been involved in many aspects of community college leadership, including program development, fostering shared governance, integrating technology into both the teaching and the learning environment, engaging community leaders and philanthropists and meeting high accreditation standards.
He holds a master’s degree in development economics from Boston University and both a master’s degree and a doctoral degree in economics from Southern Methodist University. His board service includes the United Way, the Chamber of Commerce, the American Red Cross and Decade of Difference.
As MCC embarks on a targeted student success initiative, Goswami sees opportunities to build a campus culture of proactivity, solving issues facing student learning, completion and workforce preparation. He also plans to connect to the Northland community and secure philanthropic support for MCC-Maple Woods’ mission of preparing students.
Jacqueline Gill, president, MCC-Business & Technology
Jacqueline Gill became president of the MCC-Business & Technology campus in February 2016.
She came to MCC from Tarrant County College in Hurst, Texas, where she served as interim vice president for academic affairs for the Northeast campus and vice president of community and industry education services. She also taught social work and sociology courses at TCC and at Western Wyoming Community College.
She joined Tarrant County College, a comprehensive community college district with five campuses and more than 100,000 credit and noncredit students, in 1999.
Gill has worked with organizations including the American Association of Community Colleges, AARP and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s Workforce Education Curriculum Maintenance project. WECM produces the statewide manual of courses in technical and professional training for all Texas community colleges.
Gill supported the Tarrant Literacy Project by offering free GED and English as a Second Language classes in the Northeast service area, and she hosted the annual Heart of North Texas business conference.
Gill earned a bachelor's degree in sociology at Texas A&M University, a master’s in social work from the University of Texas at Arlington, a master’s in education from Texas A&M University-Commerce, and a doctorate in education with a major in supervision, curriculum and instruction in higher education from Texas A&M University-Commerce.
Tony Ross, interim president, MCC-Penn Valley
Dr. Tony Ross was named interim president of MCC-Penn Valley in August 2016. He was most recently vice president for student affairs at California State University-Los Angeles.
Ross had worked since 2000 at Cal State L.A., where he was also an associate professor in the Charter College of Education. Ross previously worked one year as vice president for development with Edison Schools, and five years at Wichita State University, serving as associate to the president and later interim vice president for student affairs.
He has also worked as an administrator at Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, and St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y., both alma maters. He holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a master’s in counseling from St. Lawrence and a doctorate in educational administration and leadership from Northern Arizona.
He began his career at Utica College (New York) in 1975 as a counselor in the Higher Education Opportunity Program.