This group of leaders brings their expertise in a variety of subjects to create and carry out the strategic plan for the College.
Jeff L. Pittman, Ph.D.
Jeff Pittman, Ph.D., began his role as chancellor of St. Louis Community College in July 2015. He is responsible for guiding a multi-campus college system with four locations that offer college transfer options and more than 80 career-focused programs. STLCC is the largest higher educational institution in the region, the third largest in Missouri and serves more than 50,000 students annually.
Under his leadership, STLCC has developed a comprehensive strategic plan, increased employee participation in the budgeting process with new emphasis on fiscal responsibility, increased opportunities for workforce development initiatives and programming, developed dual enrollment and dual credit programs for high school students, and has focused on maintaining affordable, accessible, quality educational opportunities. In 2016, the STLCC Board of Trustees gave its approval for the development of the Center for Nursing and Health Sciences at the Forest Park campus. The Center represents the College’s strategic response to workforce needs in health care. The Center will open for students in STLCC’s allied health programs in fall 2019. STLCC earned reaffirmation of accreditation with the Higher Learning Commission in 2018.
In 2017-2018, Dr. Pittman served as chair of the Missouri Community College Association. He is a member of the Missouri Department of Higher Education Commissioner’s Advisory Group, Best in the Midwest Advisory Committee and Talent for Tomorrow Task Force. He serves as a board member for Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis Regional Chamber of Commerce, United Way of Greater St. Louis, Higher Education Consortium of Metropolitan St. Louis, Missouri Community College Association and RC-2020.
Dr. Pittman has 30 years of experience in higher education. Prior to joining STLCC, he worked for Ivy Tech Community College in Indiana for 27 years in various academic leadership roles such as statewide vice president of corporate college services and online education. He served as chancellor of Ivy Tech’s Wabash Valley Region and statewide vice provost of distance education.
Dr. Pittman earned a doctorate in educational leadership, administration and foundations, and a master’s degree in human resource development from Indiana State University. He has a bachelor’s degree in business from Indiana University.
Anthony Cruz, Ed.D.
Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs
Anthony Cruz, Ed.D., served as vice president of enrollment management and student affairs at Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio. Prior to joining Sinclair Community College, Dr. Cruz held leadership roles at several community colleges and universities, including Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, Broward College, Kaplan University and Florida International University. A native of Chicago, Dr. Cruz grew up in Miami and has a doctorate in education from Florida International University, a master's degree in public administration from Florida State University and a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Florida International University.
Andrew Langrehr, Ph.D.
Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
Andrew Langrehr, Ph.D., was appointed as vice chancellor for academic affairs in July 2015. He provides districtwide oversight of the College’s curriculum-related policies, articulation of courses and programs, assessment of student learning outcomes, institutional research and instructional resources. Dr. Langrehr previously served as the vice president for academic affairs at STLCC-Meramec. He joined the College as a full-time chemistry instructor in 2001. He served as the department chair for physical and engineering sciences and the academic dean for the science and technology division prior to his appointment as vice president. Dr. Langrehr was a full-time chemistry instructor at Jefferson College before coming to STLCC. He began his community college career as an adjunct chemistry instructor at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Dr. Langrehr holds a Ph.D. in education from the University of Missouri-St. Louis and studied chemistry at both Central College and the University of Iowa earning a bachelor’s and master’s degree, respectively.
Paul Zinck, M.B.A.
Vice Chancellor of Finance and Administration
The College named Paul Zinck vice chancellor of finance and administration in February of 2016. Previous to this appointment, Zinck was acting vice chancellor for finance and administration and was also controller for the College. Zinck is the chief financial officer for the District and is responsible for all activity related to STLCC's budget, accounting and finance. He directs financial aspects of the self-funded health insurance and coordinates activities and administration of insurance programs. He also oversees the engineering and design department, District facilities and auxiliary business enterprises and performs duties as treasurer for the STLCC Board of Trustees.
Leadership Team Members
Julie Fickas, Ed.D.
Campus President and Chief Academic Officer, Forest Park
Julie Fickas, Ed.D., was selected as campus president and chief academic officer by the Board of Trustees in July 2019. Her career includes leadership roles as dean of STEM and business at Forest Park; interim dean of business and communications, as well as science, math and health at STLCC-Meramec; and biology department chair at STLCC-Florissant Valley, which included teaching anatomy and physiology. She first joined STLCC to teach biology as an adjunct faculty instructor in 1990. She became a full-time faculty member in 2009.
Dr. Fickas earned a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in biology from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville. She has a doctorate in interdisciplinary leadership from Creighton University.
Elizabeth Gassel Perkins, Ed.D.
Campus President and Chief Academic Officer, Florissant Valley
Elizabeth Gassel Perkins, Ed.D., joined STLCC as provost of the Florissant Valley campus in August 2016. Prior to joining STLCC, Dr. Perkins served in a variety of academic roles at Darton State College (now Albany State University). She most recently served as interim vice president of academic affairs at Darton after serving as dean of the school of humanities and social sciences. Throughout her tenure at Darton, she also served as interim dean of math and science, dean of learning support, and dual enrollment program coordinator. She served as the statewide chair of the USG Learning Support Advisory Committee and served on several state and college committees, including consolidation task forces for the new Albany State University. She began her career at Darton in 2006 as an English instructor and was promoted to tenured associate professor. Dr. Perkins earned her doctorate in leadership with an emphasis in higher education from Valdosta State University and a bachelor's degree summa cum laude in English and a master's degree in English from the University of Montevallo.
Carol Lupardus, Ph.D.
Campus President and Chief Academic Officer, Wildwood
Carol Lupardus, Ph.D., began her role as campus president and chief academic officer at STLCC-Wildwood in July 2019 after leading STLCC-Meramec since 2016. She has experience as vice president for academic affairs at the College’s Florissant Valley campus. She joined STLCC as an assistant professor of teacher education in 2001. She serves as the co-chair for the STLCC Continuous Quality Improvement team. The Missouri State Board of Education appointed Dr. Lupardus to the Missouri Advisory Council for the Certification of Educators representing the Missouri School Boards' Association where she served for five years. She was reappointed for a four-year term representing the Missouri Community College Association in 2013. In 2007, she was elected as President of the Community College Division of the Missouri Association of Colleges of Teacher Education. In 2005, Dr. Lupardus earned her Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from Saint Louis University. She holds a master's degree in education from Saint Louis University and a bachelor's degree in education from the University of Missouri.
Alfred Adkins, M.A.
Director of Public Safety and Emergency Management
Chief Alfred Adkins, director of public safety and emergency management, joined St. Louis Community College in March 2017. His career in law enforcement began with St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department in 1980, rising through the ranks from a recruit-in-training to working in patrol, investigative and proactive police units. He held leadership roles as a commander and chief of detectives before retiring as assistant chief of police in 2015.
Chief Adkins is a graduate of the FBI National Academy Associates. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in behavioral science from National Louis University, and a Master of Arts in business and organizational security management from Webster University. His community involvement includes service as a former board member of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri. He is a Charles Drew Blood Donor for the American Red Cross, and is a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
Kelli Burns, M.A.
Director of Institutional Research and Planning
Kelli Burns, director of institutional research and planning, joined St. Louis Community College in 2001 as a research scientist. She has served in her current role since 2012, tasked with the responsibility for providing the College with data and information to make informed decisions. Burns has professional experience as an organizational development consultant and an adjunct faculty member at several institutions. She earned a bachelor's degree in economics and psychology from Bradley University. She has a master's degree in industrial-organizational psychology from University of Missouri-St. Louis.
Jo-Ann Digman, M.S.W.
Executive Director, STLCC Foundation
Jo-Ann Digman was appointed executive director of the STLCC Foundation in March 2011. She previously served as the executive director of InSight St. Louis, a non-profit dedicated to recruiting students from historically black colleges and universities to the city to live and work. She also served as vice president of external relations for the Merisant Company, director of external relations for Monsanto and assistant to the chancellor at Saint Louis University. Digman also served as district director for Sen. Christopher "Kit" Bond, and as a caseworker for Sen. John Danforth. She holds both master's and bachelor's degrees in social work from Saint Louis University.
Keith R. Hacke, M.S.
Chief Information Officer
Keith R. Hacke was associate vice president architecture and enterprise monitoring for scottrade.com. His priorities have focused on developing and driving enterprise information technology strategy, innovation and digital transformation. Prior to his move to Scottrade, Hacke was associate vice president and chief technology officer at Saint Louis University. He collaboratively led the university’s information technical vision via development of the 2020 Strategic Technology Plan, technology architecture development, budgeting and execution of the technology strategy. Hacke served two years as the university’s interim vice president and chief information officer where he led an IT division of over 130 people and managed an $18 million budget. As an instructor at Saint Louis University’s School for Professional Studies, Hacke teaches data analysis and visualization courses in the M.S. Applied Analytics program. Hacke has also served in leadership roles at A. G. Edwards and Sons, Washington University and McDonnell Aircraft Company where he provided innovative technology solutions and services using extensive experiences with complex university and corporate information technology organizations towards achieving outstanding mission driven results. Hacke holds a master’s in computer science from Missouri University of Science and Technology.
Government and Community Relations Liaison
Ryan McKenna, government and community relations liaison, joined the College in April 2018. He has 27 years of experience in political and public affairs and government relations. His responsibilities include working with the state legislature and local elected officials to maintain awareness of the College, provide leadership for government affairs, keeping STLCC administrators informed of legislation and policy initiatives that affect higher education, and develop strategies to advocate for the College at the state and federal level.
Previously, McKenna served as the designated principal assistant at the Missouri Division of Workforce Development. He is a former state director of the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. He served two terms in the state Senate, and three terms in the state House of Representatives. He was named Outstanding Legislator by St. Louis Business Journal in 2002, 2007 and 2008, and recognized as the Missouri Community College Association Legislator of the Year in 2000.
McKenna earned a Bachelor of Science in education from Missouri State University.
Hart Nelson, M.B.A.
Associate Vice Chancellor for Workforce Solutions
Hart Nelson was appointed associate vice chancellor, Workforce Solutions Group in May 2018. Nelson has 23 years of career experience in public policy, government relations, intelligence and information technology. He serves as the lead for economic and workforce development, is responsible for managing corporate and community workforce development, continuing professional development and personal enrichment education, as well as managing entrepreneurial initiatives that reflect the needs of local, regional and national employers. Most recently, Nelson was vice president of public policy for the St. Louis Regional Chamber. He has been a foreign service officer with the U.S. Department of State, an intelligence officer with the United States Navy Reserve and an information technology architect with IBM. As a volunteer, he is board treasurer of Citizens for Modern Transit and vice chair of the Missouri Military Preparedness and Enhancement Commission. He has a master's degrees in business administration and information management from Washington University in St. Louis and a Bachelor of Arts in political science and mass communication from University of California-Berkeley.
Mary Nelson, J.D.
Mary Nelson, J.D., was named general counsel and chief legal officer in September 2014. Nelson has more than 30 years of experience in the public and private sectors, including stints in two mayoral administrations in St. Louis, positions in state government and partnerships in several firms. Nelson’s law practice is concentrated in real estate, construction and business law. In June 2015, she was appointed to serve on the Missouri State Highways and Transportation Commission. She was the first African-American woman appointed to Missouri’s Administrative Hearing Commission, leaving that post to accept her current position with STLCC. Nelson served as president of the St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners, on the 2001 Missouri House of Representatives Reapportionment and Redistricting Commission and served two terms on the board of trustees of the University of Missouri’s Law School Foundation. An active member of the Missouri Bar, Nelson has held leadership posts for the Bar Foundation Board of the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis and the Mound City Bar Association. Nelson earned her juris doctorate from the University of Missouri School of Law and bachelor’s degree in political philosophy from Princeton University.
Executive Director, Marketing and Communication
Kedra Tolson was named executive director of marketing and communications in June 2016. She previously served as marketing and communications coordinator at STLCC’s Florissant Valley campus. Prior to joining STLCC, Tolson served as communications manager for Jazz St. Louis, a non-profit organization that promotes, presents and preserves jazz in St. Louis through performances, education and outreach activities. She also served as media relations manager for the University of Missouri-St. Louis and communications and marketing director for Focus St. Louis. Tolson returned to STLCC in 2010 after having served as assistant coordinator for community relations from 1997 to 2001. She has served on the Florissant Valley and districtwide Institutional Affairs Council. Tolson earned her bachelor’s degree in mass communications from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville. She is currently pursuing a graduate degree in management and leadership in the George Herbert Walker School of Business & Technology at Webster University.
Dennis White, M.A.
Director of Strategic Planning Initiatives and Continuous Quality Improvement
Dennis White, director of strategic plan initiatives and continuous quality improvement, was appointed by the Board of Trustees in July 2018. White joined the College in August 2008. He taught reading and English at STLCC-Florissant Valley. He has served in roles such as campus coordinator for college orientation, district coordinator for Smart Start and co-chair of reaffirmation of accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission. He has professional experience in information technology, marketing, strategic planning and quality improvement.
White has an associate degree in data processing from Community College of Beaver County, and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from University of Redlands. He earned a master’s degree in education from Fontbonne University and a graduate certificate in composition studies from Indiana University.