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Community College Association Executives
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Who We Are

The Community College Association Executives (CCAE) is comprised of the Executive Directors of community college state associations and includes approximately 25 active members.

The organization exists under the umbrella of the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) and is also affiliated with the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC).

CCAE meets twice annually in conjunction with the ACCT/AACC National Legislative Summit and the ACCT Congress to receive updates from experts and members on issues, operations, and applicable state and national topics of interest.



Layla Merrifield - Chair

Executive Director, Wisconsin Technical College District Boards Association

Layla Merrifield is the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Technical College District Boards Association, a non-profit association representing Wisconsin’s 144 local technical college trustees. Prior to joining the Association, Merrifield was a policy advisor and legislative advocate for two years with the Wisconsin Technical College System, and spent 13 years...

Brian Millner - Vice Chair

President and CEO, Missouri Community College Association

Brian Millner is the current President and CEO of the Missouri Community College Association. Formerly serving as Chief of Staff at the University of Missouri-Columbia and as the legislative director for the Missouri Department of Economic Development, Millner began his tenure in September 2017. Brian holds a master’s degree in...

Emily Shields - Secretary

Executive Director, Community Colleges for Iowa

Emily J. Shields has served as executive director of Community Colleges for Iowa since January 2021, leading advocacy for Iowa's 15 Community Colleges. Prior to that, she served as executive director of Iowa and Minnesota Campus Compact. She received a B.A. degree in journalism and political science from the University...

Larry Galizio, Ph.D. - Past Chair

President & CEO, Community College League of California

Larry Galizio has served as the President & CEO of the Community College League of California since 2015. Dr. Galizio earned his undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley, a Masters from San Francisco State, and his doctorate from the School of Urban & Public Affairs at Portland State University. Prior to...

Karen Smith

Interim Executive Director, Oregon Community College Association

Aaron Fichtner, PhD

President, New Jersey Council of County Colleges

Aaron has served as President of NJCC since 2018. Prior to becoming President of NJCCC, Fichtner was with the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development where he served as the Assistant Commissioner, the Deputy Commissioner and the Commissioner of the Department from 2016 – 2018. He oversaw the...

Andrea Henderson

Executive Director, Arkansas Community Colleges

Andrea Henderson serves as the Executive Director of the Arkansas Community Colleges which provides leadership, strategic planning, policy, and professional development for the 22 community colleges in Arkansas. Prior to this, Andrea was the Executive Director of the Oregon Community College Association for 17 years. Andrea is a frequent presenter...

Ashley Jaillette

Executive Director, South Carolina Association of Technical College Commissioners

The South Carolina Association of Technical College Commissioners (SCATCC) hired Ashley Jaillette as the organization’s executive director in 2015. She is responsible for serving all trustees and expanding awareness of colleges within the South Carolina Technical College System. Ms. Jaillette earned her BA from Clemson University and spent her career...

Brandy Johnson

President, Michigan Community College Association

Johnson was selected as the President of MCCA in December 2021. Prior to this role, she served in the Governor’s administration, first as Governor Whitmer's education policy advisor and most recently served as a manager of the Office of Sixty by 30 within the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic...

Nate Mackinnon

Executive Director, Massachusetts Association of Community Colleges

Nate Mackinnon was appointed Executive Director of the Massachusetts Association of Community Colleges (MACC) in May of 2021. In his role, Nate works on behalf of the fifteen community college presidents and their local Boards of Trustees to strengthen community colleges for the benefit of students, communities, and the Commonwealth....

Ray Martinez III, JD

President and CEO, Texas Association of Community Colleges

Ray Martinez serves as the President & Chief Executive Officer of the Texas Association of Community Colleges (TACC), a comprehensive membership association comprised of a diverse mix of 48 community colleges from across Texas. Public community colleges in Texas play a critical role in supporting the continued growth of our...

Heather Morgan

Executive Director, Kansas Association of Community College Trustees

Heather Morgan is the Executive Director of the Kansas Community College Association. She is a native of Pratt, Kansas, and holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration with an Emphasis in Athletic Administration from Kansas State University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary History Education from Kansas Wesleyan University. Professionally,...

Brad Phillips, Ed.D.

Executive Director, Maryland Association of Community Colleges

Dr. Brad Phillips became MACC’s executive director on July 1, 2021. Dr. Phillips works with the Maryland Council of Community College Presidents to determine and execute strategic initiatives for the community colleges, represent the colleges at the state and national level and promote the attributes of community colleges to all...

Jim Reed

Executive Director

James "Jim" Reed, Jr. became the Illinois Community College Trustees Association's sixth executive director on July 15, 2019. His appointment was made after an extensive national search supported by The Pauly Group. Reed most recently served as Director of Government Relations for the Illinois Education Association, which represents 131,000 teachers...

Adie Shimandle

Executive Director, Technical College System of Georgia

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE National Artificial Intelligence Institute - Adult Learning and Online Education Founding member and part the executive board of the National Science Foundation funded National AI ALOE Institute. The Institute is made up of researchers and scholars from Harvard, Georgia Tech, Vanderbilt, Georgia State, Technical College System of Georgia,...

Kim Tanaka

Director, Washington State Association of College Trustee

Kim Tanaka joined the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges as Director of the Washington State Association of College Trustees (ACT) in August 2012. Prior to her work with ACT she was an Executive Analyst for Boards and Commission with former Governor Chris Gregoire working with a variety of...

Erin Taylor

Executive Director, Wyoming Association of Community College Trustees

Erin Taylor, of Taylor Strategies & Consulting, LLC, Cheyenne, serves as the Executive Director of the Wyoming Association of Community College Trustees (WACCT). Erin has more than twenty-five years of experience working in the public policy arena at the federal, state and local level. Taylor earned an undergraduate in economics...

Courtney Wittstruck

Executive Director, Nebraska Community College Association

A fifth generation Nebraskan, Courtney Wittstruck grew up on a farm in rural Lancaster County, and graduated from Lincoln Southeast High School. After high school, she attended Clemson University in South Carolina on a full basketball scholarship and graduated with a degree in International Business and German. She went on...

Julie Woodson

President, North Carolina Association of Community College Trustees

Julie Woodson has served as President/CEO of the NCACCT since November 2017. Previously, she worked with the association as Director of Communications and Special Projects and was named NCACCT’s Executive Vice President in 2014. A native of Sanford, she is a graduate of The School of Journalism at the University...

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