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 Opportunity. In 2010, she founded the Michigan College Access Network and served as its Executive Director until 2019. Johnson also was a policy fellow and college access coordinator under Governor Jennifer Granholm.
Johnson earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from Arizona State University and her master’s degree in public policy from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan. Johnson was also appointed by Governor Whitmer to represent Michigan on the Midwest Higher Education Compact and served on Governor Snyder’s 21st Century Education Commission. She has been recognized for her leadership and advocacy by the Michigan Association of School Administrators, National College Access Network, American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, as well as by the Michigan College Access Network.
Erica joined the MCCA in 2015 as the Executive Director of the Michigan Center for Student Success where she supports community colleges in their efforts to improve student success. Erica previously held positions at the University of Utah, The Ohio State University, Miami University- Middletown campus, and the Columbus College of Arts and Design. Erica has taught undergraduate and graduate-level courses at several institutions of higher education and enjoys staying active in local, state, and national professional organizations. Erica earned her Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy from the University of Utah where her dissertation focused on benchmarking and efficiency among rural community colleges. She earned her MA in Higher Education and Student Affairs and BA in History from The Ohio State University.
Jenny joined the MCCA in 2011 as Associate Director of the Center for Student Success and served as Director of Research and Institutional Practice from 2014-2022. Previously, she taught developmental and college-level writing at universities and community colleges in Michigan and Illinois for 20 years. As a faculty member at Lake Michigan College, she served as chair of Transitional studies, chair of the Student Success Committe and co-chair of the Student Learning Outcomes Committee. At the MCCA, Jenny has led the center's work on Guided Pathways, mathematics pathways, developmental education reform, dual enrollment, and alignment of non-credit and credit career education. Jenny is a Scholar in the Higher Learning Commission's Student Success and Assessment Academies. She holds an M.A. in English from DePaul University and earned her Ed.D. in Community College Leadership from National-Louis University in 2011.
Precious joined the MCCA in February 2020 as the MI-BEST Coordinator, leading efforts to create and sustain college systems that offer holistic support for students. In her current role, Precious collaborates with members to identify and address the unique needs of Michigan's community college students and its employee’s. She also works to develop partnerships, provide training, advocacy, and create opportunities for fostering campus cultures of belonging. Her dedication to student-centered approaches has led to continued personal and professional development for the MCCA and our members.
Precious's background includes extensive experience in removing barriers for students and their families (K-12), implementation of a holistic student success model at Western Michigan University (WMU), providing CliftonStrengths coaching, and coordinating care for adults with mental illness. As a WMU Alumna, Precious received her BA in social work and is a Licensed Master Wocial Worker.
Monica is the founder and lead consultant at Liggins Abrams Consulting. She is pleased to partner with MCCA as the Leadership Academy Coordinator. She is an experienced leader, strategist, and practitioner-scholar. Her focus on student and data-centered campus transformation efforts to improve persistence and credential completion is supported by her expertise in change management, student success and retention, diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), accreditation, and strategic planning gained through her leadership roles in higher education, education adjacent sectors, and industry. Her proven track record in planning and implementing campus-wide initiatives to improve student success make her an invaluable asset to projects that drive institutional transformation.
Monica has previous experience at CircleIn (EdTech), Western Michigan University (Higher Education), and the WMU Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine (Graduate Medical Education) and Kalamazoo Public Schools (K-12). She holds a BA from The Ohio State University, MPA from Walden University, and an MA in Evaluation, Measurement, and Research from WMU. She is a doctoral candidate in Educational Leadership at WMU.
Katie Witkowski joined the MCCA in 2022 as the Director of Government and External Affairs. Prior to this role, Katie worked in the Michigan Legislature for 10 years, most recently serving as Chief of Staff to the chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Universities and Community Colleges.
After acquiring 22 credit hours through dual enrollment at Lake Michigan College, Katie earned a B.S. in political science and master's degree in public administration from Grand Valley State University.
Ashley joined the MCCA in 2022 as the Director of College Engagement. Prior to this role Ashley worked as the Director of Advising & Success Coaching at Washtenaw Community College. Prior to working at WCC, Ashley worked at a variety of other institutions including Siena Heights University, Northern Virginia Community College, Shenandoah University, Madonna University, and the University of Virginia. Ashley's previous work experience includes academic advising, health education, residence life, campus management, student conduct, Title IX and financial aid. Through her education and work experiences, Ashley has crafted a unique approach to student services and support.
Originally from Virginia, Ashley received her B.A. degree (2005) in Communication Studies and M.A. degree (2007) in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, both from Virginia Tech. Ashley also earned an EdS (2022) in Educational Leadership from Shenandoah University.
Director of Michigan New Jobs Training Program
Adriana Phelan previously served as Vice President for the Michigan Community College Association (MCCA), and now serves on a contract basis to support the Michigan New Jobs Training Program. Adriana’s professional background includes consulting and public policy research in education and workforce development, and teaching at the University of Michigan. Adriana has a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from the University of Michigan.
Prior to coming to the MCCA, Kathy worked in the banking and finance field as a Branch Operations Manager for Independent Bank and a Senior Vice President of First National Bank of Gaylord. Kathy has a B.A. from San Diego State University and most recently a B.A. in Accounting.
Michelle joined the MCCA in 2011. Working in various fields including laboratory/medical services, transportation (JIT) logistics, construction management, as well as having owned her own restaurant in Lansing’s Old Town, Michelle brings a strong background in client and customer relations to the MCCA.
At the MCCA, Michelle deals with issues related to event planning and administrative support for the MCCA and all its Centers. Managing multiple software platforms, maintaining and updating records and offering support to all members of Michigan's Community Colleges, Michelle is the first contact for managing the details.
Outside of the MCCA, Michelle currently serves the community as a victim advocate for both the Lansing Police Department and the Ingham County Sheriff’s Office.