MCCA Staff

 
Brandy Johnson
 

Brandy Johnson

President

brandy@mcca.org | LinkedIn

Brandy became 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 then 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. Brandy also served as policy fellow and college access coordinator under Governor Jennifer Granholm. She was 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. Brandy earned her B.A. in Political Science from Arizona State University and her M.A.in Public Policy from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan.

 

 

Erica Orians
 

Erica Lee Orians

Vice President and Executive Director, Michigan Center for Student Success

eorians@mcca.org | LinkedIn

Erica is MCCA’s Executive Director of Student Success and Vice President. She joined the MCCA in 2015 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. She earned both her B.A. in History, and her M.A. in Higher Education and Student Affairs from The Ohio State University. 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. 

 

Katie Witkowski
 

Katie Witkowski

Director of Government and External Affairs

kwitkowski@mcca.org | LinkedIn

Katie joined the MCCA in 2022 as the Director of Government and External Affairs. Prior to this role, she worked in the Michigan Legislature for over a decade, most recently serving as Chief of Staff to the chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Universities and Community Colleges. In her years at Grand Valley, while earning her Masters, she was a Graduate Assistant for the School of Public and Nonprofit Administration. Katie earned both her B.A. in Political Science and M.A. in Public Administration from Grand Valley State University. She also earned an associate degree from Lake Michigan College.

 

 

Ashley Wisniewski
 

Ashley Wisniewski

Director of College Engagement

ashley@mcca.org | LinkedIn

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. Ashley received her B.A. degree in Communication Studies and M.A. degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, both from Virginia Tech. Ashley also recently earned her Education Specialist degree in Educational Leadership from Shenandoah University.

 

 

Kathy Taskey
 

Kathy Taskey

Director of Finance

kathy@mcca.org

Kathy joined the MCCA in 2011. She previously worked in the banking and finance field as a Senior Vice President of First National Bank of Gaylord. Kathy earned a bachelor’s degree in business from San Diego State University and a bachelor’s degree, in accounting from Baker College.  

 

Michelle Taylor
 

Michelle Taylor

Manager of Operations

michelle@mcca.org

Michelle joined the MCCA in 2011. She brings a strong background in client and customer relations to the MCCA from 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. At the MCCA, Michelle provides key administrative and event support. Managing multiple software platforms, maintaining, and updating records and offering support to all members of Michigan Community College Association, 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. 

Jenny Schanker
 

Jenny Schanker

Senior Director of Learning and Research

jschanker@mcca.org | LinkedIn

Jenny joined the MCCA in 2011 and previously held the roles of Associate Director of the Center for Student Success and Director of Research and Institutional Practice. 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 Committee 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 Miller
 

Precious Miller

Director of Basic Needs and Belonging

pmiller@mcca.org | LinkedIn

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 employees. She also works to develop partnerships, provide training, advocacy, and create opportunities for fostering campus cultures of belonging. Precious' 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, providing CliftonStrengths coaching, and coordinating care for adults with mental illness. As a WMU Alumna, Precious received her B.A. in Social Work and is a Licensed Master Social Worker. 

 

 

 

 
 
Adriana Phelan
 

Adriana Phelan

Director of Michigan New Jobs Training Program

aphelan@mcca.org

Adriana has been with MCCA since 2007. She previously served as MCCA Vice President and now is Director of 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.

 
Monica Liggins-Abrams
 

Monica Liggins-Abrams

Leadership Academy Coordinator

monica@mcca.org | LinkedIn

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 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 B.A. from The Ohio State University, MPA from Walden University, and an M.A. in Evaluation, Measurement, and Research from WMU. She is a doctoral candidate in Educational Leadership at WMU.