Governance Update, December 2021

Dear NACAC Colleagues,

I am delighted to write and share this important governance update with you.

As you know, efforts to streamline NACAC’s governance began in 2017 with the Ad Hoc Committee on Governance Restructuring. The committee provided broad recommendations to ensure that NACAC remains flexible and responsive in its programming and approach to the challenges of tomorrow. Through the Ad Hoc Committee for Leadership in College Admission (2019-20) and the CEO Listening Tour (fall 2020), members shared that NACAC’s governance process should be more inclusive, transparent, and responsive to the needs of the profession and its professionals.

In fall 2021, members voted to amend the bylaws to realize many of the recommendations from these reports. At that time, the NACAC Board of Directors and CEO Angel B. Pérez affirmed our shared commitment to deliver on the promise of increased member engagement and inclusion in NACAC’s governance.

Among those changes was the evolution of the Admission Practices (AP) Committee and Governance and Nominating Committee (GNC) from “standing” to “special” committees, freeing them of limitations of only seven members with fixed terms and a defined focus. For the past several months, we worked to compose the committees in thoughtful ways that reflect the rich diversity of NACAC members.

This year, we are pleased to announce an AP committee roster of 18 NACAC members—an increase of 11 members over last year. The AP Committee members include:

  • Christine Murphy, St. Joseph’s College New York-Brooklyn—Chair
  • Mark Ash, Kirkwood Community College (IA)
  • Shannon Barrilleaux, Metairie Park Country Day School (LA)
  • Ruby Bhattacharya, Barnard College (NY)
  • Heidi Bonner, Boys Latin of Philadelphia Charter School (PA)
  • Kaila Brown, Marist School (GA)
  • Mike Campanelli, The Urban Assembly School for Green Careers (NY)
  • Caroline Enriquez, The University of Texas at Austin
  • Sylvia Hernandez, Michigan State University
  • Debra Johns, Yale University (CT)
  • Matt Lane, The Branson School (CA)
  • Adrienne Loveland, University of Wyoming
  • Jennifer Machacek, Ripon College (WI)
  • Jonah O’Hara, Rocky Hill Country Day School (RI)
  • Hillary Powell, Pacific Lutheran University (WA)
  • Jacqueline Roscoe, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
  • Chris Tokuhama, Northwestern University (IL)
  • John Wilkerson, Indiana University-Bloomington


We are also pleased that the GNC increased in size from seven to 17 members, with unprecedented diversity. A new feature of the GNC this year is that the person who most recently served as the Affiliate Presidents Council Coordinator who is also a former member of the NACAC board, will serve as a member of the GNC to ensure a strong connection between the NACAC board election process and our affiliate partners and leaders. Welcome to:

  • Jayne Fonash, JCFONASH Consulting—Chair
  • Amy Belstra, Libertyville High School (IL)
  • Carolyn Blair, Clayton High School (MO)
  • Ramon Blakley, University of Texas at Austin
  • Karen Chen, Oklahoma State University
  • Kristen Dreazen, Edvice London (UK)
  • Nancy Gibson, Denison University (OH)
  • Debra Landesberg, My College Resource (FL)
  • Tara Lebar, Kansas Board of Regents
  • Constance Lumumba-Perez, Phoenix Country Day School (AZ)
  • Holly Markiecki-Bennetts, Mercy High School (MI)
  • Todd Rinehart, University of Denver (CO)
  • Lauren Sefton, Rhodes College (TN)
  • Cicily Shaw, Trinity High School Boston (MA)
  • Brandi Smith, Thrive Scholars (CA)
  • Jake Talmage, St. Paul’s School (MD)
  • Jon Westover, North Carolina State University

​​​​The NACAC Board of Directors remains committed to diversity throughout its leadership, including its own composition. While we certainly have work to do to continue to sustain diversity of race, ethnicity, gender, regional, and institutional type on the board, it is critical that inclusivity always guides our work—NACAC members deserve no less. I am pleased to re-introduce my board colleagues to you today.

  • Ffiona Rees, University of California-Los Angeles—Chair of the Board
  • Vern Granger, University of Connecticut—Chair-Elect
  • Todd Rinehart, University of Denver (CO)—Past President
  • Tahirah Jordan Crawford, People’s Preparatory Charter School (NJ)—Director
  • Johnnie Johnson, Transylvania University (KY)—APC Coordinator
  • Robyn Lady, Chantilly High School (VA)—Director
  • Cornell LeSane, College of the Holy Cross (MA)—Director
  • Beth Maglione, National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (DC)—Appointed Director
  • Angelica Melendez, St. Philip’s Early College High School (TX)—Director
  • Delorean Menifee, Susquehanna University (PA)—Director
  • Sanjay Mitchell, Thurgood Marshall Academy Public Charter High School (DC)—Director
  • Edward Pickett, Polytechnic School (CA)—Director
  • Mark Steinlage Jr., Saint Louis University (MO)—Director
  • Don Yu, Reach Higher/Common Application (VA)—Appointed Director


Finally, in his first day message to the membership, CEO Angel Pérez noted his commitment to fostering a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion among NACAC staff. To that end, he emphasized diversity as he built his leadership team and made in new hires across the organization. With several new members of leadership joining in the past year, I felt it was important to share their information with you. In addition, we are in the final phases of a search for an inaugural chief financial officer and look forward to sharing more information with NACAC members after the holidays.

  • Angel Pérez (he/him/his), chief executive officer
  • Joe Brentzel (he/him/his), executive director of information management
  • Shantel Goodman-Luckett (she/her/hers), chief experience officer
  • David Hawkins (he/him/his), chief education & policy officer
  • Melanie Marquez Parra (she/her/hers), chief communications officer (starting 01/04/2022)
  • Ashley Perzyna (she/her/hers), chief of staff

On behalf of the Board of Directors, I am delighted to welcome the new members of the AP Committee and GNC to their roles. These committees ensure that NACAC demonstrates the highest standard of excellence in our service to the college admissions counseling profession and its professionals. The NACAC board and leadership team know that we still have much work to do to become a truly inclusive association, but I am grateful for our progress thus far.

In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns to share with me, the board, or NACAC staff, please do not hesitate to email or


Ffiona Rees
Chair of the Board


Previous Letters from Ffiona Rees

November 2021

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