Executive Leadership Council
The Executive Leadership Council works collaboratively to make decisions with the goal of strengthening the College through an understanding of various perspectives across the College. The ELC utilizes data and input from Councils including Staff Council , Committees, and the Faculty Senate in making decisions as part of Shared Governance. The ELC serves in an advisory role to the President as well.
Members of the Executive Leadership Council are by position and include:
Academic and Career Advisor
Christina is an Academic Advisor specializing in the CCC2NAU transfer program and has advised at Coconino Community College since 2015. After earning a BA in Public Policy & Environmental Studies from the College of William and Mary in 2001, she spent a year in AmeriCorps working at a camp for 6th graders. This transformational experience ignited a passion for working with students and led to a career in education and mental health. Upon completion of her M.Ed. in Educational Psychology with a Specialization in School Counseling, she worked as a high school and middle school counselor in Flagstaff for four years before joining the college.
When not working she can be found cooking up new recipes in the kitchen, traveling and exploring new places, or outside enjoying Flagstaff’s amazing landscapes. An avid trail runner she also hosts running retreats with her husband in her free time.
Faculty Senate Vice President
Community Outreach Coordinator
Cheyenne Grabiec is an accomplished community outreach coordinator with four years of experience in a higher education setting. Prior to joining CCC, Cheyenne served as a Program Coordinator with The University of Arizona’s Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center for four years, specializing in Native American engagement. While at The University of Arizona, Cheyenne coordinated multiple tribal environmental health research projects, hosted two Tribal Environmental Health Forums with local tribal leadership and environmental professionals, coordinated outreach events in tribal communities to share higher education opportunities, and served as the Lead Editor of Volumes 4 & 5 of the Indigenous Stewards Magazine. He graduated from The University of Arizona in 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and in 2019 with a Master of Legal Studies with a certificate in Indigenous Peoples Law & Policy. Cheyenne is inspired daily by his partner Robyn and his son Jóhonaa’éí. In his free time, Cheyenne enjoys creating traditional Navajo jewelry and other crafts.
Director of Public Relations and Marketing - Public Information Officer
Larry “Lar” Hendricks serves as the Senior Manager of Public Relations and Marketing for CCC. Larry holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations from Northern Arizona University. He spent nearly 20 years as a newspaper reporter and editor at the Arizona Daily Sun in Flagstaff before getting the privilege to work for CCC beginning in 2015. His entire professional life has been devoted to telling stories – through writing, photography and videography – and it is his honor to tell stories about the college’s students, faculty, programs and partnerships. He truly believes Dr. Smith’s words: “The story of our college is the story of our students.” When he isn’t telling stories, Larry is playing music, or he’s out hiking the beauty of northern Arizona.
Staff Council Representative and Instructional Technology Advisor
Gio joined Coconino Community College in April 2020 as the Office and Events Specialist in the Office of the President and moved to the Instructional Technology Advisor position in September 2021. After receiving a Bachelor of Science in Secondary History Education from Northern Arizona University in 2005, she served as a secondary world history teacher for 14 years in Phoenix, AZ. In that time, she served as Professional Learning Community Team Lead for 10 years, was the head of the volleyball program for seven years, and sponsored multiple clubs on campus. Other professional experience includes serving as the Communications Representative for her campus arm of the Arizona Education Association. In May 2020, Gio received a Graduate Certificate in Educational Technology – Adult Learning Emphasis at Northern Arizona University.
Assistant to the President and Board Recorder
Kirsten Mead has lived in Flagstaff most of her life. She loves the mountains and the changing seasons, though summer is her favorite season! She loves hiking, rescuing animals, and paddleboarding. She and her husband are enjoying their empty nest & live with their two rescue dogs and six rescue cats. Kirsten graduated from Northern Arizona University and owned a business in Flagstaff for 11 years. In addition, she has worked with the NAU Foundation and Flagstaff Arboretum Boards of Directors.
Executive Director of Extended Learning
Kay proudly serves as the Executive Director of Extended Learning, working from the CCC Page Campus. After she received her Recreation & Parks Administration M.S. from Indiana University, she moved to Montana and began working in Orientation and Admissions. Since 1991 she has been active in serving students through recruitment, new student transition, registration, graduation, and beyond, and now in lifelong learning, workforce training, and entrepreneurial activities. Kay has attended or worked at institutions ranging from 800 to 40,000 students, from 2-year community colleges to flagship universities, public and private. Kay loves anything outdoors and sports-related, especially when it involves her husband, two daughters, Lake Powell, her dog, and golf clubs.
Chief Development Officer
Dianna Sanchez is honored to serve CCC as their Chief Development Officer. A Flagstaff native and CCC alumni, Dianna holds a master’s degree in Teaching English as a Second Language from Northern Arizona University. Having taught at various institutions, she has dedicated her profession to education and non-profit leadership. When not working, Dianna loves spending time with her family, running on Flagstaff’s many trails, cooking, and reading a great book.
J. Nathaniel "Nate" Southerland
Provost - Chief Academic Officer
Nate joined Coconino Community College in May 2018. After earning his bachelor’s degree at Brigham Young University, Nate began his career teaching physics, chemistry, and jazz on the Navajo Nation and worked as a curriculum and content developer and an educational technologist after receiving a Master’s degree in International Rural & Community Development from Utah State University. He earned his Ph.D. in Educational Leadership & Policy from the University of Utah, where he has taught courses in higher education governance, policy, and finance as an adjunct professor while working in academic and student affairs administration and teaching statistics at Salt Lake Community College for the last nine years. In addition to his love of teaching and learning and a graduate specialization in higher education leadership, Nate’s areas of research include adult learning theory, engagement and retention of adult students, and quantitative research methods. Although Nate was raised in Florida and his spouse in southern California, they both have deep ties to northern Arizona and New Mexico extending back several generations, and are excited to be putting down roots in Flagstaff.
Jami Van Ess
Executive Vice President - Chief Financial Officer
Jami oversees the operations of Accounting and Finance, Budgeting, Facilities and Security, Information Technology Services, Purchasing and Auxiliary Services, and Student Financial Aid and Veterans Services. Before joining the College in 1998, she was the Vice President for Administrative Services at Sauk Valley Community College in Dixon, Illinois. Jami received her Bachelor of Science degree in accountancy from Northern Arizona University and a master’s in business administration from the University of Phoenix. Jami earned her doctoral degree from Grand Canyon University in 2020. She is a Certified Public Accountant in the State of Arizona.
Vice President of Student Services – Chief Student Affairs Officer
Anthony “Tony” Williams earned his Master’s degree from Western Washington University where he specialized as a Student Personnel Administrator in Higher Education. Since graduating in 1997, Tony has served in various director, associate dean, and dean level positions providing direct leadership in the delivery of academic advising services, counseling and career services, new student orientation, disability support services, childcare services, re-entry services, retention, strategic enrollment management, TRiO programs, student life and activities, athletics, housing, and student conduct administration to name a few. In addition to his Master’s degree, Tony has continued his education and training in the field of Human Resources and has been certified by the HR Institute as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and certified by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) as an SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP). He is an active member of the Associate of Student Conduct Administrators (ASCA), is a graduate of the ASCA Donald G. Gehring Academy on Judicial Affairs in Higher Education, and has certifications from the Association of Title IX Administrators (ATIXA) as a Title IX and Civil Rights Investigator and as a Title IX Coordinator.