Employee Development Day Moderator Bios

Dr. Ric Neal Baser

Dr. Ric Neal Baser is the president of Northwest Vista College, a vibrant and outstanding community of more than 18,000 students and 900 employees who are passionate about teaching and learning. He is also the president of the Higher Education Council of San Antonio, representing 22 colleges, universities and institutions of learning in Bexar County.

Dr. Baser has devoted his career to educating students and providing them opportunities for a better tomorrow. He has served in various roles as both a college instructor and administrator. He understands the importance of leadership and community building among students, having worked in student affairs, students activities and colleges and alumni relations.

Prior to joining Northwest Vista College, Dr. Baser was the Vice President and Chief Academic Officer at Tulsa Community College where he led and provided fiscal guidance to six of the president’s cabinet members including campus provosts, associate vice presidents, deans and directors. He worked alongside 1,500 Academic and Student Affairs employees.

Dr. Baser holds a Bachelor of Arts in Drama from the University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma, a Master of Arts in Speech from Oklahoma State University and a Doctor of Education in Higher Education Administration from Oklahoma State University.

He is a 2014 inductee into the University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma Hall of Fame, the 2013 Recipient of the Service Award from the Oklahoma Association of Community Colleges as “The Golden Voice” of the All Oklahoma Academic Team Luncheon and the 2008 Recipient of the Phi Theta Kappa Hallmark Award for Distinguished College Administrator.

Dr. Baser enjoys spending time with his wife, Kari, and granddaughter, Kennedy.

Lisa Black

Lisa Black was named the Director of the Student Advocacy and Resource Center at Northwest Vista College in November 2019 and has served a total of 16 years in the Alamo Colleges.  She was previously at San Antonio College and was the founding director of the Student Advocacy Center there and was an Associate Professor of Social Work.

The Student Advocacy and Resource Center supports students emergency basic needs and mental health care. This integrated approach includes a robust internship program utilizing social work undergraduate and graduate interns to expand the number of students who may be served.  Lisa holds a Master’s degree in Social Work from Our Lady of the Lake University. She is a licensed social worker and specializes in crisis intervention and suicide prevention.

George Brown

George Brown teaches Student Development at NVC. He calls California “home” but has lived in many places. George graduated from Morehouse College, an HBCU in Atlanta, GA, and eventually made his way to San Antonio. He also has a master’s degree in Education Administration and has a history with the entertainment industry, and music production. He loves to inspire people to live their dreams academically, professionally, and socially. 

Dr. Brenya Twumasi Buchalski

Brenya Twumasi Buchalski started at Northwest Vista College in 2005. She teaches law, criminal justice, and psychology.

Adriana Cantu

Adriana Cantu, MS, LPC is originally from El Paso, Texas, where she received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a minor in Chemistry from The University of Texas at El Paso. From there she moved to San Antonio to pursue graduate studies at Our Lady of the Lake University, earning a Master of Science degree in Counseling Psychology in 2007. Her experiences include work with diverse groups of people in crisis: children, adolescents, as well as adults. She worked as an educator, crisis and hospital advocate for the Alamo Area Rape Crisis Center, and has provided counseling for special education and at-risk youth populations. She began work at St. Philip’s College in 2008 and has been at Northwest Vista College since 2012 as a personal counselor, member of the campus behavioral intervention team and now NVC Student Advocacy and Resource Center.

Dr. Russell Frohardt

Dr. Russell Frohardt is the Dean for Academic Success at Northwest Vista College. Prior to that, Dr. Frohardt served as Associate Dean of the School of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Neuroscience at St.Edward’s University in Austin, Texas, where he has held various faculty and administrative positions since joining the community in 2003.

Prior to his term as interim Dean of BSS, he was an American Council on Education Fellow, hosted by Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York, where he learned about administrative, curricular, and co-curricular practices across the country. Dr. Frohardt received his B.A. in Psychology from the University of Colorado, Boulder, his M.A. and Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from the University of Vermont, and he completed a three-year postdoctoral fellowship at Dartmouth College before coming to Texas.

His research interests span the neurobiology of learning and memory, spatial navigation, sexual behavior, and models of relapse and addiction. In his free time, Russ enjoys playing basketball and roller derby, live music, and spending time with friends and his wife, Dr. Fay Guarraci, and son, Cole.

Debi Gaitan

Debi Gaitan is the Vice President for Student Success (VPSS) at Northwest Vista College, where she has served in various leadership roles for more than 20 years. Debi is an advocate for community colleges and has made it her life work to promote higher education and create an engaging environment for students to flourish and discover their passion for learning.

During Debi’s years at NVC, the college’s enrollment surged from 200 students to over 18,000. She helped develop the college’s mission, vision, values, and touchstones that have fostered NVC’s spirit of collaboration and joy.

In her role as the VPSS, she has led NVC through numerous initiatives that have earned the college state and national accolades. She serves in a leadership role for the Alamo-wide Malcom Baldrige Quality initiatives and guided NVC through the 2018 national site visit and subsequent award.

Debi co-created AlamoADVISE, a Certified Advisor and Enrollment Coach model that has tripled NVC’s graduation rates. She was instrumental in the creation of Vista Central, NVC’s one-stop center for new students as well as the Student Advocacy and Resource Center that provides support to students who have food and housing insecurities. As a co-developer of the Executive Faculty Council, Debi helped to create a framework for faculty leaders to embrace shared governance and decision-making authority.

Currently, Debi co-leads the Pathways Leadership Council responsible for spearheading the Guided Pathways strategies for the five colleges in the Alamo Colleges District.  She also leads NVC’s Strategic Enrollment Planning team that assess opportunities for increases in enrollment, retention, persistence, degree completion, and transition to a university or workforce.  She is also an AlamoPROMISE leader who works to ensure equitable access to higher education by helping to eliminate financial barriers for students.  She co-leads NVC’s Access, Advocacy, Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity (AAIDE) team that is focused on developing a shared understanding of student and community needs in support of NVC’s mission and strategic plan.

Prior to joining NVC, Debi worked for organizations that value the importance of education, Communities in Schools and San Antonio Positive Solutions, where she helped young men and women overcome educational barriers by earning their GEDs and enrolling in college. She began her work in higher education at Our Lady of the Lake University where she served as a recruiter, advisor, and associate director.

Debi attended St. Philip’s College, Texas Tech University, the University of Texas at San Antonio, and Our Lady of the Lake University. She holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a master’s degree in human sciences. She was an All American First Team athlete and earned many awards and recognitions while in college. She has also earned many professional recognitions to include Excellence in Teaching and Trusted Leader Awards. In her spare time, you can find her cheering on the San Antonio Spurs with her husband of 35 years and their three children, who all have degrees from Northwest Vista College.

Dr. Michael Lee Gardin

Dr. Michael Lee Gardin teaches in English and Humanities and has been with the college for 5 years. She is the current Faulty Senate Vice President. Her research interests and much of her teaching and work focuses on gender and sexuality as well as race and advocacy more generally.

Dr. Sandra Garza

Dr. Sandra Garza is a high school dropout who credits Ethnic Studies for helping her go from G.E.D. to Ph.D. She was born and raised in the Lower Rio Grande Valley and has lived in San Antonio for over 25 years. From 2009-2014, Garza served as the Managing Editor and Review Coordinator for Chicana/Latina Studies: The Journal of MALCS (Mujeres Activas en Letras y Cambio Social/Women Active in Letters and Social Change), and continues to serve as a member of the Editorial Review Board. She is a published scholar with expertise in History, Visual Culture, and Literacy Studies and centers her lens on the examination of racialization, colorism, skin color consciousness, and activism in the ancient place we call, Texas. Dr. Garza has over 14 years of professional experience working in HSIs and currently serves as Program Coordinator and Assistant Professor for the Mexican American Studies Program at Northwest Vista College.

Jesse Harbert

Jesse Harbert received his associate’s degree in management from San Antonio College and a Master’s degree in Management from Webster University. He is a product of an Air Force family, and honorably retired as an Officer in the Air National Guard. He also retired as a corporate manager with the largest communications company in the nation. 

He completed the UTSA Math Teaching Program, and he has been teaching math as an Adjunct Instructor at Northwest Vista College since 2006. 

Jesse has a strong family background, being married for 45 years with two married adult sons, one an engineer, and one a police officer. Jesse is a doting grandpa to his 6 biracial grandchildren. He and his wife love to spend time with their family.

Felicia A. King

Felicia A King is a certified academic advisor at Northwest Vista College. She was been at NVC since 2015 and has worked in higher education since 2011. Felicia has a BA in Psychology from Paine College, a MS in Educational Psychology and Research from The University of Memphis and is completing an Ed.D in Organizational Leadership at Abilene Christian University. Felicia’s research interest has been focused on motivation, academic achievement and academic entitlement. Felicia is a firm believer in sankofa and plans to continue work in higher education and the advancement of minorities with a goal of closing the equity gap in higher education.

Brittany Lopez

Brittany Lopez, based in San Antonio, TX, is a contemporary dance artist, educator and feminist who has performed and presented choreography throughout the state of Texas as well as in Asheville, North Carolina, Washington, D.C., Salt Lake City, Utah, and Mexico City, Mexico. She has a profound curiosity about the somatically engaged body moving through athletic, improvised, and floor-based work as well as the intersection of personal narrative and social causes in the dance-making process.​Currently, Brittany teaches at Northwest Vista Colleges as an Assistant Professor in the dance program where she also directs the Repertory Dance Ensemble. She has performed with Out on a Limb Dance Company since 2016 and established grit danceworks in 2018 to dive deeper into her own creative process. Additionally, she serves on the Texas Dance Improvisation Festival Advisory Committee, which helps to program the annual event for close to 300 improvisers and movers. Brittany earned an MFA in Dance from Texas Woman’s University (2014) as well as a BFA in Performance and Choreography from Texas State University (2011).

Lisa McDaniel

Lisa McDaniel has worked for over 16 years at Northwest Vista College in Marketing & Strategic Communications as the strategic communications coordinator. Her expertise is in public relations, marketing and advertising, as well as graphic design, copywriting and event planning. She is a member of the National Council for Marketing & Public Relations, the American Marketing Association, and the Public Relations Society of America – San Antonio where she is a past member of the board. Since 2013, Lisa has also been an adjunct instructor at Northwest Vista College in speech & communication studies. Pre-pandemic, she enjoyed being a member of the American Poolplayers Association and singing karaoke, which she hopes to return to again, soon.

Dr. Lisa McGoldrick

Dr. Lisa McGoldrick is responsible for facilitating the daily operations of the President’s Office, including serving as a liaison between the President’s Office and the campus community, coordinating special events, meetings and conferences, planning, implementing and assessing the college’s strategic plan and budget. She also provides leadership on special projects and assists the President’s Office in internal communications and relationships with groups on and off campus.

Dr. McGoldrick has 15 years of experience in education, having served in many roles including: faculty member, academic advisor, director of a writing lab, various other administrative roles and as a middle school teacher. Most recently, Lisa worked as the executive assistant to the vice chancellor for Student Success at Alamo Colleges District, where she was the lead project facilitator of 30 partner Alamo Area College Access and Completion Consortium. Lisa has also worked for Miller-Motte College in Jacksonville, North Carolina as director of Student Ambassadors, English chair and the head of Events Committee. She held various roles at Delgado Community College & Northwood University in New Orleans, Louisiana and at Motlow State Community College in Smyrna, Tennessee.

Dr. McGoldrick earned a Bachelor Degree of Science in Education from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, a Master’s Degree in Curriculum & Instruction/English Language Arts from the University of Phoenix, and a Doctoral Degree in Educational Leadership and Management from Capella University.

Melissa Monroe-Young

Melissa Monroe-Young joined NVC in 2008. She’s a part of the NVC Marketing & Strategic Communications team.

Elladean Moreno

Elladean Moreno was born and raised in San Antonio.  Her background is in mental health as a researcher, clinician, and provided continuing education to other mental health professionals.  She is an Associate Director in the NVC Student Success department where she works with the Student Code of Conduct and assists the department with their assessment journey.

Marie Morgan

Marie Morgan has served NVC for 10 years as the Director of Student Life and as an advisor for NVC’s honor society  PTK chapter.  She has received a B.A. in Communications and M.S. in Management in which she feels she has used every day in her role serving students and her college. Her 13+ years of working in higher education has been both in the classroom and in Student Success.  She helps students enhance essential skills & gain a competitive edge by working with a fabulous team that provides leadership, service, engagement, wellness & experiential learning  opportunities.​

Mallory Plummer

Mallory Plummer is as an Academic Program Specialist & Adjunct Faculty Member at Vista, Mallory emphasizes the practicality of learning development theories in holistic student success and life-management skills for first-time-in-college, returning, and transfer students.   

Mallory is experienced in: program/curriculum/unit assessment, high impact policy analysis, mixed-methods data collection, experiential learning, staff development, event planning,  recruitment, and external relations.   Additionally, Mallory proudly serves as a member of the Northwest Vista College Black Lives Matter Association. 

Josh Smith

Josh Smith graduated from Baylor University with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree and a Master of Social Work degree. Josh is a LCSW and is employed as a Personal Counselor at Northwest Vista College. As a Personal Counselor he provides counseling to NVC students and provides supervision to MSW interns placed with the NVC Student Advocacy and Resource Center.  He previously worked for Presbyterian Children’s Homes & Services for seven years in a variety of different positions offering both clinical and case management services to children and their families. During his career he has focused on understanding trauma and learning how to better serve children and their families who have experienced grief, trauma and loss.

Dr. Zach Taylor

Zach Taylor is an Institutional Support Consultant with Trellis Company and works directly to support Advising, Financial Aid and the Student Advocacy Center here at Northwest Vista College. Zach works in tandem with teams in all areas to help the college improve student recruitment and retention.

Zach works with historically-Black Colleges and Universities and Hispanic-Serving Institutions in the South. He has published over 100 articles and has consulted with over 2,000 colleges and universities regarding readability and web accessibility of student communication. He is currently working with the team in the Student Advocacy Center to better understand student emergency needs and how COVID-19 influenced those needs. Zach holds a PhD in Higher Education Leadership from The University of Texas and is a proud community college alumni.

 

 

 

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