Dr. Tera Simmons
Executive Vice President
Dr. Tera Simmons
The executive vice president assists the president with the overall leadership and development of the College as well as assists instructional deans in developing and meeting division, departmental and programmatic goals. The following departments report to Dr. Tera Simmons: Facilities and Maintenance, Legal Services, Human Resources and Public Relations and Marketing.
Simmons has worked at Gadsden State since July 2021. She has worked in public education since 1998, most recently as the assistant superintendent of Hoover City Schools. Prior to her service at HCS, she served in a number of capacities in the Butler County School System, including the director of student learning, curriculum director, a principal, assistant principal and special education teacher.
Simmons obtained her Doctorate of Education in K-12 School Leadership and a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies in K-12 School Leadership from Regent University. She also earned a Master of Education in Collaborative Education 6-12 and a Bachelor of Education in Mild Learning and Behavioral Disabilities from Auburn University at Montgomery.
Dean of Financial and Administrative Services
Kevin McFry oversees an efficient operation of business and business-related functions. He is responsible for Business Services, Auxiliary Services, Housekeeping, Maintenance, Financial Services and Safety and Security.
McFry was named to his position at Gadsden State in May 2019. Previously, he served as controller at Jacksonville State University, where he served in a number of accounting positions since 1998. During his career, he also worked in corporate, public and retail accounting in Calhoun County.
McFry earned his Associate in Science in Business Administration from Gadsden State in 1985. He received a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and a Master of Business Administration from JSU. He is a certified public accountant in the state of Alabama and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Alabama Society of Certified Public Accountants and Alabama Association of College and University Business Officers.
McFry serves on the board of directors for the Piedmont Health Care Authority and is the vice president of the Alabama Banner User Group. He is past president and past secretary/treasurer of the Alabama Association of College and University Business Officers. He is a graduate of the College Business Management Institute and Leadership Calhoun County.
Dr. Farrah Hayes
Dean of Academic Programs and Services
Dr. Farrah Hayes
The dean of Academic Programs and Services ensures the quality and effectiveness of academic instruction at the College and administers the policies and procedures that apply to academic credit programs. The following divisions report to Dr. Farrah Hayes: Languages and Humanities; Business, Legal Studies and Computer Science, Science and Mathematics; Health, Physical Education and Recreation; Social Science; Library Services; the Center for Teaching and learning; Fine Arts; Alabama Language Institute and International Programs.
Hayes has been employed at Gadsden State since 2015, when she accepted a position as an English instructor. Later, she accepted the position of director of the Cardinal Tutoring Center and was promoted to division chair of Languages and Humanities in 2019. Prior to working at Gadsden State, she worked for the Etowah County Schools and Piedmont City Schools.
Hayes earned a Bachelor of Arts in English and Spanish and a Master of Science in Education of English Language Arts from Jacksonville State University. In 2010, she earned an educational specialist designation, also from JSU. In 2021, she completed her doctoral degree in Developmental Education Administration from Sam Houston State University. She is a graduate of Leadership Etowah and the Gadsden State Development Institute. She earned a fellowship from the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous at Columbia University.
Hayes has received a number of honors, including a Chancellor’s Award for Academic and Technical Faculty; New Development Educator of the Year from the Alabama Association for Developmental Education; Outstanding Academic Faculty from the Gadsden State Alumni Association and Piedmont High School Teacher of the Year. She is an active member of the Gadsden Rotary Club and is a loaned executive for the United Way of Etowah County.
Mr. Alan Smith
Dean of Workforce Development
The dean of Workforce Development ensures the quality and effectiveness of technical instruction at Gadsden State. The Technical Division offers a wide range of opportunities for students to acquire the education and skills necessary to fill the ever-increasing need for a highly-qualified workforce in Alabama. The following departments report to Alan Smith: Engineering Technologies, Applied Technologies, Adult Education Services, Alabama Technology Network, Continuing Education and the Skills Training Division.
Smith earned his Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Business and Economics in 1992 from Auburn University. In 1994, he was awarded a Master of Science in Education from Auburn followed by a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Alabama.
Smith started his career as an agriscience teacher at Hokes Bluff High School, where he worked for 11 years before opening his own construction and cabinet making company. In 2012, he returned to education as the building construction teacher at the Marshall County Technical School. In 2016, he was hired as the building construction instructor and coordinator of Alabama Simulated Workplace at the Etowah County Career Technical Center. He began his role as dean of Workforce Development in December 2019.
Smith has been honored several times as Teacher of the Year at the Etowah County School System, Hokes Bluff High School, Marshall County Technical School and Etowah County Career Technical Center. He was also named Alabama’s Most Outstanding Agriscience Technology Teacher.
Pam Hayes Johnson
Dean of Institutional Effectiveness, Grants and Special Projects
Pam Hayes Johnson
Pam Hayes Johnson is responsible for administering and supervising the comprehensive institutional effectiveness program, which includes planning, assessment, evaluation and continuous improvement as well as institutional research. As the dean, Johnson serves as the SACSCOC liaison, leads the reaffirmation process, is responsible for day-to-day oversight of the College’s adherence to the SACSCOC Principles of Accreditation: provides executive oversight for grant writing, grant management and grant administration of the College: and provides executive oversight for the program review process, new program development and special projects. The Division of Institutional Effectiveness Grants and Special Projects also includes the following areas and grant programs: Institutional Effectiveness, Institutional Research, Student Support Services, Talent Search, Title III-Part B, Upward Bound and Veterans Upward Bound.
Johnson is a long-time Gadsden State employee having served previously as associate dean of Institutional Advancement, assistant dean of Institutional Research and Computer Services and chairperson of the Computer Science and Engineering Division.
Johnson earned her Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Alabama. She received a Master of Business Administration from Jacksonville State University.
Johnson has been recognized twice as Gadsden State’s Chancellor’s Award winner for Administrator of the Year in 2002 and 2016.
Chief Information Officer
Alan Wallace oversees Information Technology Services at Gadsden State. The department is responsible for supporting the appropriate information systems, technologies and services to serve the students and support the mission of Gadsden State.
Wallace became the CIO on Feb. 3, 2020. He previously served in many technology-based positions at Jacksonville State University, most recently as director of Enterprise Information Systems, a position he held since 2005. He also served as the Banner project manager, manager of Application and System Support, manager of Application Support, technology analyst, computer programmer and microcomputer maintenance specialist.
Wallace earned his Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Sciences from JSU. He also earned a Bachelor of Technology with an emphasis in electronics from JSU. A master’s degree in Business Administration was awarded in 2000, also from JSU.
He is a member of Beta Gamma Sigma, an honor society of AACSB accredited business programs and is the co-founder and former vice president of Alabama Banner User Group (ALBUG).
Dean of Health Science
As the dean of Health Sciences, Kenneth Kirkland serves as the chief academic officer for all health science programs. He develops and administers the program’s instructional budget, provides innovative and strategic visionary leadership and supervises program directors. Departments reporting to Kirkland include Medical Laboratory Technology, Emergency Medical Services, Massage Therapy, Nursing Education (RN & LPN), Nursing Assistant, Diagnostic Medical Sonography, Phlebotomy, Radiologic Technology and Surgical Operating Room Technology.
Kirkland earned Associate of Applied Science degrees in Nursing and Emergency Medical Services from Calhoun Community College. In 2010, he was awarded a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Jacksonville State University before earning a Master of Science in Nursing Administration from the University of Alabama. He is currently working toward a doctorate in Human Capital Development at the University of Southern Mississippi. He is state licensed as both a paramedic and registered nurse.
Kirkland started his career in 2003 as a licensed practical nurse at a nursing home in Falkville, Ala. He later became a paramedic in Cullman and Hartselle before being hired as an emergency room registered nurse in Decatur. He went into healthcare education when he joined the EMS adjunct faculty at Calhoun Community College. In 2011, he became a full-time EMS instructor and clinical coordinator at Calhoun. Later, he was named the coordinator of the Nursing Assistant Program before earning the position of EMS program director. In 2019, he joined the Alabama Community College System staff as the director of Health Programs.
Kirkland is a graduate of the ACCS Leadership Academy and is currently a member of ACCS Instructional Officers Association. He is also a member of the National Governors Association / American Association of Community Colleges Reskilling and Recovery Network Committee and the Alabama Board of Nursing Excellence Advisory Council; the post-secondary representative for the Alabama Senate Commission on Midwifery; and the post-secondary subject matter expert for the Alabama Committee on Credentialing and Career Pathways Advisory Committee.
Dr. Janekia Mitchell
Dean of Student Services
Dr. Janekia Mitchell
Dr. Janekia Mitchell is the dean of Students Services and is responsible for providing leadership, strategic planning and executive oversight of student enrollment, retention and success for credit and non-credit programs in order to meet graduation and completion goals for the College.
In 1998, Mitchell earned a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science and Wellness from Jacksonville State University. She continued her education at JSU and earned a Master of Science in Community Agency Counseling in 2005 and an Educational Specialist degree in Counselor Education in 2007. In 2017, she earned a doctorate in Professional Counseling and Supervision from the University of West Georgia.
Mitchell started her career at Gadsden State in 2002 when she was hired as an outreach advisor for Upward Bound, a federal TRIO program that provides fundamental support to high school students in their preparation for college entrance.
In 2007, she was named the outreach advisor for Title III at Gadsden State’s Valley Street Campus, the area’s only campus to have the Historically Black Colleges or Universities designation. Title III programs enhance academic success through traditional methods, such as working with faculty advisors, conducting new student orientations and student assessments, facilitating workshops and purchasing equipment for academic program areas.
A year later, she moved to Counseling and Advising area of student services as an academic advisor. In 2016, she was named director of Residence Life at Gadsden State. Mitchell transition to K-12 education in 2018, where she served as the school counselor at Emma Sansom Middle School in Gadsden City School System.
Mitchell returned to Gadsden State and started her role as dean of Student Services on June 21, 2022.