Executive Cabinet

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.

Mr. Kevin McFry, dean of financial and adminstrative services

Kevin McFry
Dean of Financial and Administrative Services

Kevin McFry

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. Leslie Worthington
Dean of Academic Programs and Services

Dr. Leslie Worthington

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. Leslie Worthington: Language 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.

Worthington has worked at Gadsden State since 2012, when she accepted a position as an English instructor. She was promoted to division chair of Language and Fine Arts in 2013 and then division chair of Language and Humanities in 2014. She earned her current position in 2015.

Worthington earned her Bachelor of Arts in English from Auburn University at Montgomery, a Master of Art in English from Auburn University, an education specialist degree in Adult Education and Education Administration from Troy University-Montgomery and a Ph.D. in English from Auburn. She also has certifications in New Media Theory and Electronic Pedagogy from Georgia Tech. She has held academic and administrative positions at Georgia Tech, the University of North Georgia, Troy University-Dothan, Troy University-Montgomery, Auburn University and Georgia Military College.

Worthington serves as a member of The Chamber of Gadsden/Etowah Excellence in Education Committee and the creator and facilitator of the Gadsden State Leadership Academy. She is a former president of the ACCS Instructional Officers Association. She is a past winner of the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching at Troy University and was named a Chancellor’s Award winner in 2018 and the ACCS Instructional Officer of the Year in 2021.

Worthington has been nominated for the C. Hugh Holman Award for her 2017 book, “Seeking Home: Marginalization and Representation in Appalachian Literature and Song.” She has earned fellowships from Georgia Tech, Auburn University and Mark Twain Studies at Elmira College.

Alan Smith, dean of Workforce Development

Mr. Alan Smith
Dean of Workforce Development

Alan Smith

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.

Mrs. Pam Hayes Johnson, dean of Institutional Effectiveness, Grants and Special Projects

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.

Alan Wallace 
Chief Information Officer

Alan Wallace

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).

Kenneth Kirkland 
Dean of Health Science

Kenneth Kirkland

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. Aletta Williamson
Dean of Enrollment and Retention

Dr. Aletta Williamson

Dr. Aletta Williamson is the dean of Enrollment and Retention. She provides leadership, strategic planning and executive oversight of student enrollment, retention and success for credit and non-credit programs in order to meet completion and graduation goals for Gadsden State. 

Williamson has experience in academic affairs as a faculty member and administrator of student services. She has led enrollment management teams, managed state and federal grants and served in advance and development roles. 

Prior to coming to Gadsden State, Williamson worked as a psychology instructor at Wallace State Community College after almost four years as director of Upward Bound. Previously, she also was employed by Miles College, where she served as the director of Admissions and Recruiting as well as the director of Enrollment Management and Title III. 

Williamson earned a Doctor of Philosophy in Higher Education Administration from the University of Alabama in 2013. Previously, she earned a Master of Science in General Counseling from Alabama State University in 2005 and a Bachelor of Arts in Human Development from Alabama A&M University in 1999.

Williamson is a member of the National Education Association, the National Council for Higher Education, the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators and the Alabama Education Association.