Executive Leadership Team

San Juan College President

Dr. Toni Hopper Pendergrass

Dr. Toni Hopper Pendergrass reestablished her roots in San Juan County, when she returned home and joined San Juan College as President, July 2, 2012.

Prior to San Juan College, Dr. Pendergrass served as the Vice President for Learning at San Jacinto College, South Campus in Houston, Texas. Before San Jacinto College, she served as Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs and Student Success at El Centro College in Dallas, Texas, as well as the Executive Dean of Communications, Mathematics, Developmental Students, and Teacher Preparation Division. She also gained academic experience in strategic planning, research, and institutional effectiveness as a vice chancellor at Wayne County Community College District in Detroit, Michigan, and as a college director of institutional planning and research at Clovis Community College in Clovis, New Mexico.

She earned her Ph.D. in Educational Administration with a specialization in Community College Leadership from the University of Texas at Austin. She also holds a Master of Science degree in Agricultural Economics and Economics and a Bachelor’s Degree in Agriculture Economics and Business, both from New Mexico State University.

With nearly twenty years of experience in community college administration, Dr. Pendergrass understands and embraces the community college philosophy. Part of that involves continuing to advance student success, community partnerships and economic development. Dr. Pendergrass serves on the following boards: Four Corners Economic Development (4CED), Four Corners Innovations, San Juan Safe Communities Board, Leadership San Juan, Farmington Boys and Girls Club, the Educational Testing Service Community College Advisory Board, and the Higher Education Research and Development Institute.

Dr. Pendergrass has delivered several presentations at national conferences regarding the following topics: leadership development, building community through strategic partnerships, budgeting and facilities utilization. She was also awarded the Chair Academy’s 2006 International Exemplary Leader Award and received the 2014 Excellence for Student Achievement Award presented by the New Mexico School Boards Association in cooperation with the Farmington Board of Education.

Vice President for Student Services

David P. Eppich

David P. Eppich has served as vice president for student services since July 2005. He came to San Juan College from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colo., where he most recently served as assistant to the president for external affairs. During his 25 years at Fort Lewis, Eppich was director of developmental projects and special assistant to the president, director of the college union and student activities, and coach of the men’s club soccer team. During his early career he was manager of housing services and residence director at the University of New Mexico.

Eppich earned his bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of New Mexico and his master’s of science in management from The American College in Bryn Mawr, PA. He is a graduate of Farmington High School.

Eppich has been active in economic development in the Four Corners, and formerly served as chair of the Colorado Region Nine Economic Development Board of Directors. He has served the community of Durango in various capacities and been honored for his leadership by numerous organizations.

Vice President for Learning

Dr. Barbara Ake

Dr. Barbara Ake joined San Juan College as the new Vice President for Learning, June 24, 2013.

Prior to coming to San Juan College, Dr. Ake served as the Dean of Natural Sciences and Health Sciences at San Jacinto College, South Campus in Houston, Texas. She has also served as the Chief Academic Officer at Aultman College of Nursing and Health Sciences in Canton, Ohio, and as the Provost for the Health Sciences Campus at Brevard Community College.

She earned a doctorate in education from Nova Southeastern University and her master’s degree in health care administration from Central Michigan University. Along with a strong academic background and experience in higher education, Dr. Ake brings several years of experience in both regional and program accreditation. In addition, she has extensive experience in building teams that serve both the college and community interests.

As the Vice President for Learning, Dr. Ake is responsible for the supervision of the deans for the College’s six schools, which include the Schools of Business; Energy; Health Science; Humanities; Science, Math and Engineering; and Trades and Technology. The duties include planning, development, implementation and evaluation of instructional programs.

Associate Vice President for Learning & Strategic Initiatives

Lisa Wilson

Lisa Wilson joined the Executive Leadership Team as Associate Vice President for Learning and Strategic Initiatives in June of 2013. She came to San Juan College in 1993, serving as a faculty member in English until 2002. In 2002, she became Dean of the School of Humanities and served in that role for 10 years. Through her tenure as Dean and as a member of the Learning Leadership Team, she was a strong advocate for collaborative processes, innovative teaching approaches, student-centered practices, and assessment of student learning.

Prior to coming to San Juan College, Ms. Wilson worked at Dine College in Shiprock as a faculty member in English and Foundation Studies. Her 7 years with that institution provided a strong background in Navajo culture and issues relevant to Native students, which served her well at San Juan College. This contributed to her broad experience working with diverse students through teaching English as a second/foreign language. She taught English as a foreign language at the Instituto de Estudios Norteamericanos in Barcelona, Spain and at the American Language Institute at San Francisco State University.

Ms. Wilson earned her master’s degree in English, with a Concentration in Teaching English as a Second Language from San Francisco State University. She graduated with a B.A. in Sociology from University of California, Santa Barbara.

As Associate Vice President for Learning and Strategic Initiatives, Lisa Wilson is responsible for overseeing the Library, the East and West campuses, the Center for Student Engagement, and the Center for Teaching Excellence. She serves as the AQIP Liaison for the Higher Learning Commission and as co-chair for Institutional Accreditation. She also has oversight over academic processes and projects that advance the College’s strategic plan and its commitment to student success and completion.

Vice President for Administrative Services

Russell Litke

Russell Litke became vice president for administrative services at San Juan College on August 8, 2011, previously serving the College as controller since May 2010. Prior to that role, he was chief financial officer and controller at Navajo Agricultural Products Industry (NAPI). Litke received his master’s of business administration degree from California State University in 1997. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and accounting from California State, as well as an associate’s degree in business administration and accounting from Modesto Jr. College, in Modesto, Calif.

In the position, Litke is responsible for the college’s budget and finance operations, monitoring and reporting financial analyses to the president and board of trustees, and supervisory oversight of the College’s Bookstore, Business Office, Copy Services, Finance and Investments, Locksmith, Mailroom, Motor Pool, Physical Plant, Purchasing, Risk Management, and Shipping and Receiving departments.