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Augustine P. Gallego, Chancellor Emeritus

San Diego Community College District

ELS Group Senior Associate Consultant


Augustine Gallego served as Chancellor of the San Diego Community College District from 1990 to 2004. During his tenure, Chancellor Gallego earned a reputation as a national leader in higher education, and was named by Change Magazine as one of the 21 most influential higher education senior leaders in the United States.  In 2004, Chancellor Gallego was awarded the Harry Buttimer Distinguished Administrator Award by the Association of California Community College Administrators.   He served as chair of the American Council on Education (ACE), only the second community college chief executive in the 85 year history of ACE to lead that organization.  In 1998 he served as chair of the American Association of Community Colleges.

As chief executive officer of one of the largest community college districts in the United States, he has led the development of numerous innovative programs, including public and private partnerships to more effectively and efficiently serve students and the community. The college district serves more than 100,000 students each semester at three colleges—City, Mesa and Miramar, and six Centers for Education and Technology. The district serves over 135,000 U.S. Navy personnel in technical training programs located on military bases throughout the nation and Europe. The SDCCD Regional Public Safety Institute serves 8,000 people a year in law enforcement, firefighting, lifeguard and emergency medical technician training.


Leading efforts to increase community college transfers to universities, Chancellor Gallego initiated expanded programs for transfer to University of California and California State University campuses. A strong advocate of community colleges playing a leading role in the transfer of technology to industry, Chancellor Gallego has expanded and improved the SDCCD’s regional Center for Applied Competitive Technologies.  


Chancellor Gallego severed as a member of the Business-Higher Education Forum and served on the Board of Directors of ACT.


Since 2004 he has been working on the Community College Initiative, Achieving the Dream, and is the   college coach at El Paso Community College and Brookhaven College in Dallas.  He is a founder of the   Salzburg Seminar’s International Studies Program for Community College Students. Chancellor Gallego served as the chair of The College Board’s National Commission on Community Colleges whose report, Winning the Skills Race and Strengthening America’s Middle Class was published in February of 2008.   Among his community service activities in the San Diego region, Chancellor Gallego served as chaired of the San Diego Dialogue, UCSD, Member Board of Trustees University of San Diego and serves on the UC Davis and UC San Diego Foundation Boards.   He serves on the board of the Institute for Higher Education Policy.  In 2011, Chancellor Gallego was appointed co chair of the 21st Century Commission on the Future of Community Colleges. 
Chancellor Gallego’s educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education from the University of Arizona, a Master of Arts in Educational Psychology from the University of California at Davis, completion of the Executive Management Program at the University of California at Davis and graduate work at Northern Arizona University and Point Loma College.


He has three grown children. Alex, a graduate of the University of Colorado, is a coach, teacher and small business owner in Montana. Christina, a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, is a medical doctor practicing in Southern California. Daniel, a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, is a mechanical engineer in Northern California. 



Larry L. Carrier
Senior Partner Emeritus


MBA California State University, Stanislaus
BA, California State University, Stanislaus
CPA, State of California (inactive)


Professional Background

Larry L. Carrier is the partner in charge of business matters pertaining to the firm.  In addition, he has led search assignments for many years.  He specializes in positions that deal with Administrative Services.  His experience includes conducting searches for Vice Chancellors, Vice Presidents and Directors, particularly in the fields of business policy, budget, finance, fiscal accountability, defined benefit programs, maintenance and operations and bond/construction management.  Mr. Carrier provides consultants for interim engagements and special projects as well as personally performing requested services such as retirement incentive determinations and consultative work regarding reorganizations.


Mr. Carrier’s career spanned twenty-five years in the California Community College System, including eighteen years as Vice President of Administrative Services for three districts.  Prior to serving in education, Mr. Carrier was a partner in a Certified Public Accounting firm.


Mr. Carrier has served as President and member of many boards for defined benefit programs, including health benefits, casualty and liability, workers’ compensation and student/athlete accident insurance.  Mr. Carrier is an Emeritus Member of the Students and Athletes Insurance Network.



Dr. Lydia Ledesma-Reese
ELS Group Senior Associate/ Search Consultant



Ed.D. – Pepperdine University, Malibu, California

Doctoral Coursework in Organizational Communication,
University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California,
Harvard University, Graduate School of Education, Management Development Program.
M.A. – California State Universities, Fullerton and San Diego, California
B.A. – California State University, Fullerton, California
A.A. – Saddleback Community College, Mission Viejo, California


Professional Background

Educational Consultant

Works privately and/or with other educational consulting firms which specialize in leadership/staff development, management training, organizational development, institutional/strategic planning, multicultural education, educational/vocational and student services programs, foundations and executive searches. Consulted with Ventura CCD and Kern CCD.


Before retiring from the California Community College System and working as a consultant to higher educational institutions, Dr. Ledesma-Reese served as the President of Oxnard College; President of Skagit Valley College, WA; Vice President of Instruction, Hartnell College; Dean Intercultural/International Studies, DeAnza College; among other administrative positions. Early in her career she served as a tenured professor, lecturer, and instructor in higher education. Dr. Ledesma is a senior associate with The ELS Group who leads presidential searches and conducts professional training workshops for higher education trustees, faculty and staff.



Samuel Johnson, Jr.
ELS Group Senior Associate



MA – Mathematics, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA
BS – Mathematics, Southern University, Baton Rouge, LA
Certificate -The Cambridge Group – Strategic Planning
Certificate -ACSA’s Superintendent Academy


Professional Background

Mr. Johnson is formerly the superintendent of the San Mateo Union High School District. Prior to this position, he served as the Director of Human Relations, Director of Personnel, Associate Superintendent Human Resources and Administrative Services and Assistant Principal and Principal. Sam has conducted searches for school level certificated and classified administrative personnel for 15 years. The administrative searches, in which he had direct responsibility for recommending employment included deputy superintendent, associate superintendent, principal, assistant principal, and numerous directors.


As superintendent of the San Mateo Union High School District, Mr. Johnson recommended changes in the District’s educational program, which led to students achieving the highest test scores, regardless of test measure, than at any other time in the District’s rich academic history. Additionally, under his leadership and with overwhelming support from voters in 2006, the District received $298 million through Measure M Bond making it possible for new construction and modernization programs that continue today. Sam has chaired more than 25 Accreditation Visiting Teams for the Western Association of Schools and Colleges including assignments to Hawaii, Guam, and Hong Kong.


Presently, Mr. Johnson is a member of the Board of Directors of Silicon Valley Community Foundation, and serves as the Chairperson of Provident Credit Union Board of Directors. He has received numerous awards and recognitions, for his work in education, including a listing in the Congressional Record of the 110th Congress, California Senate Resolution and a California Assembly Resolution for his leadership and educational service to students. Sam leads ELS search and interim placement efforts for School Superintendents, Principals and Vice Principals.



Dr. Robert L Ford

ELS Group Regional Associate


He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from Purdue University at Lafayette, IN, where he was recently recognized as a Distinguished Alumnus at both institutions.


Professional Background

Dr. Robert L Ford is Professor of Chemistry, Director of the Center for STEM Education and Outreach (C-SEO), and Chair of the TSU Faculty Senate Mentoring Committee at Texas Southern University. Ford is GLOBE Partnership Coordinator for TSU and represents the College on the University Research Council. He is a Faculty Senator, representing the College of Science and Technology and chair of the College’s Fundraising Committee. Dr. Ford is a board member of Bridging the Digital Divide, Inc. and the Houston-Luanda Sister City Association. He has served as Associate Provost for Research at TSU, Vice President for Advancement and Research at Fort Valley State University, and Vice Chancellor for Research at Southern University in Baton Rouge.


He recently completed a one-year stint as Interim Chair of the TSU Chemistry Department. He represents TSU on the Greater Houston Energy Collaborative and led the University’s Texas Emerging Technology Fund Initiative. He is a member of the Advisory Board of the Greater Houston Area American Red Cross Southeast Branch, a member of the Institute of Green Professionals. and founding Chairman of the Minority Serving Institution Research (MSIRP) Partnership. Ford has expertise in STEM education, project development and management, environmental and sustainable development, group facilitation, and small business and entrepreneurship development. He has international business and technology experience in South Africa, The Republic of the Gambia, Senegal, Nigeria, Taiwan, Germany, and The Netherlands.


During his years at Xerox Corporation in Rochester, NY and Palo Alto, CA, Ford worked in the areas organic charge transfer complex materials development for improved photocopying applications (Webster Research Center) and flat panel display device technology development based on multicolor colloidal systems (Palo Alto Research Center). In the applied research arena, he conducted a feasibility study in the Republic of the Gambia relative to agricultural waste to energy for electricity production, and uranium enrichment processing in Germany and The Netherlands.


Ford is currently working to establish a Center for STEM Education and Outreach at TSU and he is affiliated with the TSU National Transportation Security Center of Excellence focusing on Petrochemical transport. His current graduate student is conducting research in petrochemical fuels combustion and pollutant emissions. Current areas of research interest include petrochemical transport, STEM education, and environmental sustainability.



Kirk Avery

ELS Group Search Associate

DPA – University of Southern California
MPA – University of Southern California
MBA – University of Missouri
BS – Syracuse University

Professional Background
Dr. Avery’s career spanned 39 years in higher education starting as an instructor and continuing through faculty division chair to chief executive officer of three different California community colleges. He also headed a consultant firm that conducted executive officer searches for the private sector.


Kirk Avery is a search associate who leads search assignments for the ELS Group. His experience includes Superintendent/President, Monterey Peninsula College (MPC), Vice President for Administrative services MPC, President Cypress College, Superintendent/ President Palo Verde Community College District, Dean of Business Services/Chief Business Officer Lake Tahoe CCD.



Dr. James E. Lyons, Sr.
ELS Group Regional Associate


Ph.D - University of Connecticut
MA - University of Connecticut
BA - University of Connecticut


Professional Background
Before retiring from service with the State of Maryland, Dr. Lyons served as Secretary of Higher Education, where his responsibility included the coordination of all post-secondary education. Among his many administrative positions he served as President of Bowie State University; President of Jackson State University, President of California State University Dominguez Hills and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Delaware State University.


Well known for his work as a State Higher Education Executive Officer (SHEEO), he is considered an expert in higher education desegregation; State Systems of Higher Education; Public/Private partnerships in higher education; and K-12/higher education partnerships. Dr. Lyons has been a Trustee at Philadelphia University, and Dillard University in New Orleans.


He has served on the Boards of several major higher education organizations including the American Council on Education; the American Association of State Colleges and Universities; the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education; and, the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education. He has been a member of the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges and the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Schools.


Dr. Lyons has served as a consultant on issues as diverse as collective bargaining; higher education desegregation; college readiness and student retention; minority serving institutions; magnet/charter schools; and minority entrepreneurship.



Dr. Stu Sutin

ELS Group Regional Associate


Ph.D. - University of Texas at
M.A. - Georgetown University
B.A. - Penn State


Professional Background

He is currently Clinical Professor of Administrative and Policy Studies, Program Coordinator for Higher Education Management and Associate Director of the Institute for Higher Education Management in the School of Education at the University of Pittsburgh. Before joining the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Sutin served as President of Community College of Allegheny County.


Dr. Sutin’s executive positions in the banking industry included President of Bank of Boston International (now Bank of America) and Senior Vice President and International Department Head of Mellon Bank (now BNY Mellon). His professional activities included service as President of the Board of Directors of the Bankers Association for Trade and Finance, Chair of the Western Pennsylvania District Export Council, board member of Three Rivers Workforce Investment Board, co-founder of the Global Trade Institute, and Massachusetts State Coordinator for The War on Waste In Government (Grace Commission).


Dr. Sutin served on the Board of Trustees of St. Thomas University and the International Fine Arts College of Miami, where he was Vice Chairman. He has been on advisory boards at Carnegie Mellon University, University of Pittsburgh, Duquesne University, Brandeis University, and the University of Miami. Dr. Sutin is an adjunct member of the faculty of the Katz Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Pittsburgh and served in a similar capacity at Babson University. He co-edited and authored chapters Financing Development in Latin America, contributed a chapter to the International Banking Handbook, published by Dow Jones Irwin, has written other articles on international finance, and is Senior Editor and Co-Author of Improving the Financial Model of Community College: Sustainability in a Global Context (under contract with Palgrave Macmillan; expected publication 2011). He served in the U.S. Army Reserves, and received an honorable discharge with the rank of Captain.



Dr. Sylvia Key
ELS Group Consultant


Ed.D. - University of California at Berkeley
M.A. - Teachers College, Columbia University (Reading
B.A. - State University of New York at Fredonia (English)


Professional Background

Sylvia Key provides leadership, professional development, coaching and facilitation in the planning, development, management and implementation of services for children, youth and families in collaboration with school districts, county and community agencies. Dr. Key has also been a high school administrator and department chair. She has taught at the high school, adult school, and college level.

Dr. Key has been the recipient of a number of awards such as the Kent Award from the San Mateo County Schools Boards Association and the Outstanding Service Award, Partnership in Education from the San Mateo County Office of Education.

In addition to her extensive work in public education, Dr. Key is a member of the Fatherhood Collaborative, a commission of the Board of Supervisors and is secretary of the Board of Trustees for Urban Strategies. She recently served as a member of the State Advisory Board for the California Preschool Instructional Network (2004-10) and is a member of the Association of California School Administrators.


Dr. Key’s publications include: Professional Development: Lessons from Research, Districts and Teachers, Dissertation thesis (1995) and “Make the Chore of Student Teachers a Reason to Cheer,” The Executive Educator 9(1987). Dr. Key was a founding member, former president and editor of the Secondary Teachers Association of Reading.



Dr. Harriett J. Robles

ELS Group Consultant



B.A. in Comparative Literature from Occidental College, Los Angeles
M.A. in Comparative Literature from the University of California, Berkeley
Ed. D. in Educational Leadership and Change from Fielding Graduate University, Santa Barbara.
She has completed additional graduate studies at San José State University and University of Santa Clara.


Professional Background
Dr. Robles began her educational career in 1975 teaching English and English as a second language (ESL) in the Campbell Union High School District. In 1981, she accepted an instructor position at West Valley College, where she taught English and ESL and coordinated the college’s ESL program. She later served as Assistant Dean and then Dean of Instruction and Matriculation at West Valley. In 2003, she was selected as the Vice President of Instruction at Mission College in Santa Clara.


In 2006-07, she served as the interim President of Mission College, and in 2007, she was appointed permanent President. In addition to her teaching and administrative experience, Dr. Robles was an active board member of the Research and Planning Group for California Community Colleges for many years and served as its president in 2003-04. She served two terms as a Director of the Board for the Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce. Dr. Robles retired in 2010 after 35 years as an educator. She currently consults in educational master planning and has most recently been appointed Vice President of Educational Collaboration for the Institute of Evidence-Based Change.


She has been a frequent presenter and consultant in the areas of assessment, student outcomes, and institutional planning. She continues to teach at the graduate level in educational leadership, systems, management, governance, and organizational change.



Ross T. Hite

Licensed Private Investigator
Owner – Investigative Analysis



B.A.  University of San Francisco (Sociology/Criminology)  
M.P.A.  Golden Gate University (Minor in business) 
Lifetime CA Teaching Credential  
State of CA Advanced POST Certificate


Professional Background

Ross T. Hite, founder of Investigative Analysis is a licensed investigative consultant. He maintains licenses to practice in California and Louisiana.

Mr. Hite has been a Private Investigator since forming his business consulting firm in 1979. Prior to becoming self-employed, he was a member of the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office located in the San Francisco, CA Bay Area. While in the Sheriff’s Office he was a Sheriff’s Detective and member of the Special Investigations Unit.


Using his background in law enforcement, Mr. Hite has sharpened his skills in various areas of investigation which touch on the education field. During the past 25 years has been directly involved with school administrators and legal counsel representing school and community college districts; conducted investigations involving sexual harassment complaints and discipline cases for dishonesty, fraud and theft; acted as liaison with school officials, local law enforcement, federal investigators and legal counsel; augmented the efforts of college law enforcement in serious stalking cases; coordinated successful undercover operations in a unified school district.


Ross T. Hite brings a blend of enthusiasm and nearing four decades of experience which will enhance any strategic team moving forward to identify and solve a problem/issue.




Anita L. Morris
ELS Group Associate


MPA, Public Administration, University of San Francisco
BA, Psychology, California State University, Sacramento
Standard Elementary Teaching Credential, California State University, Sacramento


Professional Background
Ms. Morris’ career  in the field of human resources, including labor relations and affirmative action/equal employment opportunity, spanned 30 years , 18 of which were in the California community college system.  Most recently she served as the Interim Executive Director of Human Resources and Labor Relations for the Marin Community College District. 


Prior to her retirement, Ms. Morris was Vice Chancellor of Human Resources for the San Jose/Evergreen Community College District, Director of Human Resources for Chabot-Las Positas Community College District,  Dean of Human Resources for Santa Clarita Community College District, and Director of Affirmative Action for San Joaquin Delta Community College District.  Her experience also included the State Chancellor’s Office, California Community Colleges where she served as Technical Assistance Manager for Human Resources/Faculty and Staff Diversity, and Director of Personnel and Administrative Services.


During her career, Ms. Morris was a member of the Association of California Community College Administrators, and also served as a member of ACCCA’s Board of Directors.  In addition she served as an active member of the Bay Area Chief Human Resources Officers Association (Bay 10), Southern California Information and Exchange Consortium (Southern 30), Association of Chief Human Resource Officers/Equal Equity Employment Officers (ACHRO/EEO), and Equal Employment, Diversity and Equity Consortium-Southern California (EEDEC).



Dr. Brian K. Johnson
ELS Group  Senior Associate &
Director of MSI/ELS Federal Training Institute



Doctorate in Education/Educational Leadership


Masters of Education/Counseling and Human Relations


Bachelor of Arts, Psychology


Professional Background
Dr. Brian K. Johnson is a seasoned educational administrator with more than 20 years of experience as a leader in higher education, community college president, professor, and consultant. He has successfully launched initiatives to strengthen student support, workforce training, adult education, and fundraising totaling hundreds of millions of dollars at several of the nation’s largest multi-campus community colleges.


In addition to managing an educational consulting business and working with organizations such as the Congressional Award Foundation, Washington Nationals Major League Baseball, and BET-TV Networks, Dr. Johnson established and serves as Executive Director of the Community College Division of The National Society of Collegiate Scholars. He is also a Fellow in the Education Policy Center at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa.


Dr. Johnson was the first African American president of Montgomery College in Maryland. Under his leadership as president the College experienced record-high enrollment, opened a new 500-seat performing arts center, and received full-funding from the State and County for an $80 million Bioscience Center and a $60 million Science Building.


Prior to joining Montgomery College, Dr. Johnson served as chief executive officer (President) of the Allegheny Campus and system-wide senior vice president for student and community services for the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. While at CCAC, Dr. Johnson spearheaded and launched the College’s “Achieving the Dream” effort, a nationwide initiative to raise the bar of student achievement.


Dr. Johnson spent more than 15 years developing student support programs with Maricopa Community Colleges, in Phoenix, AZ , the largest community college in the country, where he began his career as an academic advisor and rose to the position of Vice President .


Dr. Johnson has completed numerous executive leadership programs including Harvard University’s New President’s Academy, Harvard’s Institute for the Management of Lifelong Learning, the Thomas Lakin Institute for Mentored Leadership, the League for Innovation’s Executive Leadership Institute, the Pennsylvania Educational Policy Fellowship Program, Leadership Pittsburgh, and Leadership Montgomery. Dr. Johnson earned his Ed.D. in educational leadership from Northern Arizona University, an M.A. in education in counseling/human relations from Northern Arizona University, and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Ottawa University. He is a member of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc., and serves as an officer of the Beta Mu Boule of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity. Along with cherished time for family vacations, Dr. Johnson enjoys basketball, billiards, canoeing and hiking. He is an active member of 100 Black Men of Greater Washington DC.


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