Panelists will share how their unique collaboration models are empowering students to address their personal knowledge gaps and improving the postsecondary transition experience.
Additionally, we'll discuss essential dual enrollment program components, including funding, advising, and scheduling, as well as tips for engaging shareholders, scaling an initiative, and measuring impact.
Director of State Engagement, National Alliance for Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP)
As Director of State Engagement for the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP), Dianne Lassai Barker is dedicated to advancing the goal of higher education attainment and career advancement for all students. As the sole accrediting body for dual and concurrent enrollment partnerships, NACEP helps programs adhere to the highest standards so students experience a seamless transition to college and teachers benefit from meaningful, ongoing professional development. Dianne champions NACEP’s goals by engaging states through relationship building and technical assistance, fostering concurrent and dual enrollment policy conversations, leading the NACEP State, Regional, and Affiliated Chapters, as well as supporting the advocacy and Engagement Commissions’ work and the NACEP Leadership Academy.
Previously, Dianne was the Director of Secondary Education Initiatives and Dual Enrollment for the Technical College System of Georgia. Dianne has worked in higher education for over 20 years at the state’s system office and a two-year postsecondary institution. Dianne provided postsecondary leadership in planning, developing, and implementing the Dual Enrollment programs to promote equable, seamless postsecondary education for Georgia’s 22 technical colleges.
A native of New Orleans, Louisiana, Dianne currently resides with her family in Marietta, Georgia.
Director of College, Career, and Military Readiness, Southwest Public Schools (TX)
Dr. West has over 15 years of experience in recruitment, program development, event coordination, community outreach, enrollment management, and academic advising. He obtained a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Social Work from Stephen F. Austin State University, and completed a Doctorate in Higher Education Administration at Texas Tech University in 2017. He is currently the Director of College, Career, and Military Readiness at Southwest Public Schools. There, he ensures that the development and delivery of career- and technical-education curriculum and instructional programs are effective and efficient, incorporates district goals, supports student achievement, and provides career development opportunities for students.
Previously, Dr. West served as the District P-16 Director for Houston Community College, where he provided leadership for all K-12 programs in the seven public school districts throughout the greater Houston area. He also oversaw programming with charter, private, and homeschool communities. Most recently, Dr. West was a 2022 graduate of the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP) National Leadership Academy that joins a network of leaders who are at the forefront of advancing dual and concurrent enrollment. Dr. West is committed to the success of students and dedicated to serving as a leader among his colleagues and committed to building community partnerships to support students' success.
Executive Director of Academic Success, Ocean County College (NJ)
Dr. Jackson joined Ocean County College July 1, 2011. He began his career at Ocean County College as a Professor of English. Beginning October 8, 2012, he served three years as Acting Dean of the School of Arts and Humanities. Following his tenure as Acting Dean, he became the Director of Academic Success, during which time he administered the College Readiness Now grant that supports first-generation, low-income students in the 11th and 12th grade who are at risk of not
graduating. The goal of the grant program is to get students college- and career-ready.
July 1, 2016, he was named the Executive Director of Academic Success. In this position, Dr. Jackson continues to administer the grant-funded College Readiness Now program and the Early College Program—a partnership between all 16 Ocean County high schools, four Ocean County vocational schools, and Donovan Catholic High School. The Early College program offers Ocean County 9th through 12th grade students the opportunity to earn college credit while still in high school.
Dr. Jackson has worked in education for more than 25 years. His work in the field of education has offered him the opportunity to serve many students and be a part of various committees. such as the Student Code of Conduct and Center for Student Rights and Responsibilities at the Teacher's College, Columbia University. He served on the Diversity Conference Committee, Student Success Team, and the California State University African American Initiative Community Outreach Task Force while attending San Diego State University. He has served on the Developmental Education and Curriculum Committees at Ocean County College and was selected to serve on the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) as a member of the Bias and Sensitivity Passage Review Committee. His work on that committee contributed to the development of assessment tasks and items that would make up PARCC’s assessment system. His PARCC committee was charged with reading, reviewing, and evaluating English Language Arts/Literacy passages to determine whether the subject matter, presentation, and language used in PARCC reading passages were free of potential bias and acceptable to PARCC state students, parents and other community members.
Dr. Jackson is a former Marine and a Gulf War Veteran. He holds an Associate's Degree in General Studies from Prince George’s Community College, a Bachelor's of Arts degree in English from Howard University, a Master's of Arts and Master's of Education in the Teaching of English from the Teacher's College, Columbia University, and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from San Diego State University.
Assistant Director of the Center for Academic Success, Ocean County College (NJ)
Elaine Schardien has been employed at Ocean County College since 2002. She began her career at Ocean County College as Coordinator of Adaptive Services, where she provided services for students with physical disabilities. She later accepted a position at Ocean County College as Coordinator of NJ STARS, which empowered high-achieving students to attend Ocean County College for free under a grant from the State of New Jersey. In August of 2017, Elaine became Assistant Director of Academic Success, where she assists Dr. Jackson in the implementation of the College Readiness Now grant that supports first-generation, low-income students in grades 9-12 who are at risk of not graduating. The goal of the program is to get students college and career ready.
Elaine also works closely with students and administrators in the Early College program, where she provides advising and SEL workshops for students to prepare them academically and emotionally in transitioning to their future college, university, or career. She has worked in education for over 20 years and began her career as a social worker for NJ Division of Youth and Family Services. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor and currently works part-time at a local mental health clinic servicing individuals from ages 5-18 years old.
Elaine is a certified yoga teacher and an adjunct for Kean University’s Yoga Teacher Training program. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Virginia Wesleyan College, a Masters of Arts degree in Counseling from Georgian Court University, and completed coursework at Monmouth University to obtain a licensure as a New Jersey Licensed Professional Counselor.