Administrative Cabinet

Dr. Martha Lavender, president of Gadsden State Community College

Dr. Martha Lavender, PhD, RN, FAAN

Dr. Martha Lavender, Phd, RN, FAAN

Dr. Lavender is the chief administrative officer of the College and is in direct reporting relationship to the Chancellor of the Alabama Community College System. The president is responsible for administering and supervising the total college program and must delegate authority yet retain final responsibility for the effective operation of Gadsden State.

Dr. Lavender has had a long history of success in the nursing and educational fields. She once served as the dean of Health Sciences at Gadsden State and held administrative and faculty positions with the Lurleen Be. Wallace College of Nursing and Health Sciences at Jacksonville State Univesity. She served as a visiting professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing, and she has worked in administrative posts with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in Anniston.

A product of the state’s two-year college system, Dr. Lavender received her Associate Degree in Nursing (AND) from the former Gadsden State Junior College School of Nursing. Shear earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from JSU and a Master of Science in Nursing and doctorate degree from UAB.

Dr. Lavender served as president of the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nursing, an organization that also recognized her with its highest honor, the Distinguished Professional Service Award. She has served as the president of the Alabama Board of Nursing and has also worked with the National League for Nursing Accreditation Commission and the Alabama Regional Action Coalition. In 2015, she was inducted into the American Academy of Nursing and the Alabama Nursing Hall of Fame.

Dr. Lavender has served in leadership roles in many community organizations, including Love Your Neighbor, First Friday Women’s Forum, the United Way of Etowah County, the Hokes Bluff Library Foundation, Gadsden Kiwanis Club, Cherokee County Historical Museum, Northeast Alabama Community Foundation and the James A. Barrie Center for Children. She has been awarded the Heart of the Eagle Award from the Greater Alabama Council of the Boy Scouts and Francis E. Couch Lifetime Achievement Award from the Girls Scouts of North-Central Alabama. Business Alabama magazine has named her a Mover and Shaper of Etowah County and Birmingham Magazine selected her as one of the Women Who Shape the State.

Dr. Teresa Rhea, Dean of Enrollment and Retention

Dr. Teresa Rhea
Dean of Enrollment and Retention

Dr. Teresa Rhea

Dr. Teresa Rhea is the dean of Enrollment and Retention and serves the College by providing clear direction for innovative recruitment and retention activities as well as services to the students and community. The Office of the Dean of Enrollment and Retention coordinates the activities of Admissions, Financial Aid, Testing, Advisement Resource Center, ACE Institute, Career Services, Student Services, Student Engagement and all grant activities related to recruitment and retention.

Dr. Rhea has been an employee of Gadsden State since she was hired in 2000 as registrar, director of Admissions and associate dean of Student Services. In 2009, she was named Assistant to the President for Planning, Research and Effectiveness. She was promoted to her current position in 2016. Previous to her career in higher education, Dr. Rhea was a teacher and counselor at Southside High School for 17 years.

Dr. Rhea holds a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology from the University of Alabama, where she also earned a Master of Arts in Instructional Leadership, a Master of Arts in Counseling Endorsement and the Doctor of Education in Higher Education Administration.

Dr. Rhea has served as chairperson of the Alabama Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers Summer Conference as well as the State Admissions and Registrars Committee for two-year colleges. She was the state chairperson for the Alabama Commission on Higher Education Steering Committee for Electronic Transcripts. She is a graduate of the Gadsden State Leadership Development Institute and the Alabama Leadership Academy.

In the community, Dr. Rhea has volunteered with the United Way of Etowah County, the Success by Six Girlfriend Gala, the Gadsden Service Guild, the Antiquarian Society of Gadsden, the Etowah County Humane Society and Darden Rehabilitation Center.

Mr. Kevin McFry, dean of financial and adminstrative services

Mr. Kevin McFry
Dean of Financial and Administrative Services

Mr. Kevin McFry

Mr. 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.

Mr. 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.

Mr. 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.

Mr. 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
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 all college credit programs. The following departments report to Dr. Worthington: Language and Humanities, Business, Information Technology, Science, Math and Engineering, Health, Physical Education and Recreation, Social Science, Library Services, Athletics, the Center for Teaching and Learning, Fine Arts, Alabama Language Institute and International Programs.

Dr. 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.

Dr. 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 the University of North Georgia, Troy University-Dothan, Troy University-Montgomery, Auburn University and Georgia Military College.

Dr. Worthington serves as the administrator of the Alabama Community College System Developmental Education Readiness Plan Team, a member of The Chamber of Gadsden/Etowah Excellence in Education Committee, a member of the ACCS Enrollment Management Committee and the creator and facilitator of the Gadsden State Leadership Academy. She is the 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.

Dr. 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.

Mr. Tim Smith, Chief Information Officer

Mr. Tim Smith
Chief Information Officer

Mr. Tim Smith

Mr. Tim Smith 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.

Mr. Smith was named CIO in 2014. He previously served as coordinator of Institutional Effectiveness at Gadsden State after working at Jacksonville State University for four years as a software architect. He has also been employed by Valencia College in Orlando, Osceola County School District in Kissimmee, Fla., and Ayers State Technical College.

Mr. Smith earned his Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Sciences from JSU. In 1995, he earned a Master of Art in Higher Education Administration from the University of Alabama. In 2013, he was awarded a Master of Science in Computer Systems and Software Design from JSU, and he has completed coursework in emergency management.

Smith has served on the Alabama Community College Reverse Transfer Committee and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Steering Committee.

Dr. Deborah Curry, dean of Health Sciences

Dr. Deborah Curry
Dean of Health Sciences

Dr. Deborah Curry

As the dean of Health Sciences, Dr. Curry serves as the chief academic officer for all health science programs. She develops and administers the program’s instructional budget, provides innovatitve and strategic visionary leadership and supervises program directors. Departments reporting to Dr. Curry include Medical Laboratory Technology, Emergency Medical Services, Massage Therapy Program, Nursing Education (RN & LPN), Nursing Assistant, Phlebotomy Training and Radiologic Technology.

Dr. Curry has worked as a nurse since 1979 in doctor’s offices, clinics and hosptials. In 1994, she was named an instructor in the Lurleen B. Wallace College of Nursing and Health Sciences at Jacksonville State University. She became an assistant professor of Nursing in 2004 and earned her associate professorship in 2010.

Dr. Curry received her bachelor’s degree in nursing in 1979 from JSU. A decade later, she was awarded a Master of Science in Community Health Nursing from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Her nursing doctorate was awarded by Rush University in Chicago. She is certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a nurse practitioner.

Dr. Curry has been recognized for outstanding service, including the Alabama League of Nursing’s Lamplighter Award and the Excellence in Teaching Award. She was awarded JSU’s Oustanding Teaching of the Year and won the Faculty Research Award many times. Most recently, she received the Outstanding Administrator of the Year at the Excellence in Education Awards hosted by The Chamber of Gadsden/Etowah.

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

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

Mrs. Pam Hayes Johnson

Mrs. 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, Ms. 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.

Ms. 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.

Mrs. 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.

Mrs. Johnson has been recognized twice as Gadsden State’s Chancellor’s Award winner for Administrator of the Year in 2002 and 2016.