Meet the Commission

The Commission comprises at least twenty-seven persons elected by its member colleges and universities. Typically, Commissioners serve for no more than two consecutive three-year terms. At least one in seven Commissioners is a representative of the public interest, with the remainder being faculty, senior administrators, and trustees from member institutions. Following is a list of current Commissioners, the end dates of their elected terms, their titles and institutional affiliations, and their brief biographical information. Further information about the Commissioners is available upon request.

New England Commission of Higher Education Bylaws

View the Biographical Statements of Commissioners

* Indicates member of Executive Committee

*Carey, Russell (2023), Chair, Executive Vice President for Planning and Policy, Brown University, Providence, RI

*Whelan, Michaele (2023)Vice-Chair, President, Wheaton College, Norton, MA

Amato, Paula (2026) Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, New England College, Henniker, NH

Armstrong, Kelli (2026), President, Salve Regina University, Newport, RI

*Blanchard, Lloyd (2024), Interim Vice President for Administration and Chief Financial Officer, Connecticut State Colleges and Universities

Coan, Stephen
(2026), Public Member, Pawcatuck, CT

Ebb, Peter (2024), Trustee Member, Boston, MA

Flynn, John (2026), Dean and Professor, The Richard Gilder Graduate School at American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY

Fudge, Kevin (2026), Public Member, Arlington, MA

Greene, Joseph (2025), Vice Chancellor of Finance & Administration/Treasurer and CFO, Johnson & Wales University, Providence, RI

Hain, Judith (2024), Public Member, Prospect, ME

Hajir, Farshid (2026), Senior Vice Provost, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA

Herbert, James (2026), President, University of New England, Biddeford, ME

Ijiri, Lisa 
(2026), Senior Advisor to the Dean, Boston University Wheelock College of Education and Human Development, Boston, MA

Judy, Joyce (2025), President, Community College of Vermont, Montpelier, VT

*Kennedy, Ellen L. (2024), President, Berkshire Community College, Pittsfield, MA

Leach, Todd 
(2026)Chancellor Emeritus, University System of New Hampshire

*McMahan, Jeffrey J. (2025), Public Member, Burlington, VT

Mills, Juline
 (2024), Westfield State University, Westfield, MA

Newell, Peggy 
(2025), Deputy Provost, Harvard University, MA

Pedraja, Luis (2026), President, Quinsigamond Community College, Worcester, MA

Royo, Sebastian (2024), Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, Clark University, Worcester, MA

Shennan
Andrew (2026), Provost and Dean, Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA

Siegel, Christine (2024)Provost, Fairfield University, Fairfield, CT

*Sweeney, John M. (2024), Treasurer, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Providence College, Providence, RI

Treadwell, Melinda
 (2024), President, Keene State College, Keene, NH

View the Biographical Statements of Commissioners-Elect

Carvalho, Kristin, Public Member, New Bedford, MA

Chang, Art, Public Member, New York, NY

Custodia Lora, Noemi, Vice President, Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill, MA

Donahue, Amy K., Provost and Chief Financial Officer, United States Coast Guard Academy, New London, CT

Dumay, Harry E., President, Our Lady of the Elms, Chicopee, MA

Gross, Adam, Public Member, Tiverton, RI

Low, Ryan, Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration & Treasurer, University of Maine System, Farmington, ME

Perellon, Juan-Francisco, Chief Academic Officer, EHL Hospitality Business School, Lausanne, Switzerland 

NECHE Staff

Lawrence M. Schall
President of the Commission

Areas of Responsibility: 

Government relations, Media relations and communications, Interested / Eligible / Applicant Institutions

Dr. Lawrence Schall joined the Commission staff as President in 2020. Previously, he served as President of Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, Georgia for 15 years. During his tenure, Dr. Schall led the transformation of Oglethorpe from an at-risk institution to a university boasting a doubled class size and rigorous spending safeguards, raised over one hundred million dollars, and secured a solid financial outlook for the institution. Schall currently serves on the Board of Spelman College, the highly-ranked historically Black women’s college also in Atlanta.

President Schall received his undergraduate degree from Swarthmore College and his J.D. and Ed.D from the University of Pennsylvania. After practicing law as a civil rights attorney in Philadelphia for a decade, he served as Vice President of Administration at Swarthmore for 15 years before assuming the Presidency of Oglethorpe.

You can learn more about President Schall and his work at the Commission by visiting his blog, NECHE On The Road.

Carol Anderson
Vice President of the Commission

Areas of Responsibility: 

Self-Study, Interested / Eligible / Applicant Institutions, Complaints / Public Comments, Substantive Change

Dr. Anderson joined the Commission in 2012.  As Vice President, she supports the Commission in its work and collaborates with member institutions that are engaged in the self-study or interim report process; she also assists international institutions seeking accreditation through NECHE. Anderson serves on the New England Board of Higher Education’s Regional State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) committee.  Previously, she worked in public, private, and for-profit institutions as adjunct instructor, Director of Education, Director of Compliance, and Provost. She holds a B.A. and M.A. in Psychology from Bridgewater State College (now University), an Ed.D. in Adult Education from Nova Southeastern University and, in 2011, she earned a Doctorate in Law and Policy with a focus on regional accreditation and distance education from Northeastern University.

Paula A. Harbecke
Vice President of the Commission

Areas of Responsibility: 

ARFE, Financial Screen, Billing / Invoices, Policies & Procedures

Dr. Paula A. Harbecke joined the Commission staff as Vice President (previously Associate Director) in June 2010.  Earlier she served as Vice President and Director with University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) (1980-2000); Provost at the School for International Training (SIT) (2000-2005); and Vice President of Academic Affairs at Regis College (2005-2010), giving her experience with international, online, and residential programs, undergraduate and graduate education, and public and private higher education.  She served as an evaluator on seven teams for the Commission and has overseen the preparation of self-studies as well as other institutional reports including proposals and contract reviews for the government.  She earned a bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. in accounting and an M.Ed. in educational psychology all from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Laura M. Gambino
Vice President of the Commission

Areas of Responsibility: 

Interim Reports, Annual Report, Data First Forms, Distance Ed, Assessment, Substantive Change, Progress Reports, Commission Meetings

Dr. Laura M. Gambino is a Vice President for the New England Commission of Higher Education, where her work focuses on helping institutions and the Commission use data and conduct assessment for institutional learning and improvement.  Prior to joining NECHE in 2018, Gambino was Associate Dean for Assessment and Technology and Professor of Information Technology at Guttman Community College (CUNY) and a Visiting Scholar at the Community College Research Center (CCRC), Teacher’s College, Columbia University.  Laura also worked for 13 years at Connecticut’s Tunxis Community College as a Professor/ePortfolio Coordinator.  From 2011 to 2014 Dr. Gambino was the Research Coordinator for the FIPSE-funded Connect to Learning project at LaGuardia Community College (CUNY).  Gambino, a leading ePortfolio and assessment practitioner and researcher, served as a Coach for the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA).

Aaron K. Perkus
Vice President of the Commission

Areas of Responsibility: 

Evaluation Teams and Visits

Dr. Aaron K. Perkus is a Vice President for the New England Commission of Higher Education.  His primary responsibility is to recruit, train, and support evaluation visiting teams and team chairs.  Before joining NECHE in January, 2020, Dr. Perkus worked in a wide range of higher education institutions, including private (Paul Smith’s College, Paul Smiths, New York) and public (Norwalk Community College, Norwalk, Connecticut) two-year colleges, as well as private regional (Fairfield University, Fairfield, Connecticut) and national (University of Bridgeport, Bridgeport, Connecticut) universities.  He has spearheaded accreditation and assessment work at each of the four institutions he has worked in.  Before joining the Commission, his most recent experience was as Deputy Provost and Associate Professor at the University of Bridgeport, where he served from 2016-2020.  He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate from Southern Methodist University (Dallas, Texas) with a BA in English and Psychology. His MA, in English Literature, and PhD., in Comparative Literature, are from Binghamton University (SUNY: Binghamton, New York).

Michelle Cardono
Manager of Commission Relations, Office of the President

Areas of Responsibility: 

Commission Meetings, Commission Relations
Janet Merluzzi
Senior Accreditation Services Manager

Areas of Responsibility: 

Workshops, Account Management (Key Roles, Addresses, etc.)
Susan Panniello
Accreditation Services Manager

Areas of Responsibility: 

Workshops, Account Management (Key Roles, Addresses, etc.)
Brandon Mouth
IT Associate

Areas of Responsibility: 

Information Technology, NECHE Portals

Have a question or comment? Email us at info@neche.org or call 781-425-7785.