Join us for the 2021


Lakin Experience

October 21st, October 22nd, and November 5th

10 AM - 1 PM (CST)

The Institute will be hosting three half-day workshops designed to prepare senior-level executives for positions as community college chief executive officers and has graduated the highest number of African Americans who have gone on to CEO positions over any other leadership institute in the United States. Over 25% of current African-American community college presidents are alumni of the Lakin Institute.

Once ‘the’ registration form has been completed and payment submitted, you will receive the Zoom meeting link.

For more information on our workshops, see below…

October 21, 2021 Workshop:

The first workshop will include the following subjects:




Speakers include the following:

Dr. Merrill Irving

Dr. Merrill Irving, Jr. is a visionary leader with an accomplished record of serving diverse learning communities championing underserved and nontraditional students. As the fourth president of Hennepin Technical College, Dr. Irving oversees the college’s mission of providing excellence in career and technical education for employment and advancement.

Regularly presenting at local and national events on such topics as social and racial justice in higher education; strategic planning; accreditation; higher education leadership and access. Dr. Irving shows he is committed and focused on systematic and transformational changes, equity and inclusion, culture, and management that fosters belonging and advancement of diverse populations.
Dr. Irving is engaged in local, state, and national communities of interest and is committed to roles that include serving as a member of the President’s Round Table (PRT, an affiliate of the National Council of Black American Affairs (NCBAA), and LGBTQ Presidents and Chancellors in Higher Education. He is a former chair of the Commission on Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity.

Dr. Irving earned a Bachelor of Arts and Masters of Public Administration from West Virginia University. He also holds a Doctorate of Education in Psychology from the University of Southern California.

Dr. Ty Stone

Dr. Ty Stone has a true passion and love for higher education that she first identified in her work as a professor more than a decade ago. Ignited by a personal drive to create viable, sustainable learning environments for everyone, she continues to make an impact in higher education—more recently through her role as the sixth President for Jefferson Community College in Watertown, New York, a position she has held since 2017.

Throughout her career, Dr. Stone has recognized that partnerships and alliances are the cornerstones of a viable community. She continues to hold extensive ties with local, community, and political leaders through volunteer work and board participation. Her current community participation includes serving on the board for the Fort Drum Regional Liaison Organization (FDRLO), and on the Workforce Investment Board, an appointed position through the Jefferson County legislators. She was also appointed the Governor of the State of New York to serve as co-chair for the North Country Regional Economic Development Council (NCREDC) and has been elected to serve as the Chair for the President’s Academy Executive Committee for the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). Dr. Stone was named to the 2021 Higher Education Power 100 list with City and State Magazine.

Her academic credentials include a Ph.D. in Organization and Management, an MBA, and a BS in Business Administration. She is also a proud veteran of the United States Air Force, where she served as an Air Traffic Controller in the UK.

Dr. Jesse M. Thompson

Jesse M. Thompson possesses an unusual breadth of experience in higher education, encompassing a combination of more than 40 years in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Michigan of senior-level administration, community college trustee service, and college teaching experience. He has led or participated as a team member on, a wide range of presidential and senior administrative higher education search assignments in his time at RH Perry and Associates.

Mr. Thompson has served as Executive Vice President and CFO of Boston’s Bunker Hill Community College, Board Treasurer and Chair of both the Personnel and Finance Committees for Mott Community College Board of Trustees, served as CEO of a large non-profit community service organization, and later served as Chief Human Relations and Labor Relations Office for the City of Flint, Michigan.

In his tenure, Jesse has chaired numerous successful national searches for senior administrative positions, taught college management courses, such as human resources and labor relations, supervised several divisions including marketing, communications, information technology, human resources, and labor relations. Jesse brings a unique perspective and skill set to the critical task of recruiting candidates, evaluating their qualifications, and assessing their accomplishments to ensure successful search outcomes.

He holds a master’s degree in education from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and a master’s degree in human resources and labor relations administration from Central Michigan University.

October 22, 2021 Workshop:

The second workshop will include the following subjects:





Dr. Kimberly Beatty

Dr. Kimberly Beatty began her tenure as Metropolitan Community College’s eighth chancellor on July 1, 2017. As the first African-American leader in the 103-year history of Metropolitan Community College, and the only African-American CEO in the Missouri community college system, “I live and walk in the truth of who I am each day,” Dr. Beatty says. A champion of access and equity, she is devoted to the community college mission of providing access to higher education for all. “I am passionate about the community I serve and excited about the ability to provide higher education access to the underprivileged and underrepresented,” Dr. Beatty says. “It’s easy for me to champion these students because, having been raised in poverty by a single mother, I was once in their shoes. This is my story and this is the challenge I have overcome.”

At Metropolitan Community College, Dr. Beatty finalized and restructured the college’s five-year strategic plan; authored a new vision statement for the college and a new shared governance model; is leading the college community through an organizational realignment; and is fostering a culture of innovation, including the creation of the MCC Innovation Council. She is committed to workforce education, including establishing new partnerships with Kansas City area businesses. She is a member of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and its Executive Women’s Leadership Council; the Kansas City Area Development Council; the Full Employment Council Board; and the Rotary Club of Kansas City.

A three-time graduate of Morgan State University in Baltimore, Dr. Beatty received a B.A. in English, an M.A. in English, and an Ed.D. in higher education, with a specialization in community college leadership. She brought to MCC 28 years of teaching and administrative experience in higher education, including 21 years of progressive leadership experience at community colleges in California, Virginia, and Texas. She has also served as a tenured associate professor in English.

Narcisa A. Polonio

Narcisa A. Polonio is recognized as one of the leading authorities on community college governance, executive searches, and presidential leadership. She has facilitated over 400 board retreats and hundreds of executive searches including presidential searches. Joining Greenwood/Asher & Associates as executive team leader for community college practice, Dr. Polonio provides leadership and guidance in the community college sector, universities with two-year campuses, technical colleges, urban colleges and universities, and Hispanic Service Institutions. She was one of the few Latina women to become a college president both in the public and independent sector.

For approximately 18 years, Dr. Polonio served as the executive vice president for education, research & board leadership services at the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT). For many years she provided leadership for the ACCT’s annual leadership Congress, publications, research projects, and leadership services including Retreat Service; Interim President Service; the Governance Leadership Institute; and the Governance Institute for Student Success. Prior to her role with ACCT, she served as the chief operating officer for Replication and Program Strategies, Inc. (RPS) in Philadelphia, PA, and president of Harcum College (PA) and Hudson County Community College (NJ). Other previous positions include director of the Office of Community Colleges, New Jersey Department of Higher Education. She served for seven years as a faculty member for the Institute for Educational Management, Graduate School of Education, Harvard University. Dr. Polonio has an extensive list of publications and speaks throughout the country on issues related to governance, leadership, women in higher education, and diversity.

She attended Foothill Community College, CA, and holds a B.A. in history from San Jose State University (CA), an M.A. from Stanford University (CA), and an Ed.D. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

November 5, 2021 Workshop:

The third workshop will include the following subjects:




Dr. Adrien L. Bennings

Dr. Adrien L. Bennings is President of Kellogg Community College. She earned a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from Texas Tech University, a Master of Business Administration from Wayland Baptist University, and a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Development from Texas A&M University. Dr. Bennings is a former professional track and field athlete and serves as a certified peer reviewer for the Higher Learning Commission. Prior to becoming President at KCC, Dr. Bennings was Vice President for Finance and Administration at Clovis Community College in Clovis, New Mexico.

Over the years, she also has served as a mentor and board member with several organizations. Dr. Bennings currently lives in Battle Creek with her husband, Jonathan. They have two adult children.

Dr. L. Marshall Washington

Dr. L. Marshall Washington is a passionate advocate for maintaining the community college open-door access mission, improving student learning and success outcomes, and creating opportunities for learning. Dr. L. Marshall Washington began his tenure as the third president of Kalamazoo Valley Community College on July 2, 2018. He presides over a public institution with four campuses, which include student-run restaurants, state-of-the-art training facilities for health care careers and professional trades, and the Kalamazoo Valley Museum. He brings experience and passion for serving students, faculty, staff, and the community to his role.

Washington previously served as President at New River Community and Technical College in West Virginia, Vice President and CEO at the Lancaster Campus of Harrisburg Area Community College (HACC) in Pennsylvania, and Vice President of Student Services at Kellogg Community College in Michigan.

Washington received his doctorate in educational studies/specialization in educational leadership and higher education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska; a master’s degree in education from Winona State University, Winona, Minnesota; and a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Ohio Wesleyan University, Delaware, Ohio. Washington currently services on the Board of Directors for the Fontana Chamber Arts, Kalamazoo Institute of the Arts, and Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership. Washington and his wife of twenty-seven years Tonja have three children.