CCRI Leadership Team
CCRI is led by a visionary team deeply committed to delivering a transformative experience for all students. The leadership team works to ensure the college’s mission and goals are achieved by championing student success, building partnerships and collaborations, and creating an equitable, inclusive, and diverse community.
When Rosemary Costigan enrolled in what was then Rhode Island Junior College, she was a recent high school graduate from Pawtucket West High School (now Shea) and a first-generation college student with a plan to enter the Nursing field. What she never envisioned then was that she would one day serve as Interim President of her alma mater – the present-day Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI) – becoming the first alumnus to do so.
Before being appointed Interim President, Dr. Costigan served nearly eight years as Vice President for Academic Affairs, responsible for assuring the college provides the quality of instruction and broad array of educational programs and support services so that first-generation students like herself can achieve their own academic success and career goals, including graduation and entry into the workforce and/or transfer to a four-year institution.
Dr. Costigan has led the college’s work to expand courses online and invest in remote, accessible support to meet the ever-expanding needs of the student body; developed collaborative, faculty-led professional development that champions high-impact, equitable teaching, and learning practices; and helped enhance shared governance at the college with the launch of the Faculty Senate. In addition, Dr. Costigan facilitated the first formal academic master plan, along with faculty and instituted data-driven process to promote quality improvement within Academic Affairs. With her background and experience rooted in healthcare, Dr. Costigan was central to CCRI’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic by pivoting the college’s instruction to remote teaching and learning within a span of just two weeks to keep the college community safe.
After graduating with an Associate Degree in Nursing, Dr. Costigan continued her education while enjoying a successful nursing career at the former Memorial Hospital in Pawtucket. Upon graduating from RIJC, Dr. Costigan transferred to Rhode Island College where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in nursing and then onto the University of Rhode Island where she completed her Master of Science Degree (Nursing) and Doctor of Philosophy (Nursing). Dr. Costigan returned to the academic hallways at CCRI and URI to teach Nursing and has served in multiple academic leadership positions at CCRI, including Chair of the Department of Nursing and Assistant Dean of Nursing.
Dr. Costigan serves on the Board of Trustees for Davies Career & Technical High School and has served as a peer-evaluator for both NECHE and ACEN. Among her many accomplishments and honors, Dr. Costigan was inducted into the CCRI Society of Knights in 2016 and is a past recipient of the Rosemary Wood Nursing Leadership Award, and the Academic Excellence Award by the Hospital Association of Rhode Island. Contact Interim President Costigan.
Dr. Allyson Handley serves as the chief academic officer of CCRI, responsible for educational policy and academic programs. As Interim VPAA, she works closely with academic deans, administrators and members of the faculty to lead the long-term planning of educational programs, assuring quality of instruction, selection and development of a distinguished faculty, while furthering the institution's strategic plan, goals and mission of the college.
From 2008–2014, Dr. Handley served as President of the University of Maine, Augusta (UMA). Prior to that, she served as President of Midway College (now Midway University, Kentucky) and Cogswell College in Silicon Valley, California.
Dr. Handley served as Interim Dean of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences (AHSS) at the CCRI from July 2020 to June 2021 and has continued to serve as a special advisor for AHSS, contributing her expertise in the application and management of education grants for the college.
Passionate about the transformative power of education, Dr. Handley has helped to create greater higher education access and foster success for first-generation, Pell-eligible, minoritized, and differently-abled students throughout her illustrious career. Contact Interim VPAA Handley.
As Vice President for Student Affairs and Chief Outcomes Officer, LaPointe is focused on maximizing impact and driving student success initiatives that move the needle on CCRI’s mission. LaPointe began at CCRI in 2017 and has guided the redesign of data systems, implemented student success technologies, and put into practice data-driven enrollment management programs that have boosted student success. Prior to joining the CCRI team, LaPointe served as the Senior Strategy Advisor to the President and Executive Director of Institutional Research and Planning at the University of Maine at Augusta. As a member of the University’s executive leadership team, LaPointe spearheaded organizational effectiveness and the analytical and technology components of the student success strategy. LaPointe has held similar technical and advisory roles at Cambridge College and National University. Contact Greg LaPointe.
Rich Sullivan serves as the college’s Vice President for Administration and Finance. In this position, he serves as Chief Financial Officer and leads the business and administrative functions of the college, including the Controller’s Office, Human Resources, the Business Office, the Budget Office, Payroll, Purchasing, Physical Plant, and Campus Police. Rich is a proven higher education leader who brings to this position a commitment to transparency and financial integrity that aligns with our strategic plan and mission.
Most recently, Rich served as CFO and Treasurer for Vinfen Corporation, a not-for-profit, community-based health and human services organization, where he oversaw all financial, debt management, IT, and facilities functions. Prior to that, Rich served 14 years as CFO at Curry College, where he was responsible for the oversight of all financial, student financial services, and facilities functions and served as part of the Strategic Enrollment Management and NECHE Accreditation teams. During his tenure at Curry College, he co-managed major capital improvement projects, including the construction of a new student center, three residential halls, and an academic building; managed multiple debt transactions, including five bond issuances; and oversaw the college’s endowment investment strategy. Contact Rich Sullivan.
As Vice President for the Division of Workforce Partnerships, Jennie Johnson will lead workforce development efforts at the college, including developing customized trainings in business and industry, workforce development programs, small business and entrepreneurial programs, adult education, transportation programs, and career services.
For the past 16 years, she has served as Executive Director and Senior Vice President for City Year Providence, where she has been responsible for managing the site’s budget and leading the strategy and execution of the organization’s governmental and external relations, development and fundraising, communications, service and impact, recruitment, training, and evaluation components. Johnson is a proud CCRI and Rhode Island College alumna who earned her bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Psychology. She is also a graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School Senior Executives in State and Local Government Program and the American Express Nonprofit Leadership Academy. Contact Jennie Johnson.
In this role, Alix oversees human resources, labor relations, talent acquisition, Title IX and compliance, organizational development, and equity, all integral components of any educational institution.
Alix has worked at CCRI since 2015, first as Chief of Staff, then as Associate Vice President in where she assumed responsibility for four departments – including Human Resources, Physical Plant, Marketing and Communications, and Campus Police – in addition to retaining many of the other responsibilities she had as Chief of Staff. She was then appointed Vice President of Administration and External Relations in August 2021 and a Special Advisor to the President’s Office in June 2022. Contact Alix Ogden.
Amy plays a pivotal role in advancing student success by working collaboratively and creatively with the entire college community to help advance the division’s strategic objectives to meet institutional goals and foster student retention and academic success. Amy leads personnel across the Division including the Dean of Students, Dean of Student Engagement, Dean of Student Development and Assessment, Dean of Enrollment Management, Dean of Opportunity and Outreach (TRIO), and the Manager of Impact Initiatives.Contact Amy Kacerik.
Dr. Bobby Gondola, Associate Vice President for Institutional Advancement and College Relations; Flanagan Campus Leader
Leading the Community College of Rhode Island Foundation, Alumni Affairs and community relations, Bobby advances the Foundation's mission to support CCRI, its students and alumni. He also serves as the Flanagan Campus Leader and the executive leader for the College’s strategic plan. Through collaboration with the philanthropic community, Bobby helps strategically grow both endowment and annual giving. Bobby brings higher education, workforce, and philanthropy executive leadership experience from organizations in Rhode Island, Philadelphia, Harlem and South Africa. He joined CCRI from Hasbro Inc., where he was director of the company's global philanthropy and social impact department. Bobby has a Bachelor of Arts from Salve Regina University, a Master in Public Policy from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, and a Doctorate from the University of Rhode Island. Contact Bobby Gondola.
Ron Cavallaro serves as general counsel to CCRI. Since 2006, he has also served as general counsel to the Rhode Island Council on Postsecondary Education. Prior to that time, he was legal counsel for the Department of Labor and Training and worked there in part-time and full-time capacities for just over 20 years. From 1995 to 2009, Cavallaro also was a member of the adjunct faculty at the Southern New England School of Law, now the University of Massachusetts School of Law. Contact Ron Cavallaro.
Madeline Burke serves as Director of Academic Success and Community Partnerships. As the college’s liaison with the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) and other community-based partners, Burke oversees student academic success and early college initiatives. She recently developed a new dual enrollment program for Providence high school seniors with a focus on equitable outcomes by providing a pathway to post-secondary success for students who would not normally be eligible for early college opportunities. Burke also serves on CCRI’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council, working to build a more diverse and inclusive CCRI. This group meets regularly to develop ways that CCRI employees can be more culturally competent and educated in DEI issues and creative solutions to help us all better serve our communities. Prior to joining CCRI, Burke she spent more than 10 years at Year Up, most recently as Director of Program, where she oversaw multiple teams focused on academics, internship services, and employment placement. Contact Madeline Burke.
As Chief of Staff, Amy is responsible for overseeing the President’s Office and External Relations. Amy joined CCRI in 2019 as Director of Marketing and Communications, making an immediate impact in supporting robust enrollment and improving internal communications to build community, especially during the pandemic. She was later named Executive Director of Marketing, Communications, and External Relations, taking on a larger role in government relations and serving as the Newport Campus Leader. Contact Amy Kempe.
In this newly-created position reporting to the Vice President, Sybil will take a more direct role in leading the college’s labor and employee relations, including union matters, compliance, and disciplinary actions, as well as providing guidance and training to management at all levels on contractual obligations.
Sybil has worked at CCRI since 2019, when she came to the college as Director of Human Resources and Institutional Equity after more than 20 years in a similar role at the City of Providence. Contact Sybil Bailey.
As the Director of DEI and Organizational Development, Ray will work collaboratively with internal and external audiences to develop an open, diverse, inclusive, and supportive learning and working environment with a specific focus on underrepresented and marginalized populations. Prior to CCRI, Ray spent eight years as the Senior Human Resources Business Partner for CVS MinuteClinic, where she led the company’s diversity efforts, including creating its first Diversity Leadership Team at MinuteClinic, and managed the company’s review process by identifying and preparing top performing and high potential leaders for strategic development and professional growth. A highly-effective DEI and HR leader, Ray boasts a BBA in Business Law and an MBA in Human Resources in addition to nearly two decades of experience in the workforce. Contact Andrea Ray.
As assistant to Interim President Costigan, Deb Zielinski is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the President’s Office at the multi-campus community college. Beyond her administrative role, she serves as the president’s liaison to the college community, plans major college events, serves on various college committees, and is a resource for faculty, staff, students and the general public. Contact Deb Zielinski.