Meet our Team

ETH Photo - B&WlinkedinEllen T. Heffernan
President

Ellen Heffernan graduated from Smith College with a BA in economics and government. She joined Spelman Johnson in 1996, after a ten-year career in higher education that included positions at Smith College and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is also a national speaker and writer on topics related to recruiting and professional development in higher education and serves as faculty for several national higher education association professional development programs. Ellen also currently serves on the executive board of the National Association of Executive Recruiters.

MAH B&W 1linkedin Mark A. Hall
Vice President

Mark Hall earned his BA from Wake Forest University, his MEd from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and his MBA from the University of Central Florida. Most recently, Mark served as president of Campus Entertainment, LLC, a subsidiary company of the National Association for Campus Activities (NACA). During a career that spans over 20 years in higher education, Mark has served as assistant executive director at NACA, vice president for finance and administration at Columbia College, and director of the university centers at both Wake Forest University and the University of Central Florida. He served two terms as vice-chair of the NACA board of directors and was president of the Southern Region of the National Association of College Auxiliary Services.

VBS B&W 1linkedinValerie B. Szymkowicz
Vice President

Valerie Szymkowicz received her BA in natural science/environmental studies from New England College and her MEd in student personnel from the Graduate School of Education at the University of Vermont. For over 20 years, she worked in higher education at both public and private research, baccalaureate, and liberal arts institutions, principally in the areas of academic advising, experiential education, and career services. With a strong belief in cultivating leadership potential among talented rising stars, Valerie has been a guest presenter at the NASPA Region I Mid-Managers Institute facilitating discussion on professional development priorities and she regularly presents on topics related to building capacity and leadership potential for other professional organizations including the National Association of Colleges and Employers and the Eastern Association of Colleges and Employers.

KED B&W 1linkedinKendra E. Dane
Search Associate

Kendra Dane earned her BA from Mundelein College (now part of Loyola University) and her MS from National Louis University. During a career in higher education that spans over 30 years, Kendra has most recently served as assistant dean and director of admissions at William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota. Prior to moving to St. Paul, she served as executive director of admissions and marketing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), as well as the executive director of enrollment services at SAIC. Kendra began her career in higher education at National Louis University in Evanston, Illinois, where she served as an associate vice president for financial aid for many years. Kendra has been active in the Illinois Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (ILASFAA), held leadership positions in Midwest Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (MASFAA), and served in a volunteer capacity as a financial aid trainer with the U.S. Department of Education.

linkedin Heather J. Larabee
Search Associate

Heather Larabee earned her BS in marketing from the University of West Florida, her MEd from the University of Florida and her doctor of education in educational leadership from the University of Southern California. Heather has most recently served as assistant dean of students and director of campus activities in the division of student affairs at the University of Southern California. Prior to this, she served as the assistant director for cultural arts and activities. Heather came to the University of Southern California from Francis Marion University where she served as the director of student life in the division of student affairs. She also held the position of program coordinator in the division of student affairs at the University of Tennessee. Heather has published several articles and has been a presenter at the National Association for Campus Activities, the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, and the Association of College Unions International national conferences.

JMN Officie (black and white)linkedin James M. Norfleet
Search Associate

Jim Norfleet earned his BBA degree in business and marketing from Pace University and completed all coursework for an EdD in educational leadership at the University of California, Los Angeles. He joined Spelman Johnson after three decades in higher education, most recently as vice president for student affairs at The College of New Jersey. Previously, Jim served in several capacities at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, including associate vice president for student services and executive director of educational equity services. Earlier in his career, he worked in academic affairs at Nyack College where he directed the Higher Education Opportunity Program and served as associate dean of the college and director of the Office of Academic Development. Jim has served as an independent consultant to mission-driven organizations and leaders across the career spectrum. Active in professional and civic organizations, he speaks on higher education and social justice issues and has received numerous awards for his leadership, advocacy, and community service.

linkedinDell Robinson
Search Associate – Athletic Practice

Dell Robinson earned his BS in Physical Education from Ohio University and his MS in Sports Administration from Iowa State University. Prior to joining Spelman Johnson, Dell most recently served as Commissioner of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. During a span of 25 years Dell has served as the Associate Commissioner of Legislation and Governance at the Mid-American Conference, Assistant Commissioner for Compliance at the Western Athletic Conference, and Director of Compliance and Enforcement at the Southwestern Athletic Conference. Dell served as the Vice Chair of the Division II Collegiate Commissioner Association. Dell has also served as the Chair of the NCAA Division II Football Committee. Dell is a member of the Ohio University College of Business Executive Advisory Board, as well as a member of the John McLendon Minority Scholarship Foundation Board. He served two terms as Chair of the Ohio University National Alumni Association and was honored with the Ohio University Distinguished Service Award.

 linkedinJ. Scott Derrick
Search Associate

J. Scott Derrick earned his BA in Mathematics from Furman University (Greenville, SC) and his MEd in Student Personnel Services from the University of South Carolina. In a higher education career spanning 30 years, Mr. Derrick has worked at both public and private institutions, most recently as Executive Director of the Student Union & Cone University Center at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Previously, he served as the Director of the Trone Student Center at Furman University, the Director of Student Life at the College of Charleston, and Assistant Director of Student Activities at the University of Richmond. For many years, Mr. Derrick was an active member of the Association of College Unions International (ACUI), as well as the National Association for Campus Activities (NACA), serving in a number of leadership roles, presenting educational content, and leading interactive workshops.  He recently served as President of ACUI, following a two-year term on the Board of Trustees, and conducted a number of Student Union consultations for the association.

linkedinQuincy Martin III
Search Associate

Quincy Martin earned his BM and his MEd in Counseling and Development from Lamar University, and his Doctor of Education in Adult and Higher Education from Northern Illinois University. Spanning nearly 20 years, Dr. Martin has served in various capacities in higher education administration at both the community college and university levels leading multiple units, programs, and functions in student affairs. Prior to joining Spelman Johnson, he served as the Associate Vice President of Student Affairs at Triton College. Dr. Martin has been an active contributor, national award winner, presenter, and leader with the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) serving on the Board of Directors, reviewer for the Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice, faculty member for the Mid-Level Administrators Conference, and recipient of the Outstanding Community College Professional Award. Dr. Martin is currently a faculty member at Governors State University.

Anne-Marie KenneylinkedinAnne-Marie Kenney
Senior Coordinator of Search Services

Ms. Kenney earned her BA in History and Politics from Assumption College and her MEd in Higher Education Administration from Suffolk University.  She most recently served as the Dean of Student Success at Newbury College in Brookline, MA. With a career in student affairs spanning 20 years, she has also served as the Assistant Dean of Students at Lesley University and the Director of Student Activities and Orientation at Lasell College. Ms. Kenney served as the Massachusetts NASPA senior student affairs liaison, member of the NASPA AVP steering committee, and completed leadership terms for NODA – the Association for Orientation, Transition, and Retention in Higher Education as Executive Secretary-Treasurer, member of the board of directors, and annual conference host.

Michel FrendianlinkedinMichel Frendian
Search Associate

Mr. Frendian received his BS from the University of South Carolina and his EdM from Oregon State University. He comes to Spelman Johnson after serving as dean of enrollment management at Erikson Institute in Chicago, preceded by two years in the director position. Michel has accumulated over 30 years of experience in higher education leadership, including roles as vice president for enrollment management and student affairs at San Francisco Art Institute, director of international affairs at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and residential life positions at DePaul University, Elmhurst College, and Occidental College. Michel served on the National Deans and Directors of Social Work Admissions board of directors. He served as president of the Great Lakes Association of College and University Housing Officers (GLACUHO), vice president of the Western Association of College and University Housing Officers (WACUHO), and he held committee leadership roles with American College Personnel Association (ACPA) and Association of College and University Housing Officers – International (ACUHO-I). He has been an active member and presenter on graduate enrollment management and digital marketing trends at the annual meetings of the National Association of Graduate Admission Professionals (NAGAP).

linkedinLaura Puckett-Boler
Search Associate

Ms. Puckett-Boler earned her undergraduate degree at Berry College in Georgia, and completed her MEd and PhD coursework at the University of South Carolina. Prior to joining Spelman Johnson, Laura most recently served as vice chancellor for student affairs and dean of students at the University of South Carolina Upstate. She served in numerous roles over her 28 years with USC Upstate, including director of student activities, director of student life, dean of students and assistant vice chancellor for student affairs. Laura began her higher education career, spanning over 30 years, as student activities program coordinator at Texas Christian University, followed by an assignment as assistant director of university activities at Fairfield University in Connecticut. She is an active member of the National Association for Campus Activities (NACA), National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA), ACPA, and the Association for Student Conduct Administration (ASCA).