Leah K. Matthews, Executive Director (2013 - Present)
Dr. Leah Matthews began serving as the DETC Executive Director on April 1, 2013. Dr. Matthews comes to DETC from her previous position as Vice President for Recognition Services at the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), the national coordinating organization for higher education accrediting organizations. In that role, she managed the CHEA recognition process for 60 accreditors that provide regional, national and programmatic accreditation. Prior to working with CHEA, Dr. Matthews served nearly 12 years on the staff of the Accrediting Commission for Career Schools and Colleges, of which for seven years she held a senior leadership position. Prior to joining ACCSC, Dr. Matthews worked for five years as a civilian based at the U.S. Army Japan Headquarters in Zama, Japan where she directed family support services and education programs for children and youth and where she directed the Army Family Action Plan advocating for post secondary education opportunities for soldiers and families assigned to the U.S. Army Japan, Headquarters. Dr. Matthews also taught for several years in the Baltimore City Schools system. In her second year of teaching, she was selected to pioneer an innovative curriculum design for reading and math, Success for All, through a partnership with Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Matthews earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music and Education from Westminster College, New Wilmington, PA; a Master of Public Administration from the University of Oklahoma and a PhD in Education from George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia.
Sally R. Welch, Associate Director (1974 - Present)
Ms. Sally R. Welch is the Associate Director of DETC. Ms. Welch joined the DETC in 1974 as the Assistant to the Accrediting Program Coordinator. She became Director of Publications in 1976, in 1992 she was appointed Assistant Director, and in 2007 she was named Associate Director. Having worked in the field of distance education for 40 years, she has authored, coauthored, and edited numerous DETC publications. She has given presentations on distance education before legislative committees, government agencies and other organizations and associations throughout the United States, including DETC conferences, workshops and seminars. She has served on more than 240 on-site accrediting examinations in the U.S., Europe, Australia, and Japan. She received the DETC’s “Distinguished Recognition Award” in 1984 and 2004, and the “Person of the Year Award” in 2013. Ms. Welch earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Maryland and a Master of Arts from the University of Baltimore.
Nan Bayster Ridgeway, Director of Accreditation (2005 – Present)
Mrs. Nan Ridgeway joined the Distance Education and Training Council as the Director of Accreditation in August of 2005. As Director of Accreditation, Mrs. Ridgeway guides institutions through the process of initial and re-accreditation. She works to assure institutional compliance with the Commission’s published educational and ethical business standards. Mrs. Ridgeway coordinates the work of hundreds of volunteer evaluators who assist the Commission in verifying the standards. Prior to joining the DETC, Mrs. Ridgeway served as an Accreditation Associate for the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). She earned a Bachelor of Science in Family Studies from the University of Maryland, College Park and a Master of Business Administration from Strayer University.
Lissette D. Hubbard, Accreditation Associate (2007 - Present)
Ms. Hubbard joined DETC in May 2007 and is dedicated to assisting the Director of Accreditation with the day-to-day coordination of accrediting activities and the maintenance of all Commission records. Before joining DETC, Ms. Hubbard was a Field Director for Informa Research Services and a Researcher for International Quality and Productivity Center in New York City. She holds a Bachelors of Business Administration from Bernard Baruch College, CUNY, New York.
Robert Chalifoux, Director of Media and Events (2005 – Present)
Mr. Chalifoux joined DETC in September 2005 as the Information Specialist. He was promoted to Director of Media and Events in August 2006. Prior to joining DETC, Mr. Chalifoux worked as an Assistant Editor with PR Newswire in Washington, D.C. He also worked as a Dow Jones Copy Editing Intern for the Belleville News-Democrat in Belleville, IL. Mr. Chalifoux received his CMP designation in January 2012 from the Convention Industry Council’s Certified Meeting Professionals. Mr. Chalifoux holds a Bachelor of Science in Journalism and a Bachelor of Arts in French from the Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.
Brenda Amaya, Accreditation Assistant (2012 – Present)
Ms. Brenda L. Amaya joined the DETC as an Accreditation Assistant in August of 2012. As the Accreditation Assistant, Ms. Amaya works with the Director of Accreditation in guiding institutions through the process of initial and re-accreditation. Prior to joining DETC, Ms. Amaya worked with The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, where she assisted the Patient Services Department by informing and guiding patients battling cancer. She is continuing her involvement with the organization by serving on the Patient Services Committee for the National Capital Area Chapter. Ms. Amaya earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Affairs from James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia. During her time at JMU, she studied abroad in Spain and completed a semester in Washington, DC as Congressional Office Intern.
Patrice A. Wall, Information and Accounts Specialist (2012 - Present)
Ms. Patrice Wall joined DETC as the Information and Accounts Specialist in October 2012. Prior to joining DETC, Ms. Wall interned at the United States Embassy in Manila, Philippines for two consecutive summers. In her position at DETC, Ms. Wall responds to inquiries, requests, and complaints from institutions and the general public. In addition, she is also responsible for handling DETC’s bookkeeping, invoices, and payments. Ms. Wall earned a Bachelor’s of Business Administration in International Business with a minor in Business Spanish from James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia.
Elise Scanlon, Legal Counsel (2010 - Present)
Ms. Elise Scanlon is a Principal in the Elise Scanlon Law Group in Washington D.C. Before starting her own firm, Elise was counsel on the Education Team in the Government & Regulatory Affairs Practice Group of Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP. She served as Executive Director of the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC) that provided accreditation to more than 700 higher education institutions.
Ms. Scanlon interacts routinely with the U.S. Department of Education, key congressional committees, state oversight agencies and regional and national accrediting organizations. She also has experience guiding accrediting agencies through the recognition process of the U.S. Department of Education. In 2007, Ms. Scanlon was appointed by Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings to serve on a Negotiated Rulemaking panel charged with revising accreditation regulations. Since then, she has participated, with other higher education professionals, in various national conferences focused on issues including accountability and student achievement. She has written a number of articles on accountability and transparency in higher education and is a frequent speaker on these and other topics related to the changing landscape for higher education and accreditation.
Ms. Scanlon received her bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude from Dickinson College and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. She holds a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center.
Charles (Chip) Baldwin, Chief Financial Officer (2013 – present)
Mr. Baldwin brings over 35 years of senior financial and accounting experience gained from working for firms such as Ernst & Young, Zurich Financial Services, USF&G/St Paul Ins., Response Ins., and NRT/Coldwell Banker.
Mr. Baldwin earned a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from University of Maryland and Master of Science in Finance from Loyola University of Maryland. Mr. Baldwin is a non-practicing Certified Public Accountant.