Faculty & Staff

ELA Faculty

Dr. Deb Johnson
deb johnson

Dr. Deb Johnson is a native Midwesterner who has been active in public and private higher education for more than 35 years. She has held leadership positions in financial aid associations at the state, regional, and national levels as well as having served on the boards of many higher education associations. Her higher education experience includes residence life, financial aid, judicial affairs, academic advising, registration, student services, customer service, and faculty-student engagement.  In these areas she has also gained experience with web site creation, program development, project management, organizational restructuring, and process improvement.  During the past year, Dr. Johnson became a Peer Reviewer for the Higher Learning Commission.


Dr. Lee Johnson
lee johnson

Jim’s professional career began in 1974 teaching primarily 4th grade students at Ridgeview Elementary School in the Oklahoma City Pubic School District where he remained until 1985. In 1985, Jim was encouraged by Father Jack Petuskey of St. Francis of Assisi Parish to pursue the vacant principal position at Rosary School. He served the St. Francis/Rosary Community as principal between 1985 and 1992. In 1992, Jim began his career in higher education, accepting a faculty appointment as an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Leadership at the University of Wyoming. In 1997, Jim accepted a position as a faculty member and program coordinator for a statewide cooperative doctoral program in educational leadership at Central Missouri State University where he served in various capacities, including department chair, until 2005. In 2005, he returned to his home state of Oklahoma accepting the position of dean of the College of Education and Professional Studies at the University of Central Oklahoma, where he continues to serve in that capacity.


Dr. Jana Legako
Jana Legako

As a licensed attorney and human resources professional, Dr. Jana Legako holds a unique perspective on how to effectively coach leaders in using "best practices" to manage their workforce while complying with federal and state laws. Her career spans more than 25 years and has given her the opportunity to work in the three branches of Oklahoma education: common education, careertech and higher education. She thoroughly understands the challenges and opportunities facing leaders as they manage an ever changing workforce. Dr. Legako delivers practical advice for quickly addressing performance and conduct issues, documenting efforts, and mitigating chances for legal litigation. She is currently director of Employment and Employee Relations at Oklahoma City Community College. Dr. Legako received her Juris Doctor degree from Oklahoma City University, where she was recognized as top student for Employment Law and Evidence. Also, she is certified as a Title IX coordinator/investigator by the National Association of Colleges and Universities. Because of her contribution to the CareerTech system, Dr. Legako was awarded the 2007 Arch Alexander Award, one of Oklahoma's most prestigious CareerTech awards. Dr. Legako has a Master of Education from the University of Central Oklahoma and a Bachelor of Science from Oklahoma State University.


Dr. Scott Newman
Scott Newman

During his postsecondary career, Newman has held faculty, mid- and senior-level leadership positions. From 2001 to 2013 he served as founding Dean of the School of Information Technologis at the Oklahoma State University (OSU) Institute of Technology. He currently serves as the University’s Vice President of Academic Affairs. Newman holds master’s degrees and a doctorate from The University of Oklahoma, the University of Oxford and OSU, respectively. He is a Peer Reviewer for The Higher Learning Commission, and a former Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education Fellow and American Council on Education Fellow. Newman has been honored for his contributions to and through higher education—including identification as one of the nation’s top technology leaders by Computerworld, and selection to receive the American Association of University Administrators' McInnis/Ryan Award for Mid-Career Higher Education Leadership. Newman’s diverse scholarly interests include postsecondary innovation and leadership. Recent publications include articles in Inside Higher Ed and The Chronicle of Higher Education, and a higher education leadership textbook.


Dr. Lynn Priddy
Dr. James Machell

Lynn Priddy, Ph.D., is Provost and Chief Academic Officer of National American University, assuming that role in 2013 after fourteen years with the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, the nation’s largest regional accreditor. While at the Commission, she served as Vice President for Accreditation Services with responsibilities for accreditation processes, including institutional change and decision processes, peer review, education and training, and improvement demonstration projects, including the Lumina grant to explore competency-based education and the Degree Qualifications Profile. As the constant voice for innovation in student learning, engagement, and assessment, Dr. Priddy was the creator and founding director of the Academies for Assessment of Student Learning and Student Persistence and Completion. At National American University, Dr. Priddy oversees all aspects of the educational enterprise, including associate, baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral degrees. Her focus has been on transformation of entry processes and remedial education to serve working adults, as well as integration of general education and proficiency-based education. She previously served as vice president, director of assessment, and English faculty at Nicolet Area Technical College. She consults nationally and internationally on institutional quality, assessment of student learning, excellence in curricula and pedagogy, and organizational innovation and change.  Dr. Priddy is a summa cum laude graduate of the State University of New York at Geneseo with a B.A. in English, a summa cum laude graduate of the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with an M.A. in English; and a summa cum laude graduate of Capella University with a Ph.D. in Higher Education.


Dr. Shanna Teel
Shanna Teel

Shanna R. Teel is the Founder and CEO of Dr. Shanna Teel & Company, Inc., a performance consulting and coaching firm. In Dr. Teel's career, she has been a partner and executive for two organizational and leadership development consulting firms. She holds a dual Ph.D. in organizational psychology and clinical psychology, coupled with more than 12 years as a consultant, executive coach, and facilitator of adult learning.

She specializes in the areas of executive and leadership development, executive and management coaching, career development, strategic planning, conflict management, diversity training, team building, group dynamics, communication skill development, negotiation, mediation, and business development.

She has provided organization development consulting, team development, and individual coaching for executives and managers in the following organizations: Citigroup; Kodak; Nokia; Fugihunt, USA; Deloitte & Touche; TA Instruments; Eiasi Pharmaceuticals; McDonald's; St. Luke's Health Network; Interwoven; ARM; Victoria's Secret; Barclays Global Investors; Devon Energy; Vitas Hospice; The Braille Institute; University of Oklahoma; Oklahoma Heart Hospital; University of California San Diego Hospital.


Dr. Christy Vincent
Christy Vincent

Dr. Christy Vincent is a Professor in the Mass Communication Department at the University of Central Oklahoma where she teaches organizational and corporate communication courses. Her research interests include conflict management, mediation, change management, executive coaching, and training and development. Her interest in conflict management led her to the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at the Pepperdine University School of Law where she earned a Certificate in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). Dr. Vincent’s doctoral research focused on public school teachers experiences of conflict. Her dissertation received the University of Oklahoma Dissertation Prize in the Social Sciences and Humanities. More recently, she received the Vanderford Engagement Award and the Neely Award for Teaching Excellence at UCO.

In addition to her university position, Christy works as a consultant to help groups and organizations with strategic planning, conflict management, communication needs assessment, problem-solving and leadership development. She regularly conducts training courses for Chesapeake, Diagnostic Labs of Oklahoma, and other corporations. In addition to her college teaching, she has taught continuing education courses for public school teachers in Oklahoma through the Great Expectations Institute. Dr. Vincent’s professional experience is in management, sales and product development in private industry.

She holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree (Ph.D.) from the University of Oklahoma, a Master of Arts degree (M.A.) from the University of Houston, both in communication, and a Bachelor of Science degree (B.S.) in mass communication from Oklahoma Christian University.

Contact at cvincent2@uco.edu


Dr. David Wendler

Dr. Wendler previously served as MLC’s Vice President for Academics. In this capacity, he supervised all full-time and adjunct members of the MLC faculty. He retired from this position at the end of the 2013-14 school year. Prior to this service, Dr. Wendler served as Professor of Education at D/MLC. His first teaching experience was as principal and teacher at Riverview, Appleton, WI. During this time he also served the WELS as a school visitor/evaluator.

Dr. Wendler has been a member of the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools since 1998. He has worked as a consultant-evaluator for the Commission, and as a member of the Commission’s Accreditation Review Council.

PhD University of Minnesota, Twin Cities: Educational Psychology
MS University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh: Curriculum & Supervision
BS Dr. Martin Luther College, New Ulm MN: Education


Dr. Michael W. Westerfield

Dr. Michael Westerfield has served in higher education for over forty years.  Earning his Bachelor of Arts in English at Harding University, he went on to earn the Master of Arts in English from Pittsburg State University and the Ph.D. in English from the University of Nebraska.  Dr. Westerfield taught English for a number of years before moving into academic administration in higher education.  His passion for institutional quality and improvement led him to begin working with accreditation in the early 90's.  Since that time, he has chaired over fifty accreditation teams for the Higher Learning Commission.  In addition, he has served on a number of committees and advisory teams for the Commission, helping to develop the Criteria for Accreditation, processes used in Peer Review, and the successful Assessment Academy.  His latest interest is teaching the online training courses for Peer Reviewers for the Commission.

Dr. Westerfield's understanding of accreditation and the ever growing role of compliance in higher education will help participants as they find more of their own time spent on these issues and institutional improvement.  Leaders in higher education find themselves pulled a number of directions in higher education.  A valuable leader is one that understands these expectations and one that can lead the institution through the complexities of the sometimes confusing world of accreditation and compliance.


ELA Staff

Cary Williams

Educator's Leadership Academy Director

Cary Williams

Contact Us
Educators’ Leadership Academy
University of Central Oklahoma

100 North University Drive

Campus Box 212
Edmond, OK 73034

Ph: 405.974.5561
Fax: 405.974.3922
Email Us: www.uco.edu/ela