Meet the leaders in education and technology committed to delivering excellent, career-focused, accessible academic programs to students here in Huntington, W.Va., and everywhere online.


​Dr. Fred Fransen,

As the founder of educational nonprofit Certell, Inc., Fred Fransen has provided curricula to over 40,000 teachers who teach more than 4 million students across the country. As President of HJC, he is dedicated to expanding access to quality education for any student who wants to find out what they’re capable of. Fred received his PhD from the University of Chicago.

Dr. Kiko Suarez,
Chief Academic Officer

Juan “Kiko” Suarez, PhD, is a globally recognized leader in the areas of workforce development and educational innovation. Born in Spain and a naturalized U.S. citizen, Kiko has international experience in leadership development and education for Fortune 50 corporations, entrepreneurial startups, and nonprofits. He received his PhD from Antioch University.

Lake Tackett,
Executive Director

As Director of HJC for over 30 years, Lake Tackett knows better than anyone the impact this institution has made in the lives of our students. She provides sound fiscal management to ensure that all students receive the best possible support, starting from their enrollment experience to career placement and beyond. Lake is a graduate of Marshall University with an MA in Education.

Dr. Kris Bertelsen,
Vice President & Program Director Addiction Recovery, PEP

Kris brings a vast range of experience to HJC. He has been an educator, therapist, program developer, trainer, and curriculum designer. He earned a PhD in Leadership Studies from the University of Central Arkansas, an MS Clinical and Mental Health Counseling from Southern Arkansas University. His passion for education led him to get an MA in Economic Education and Entrepreneurship from the University of Delaware, and a BS Social Studies Education, Economics Emphasis, from St. Cloud State University.

James Bennett,
Vice President, Instructional Design and Learner Experience

James brings 25 years of experience in higher education to HJC. He has a passion for enhancing student and faculty experiences through innovative and effective learning solutions. He has a proven track record in program development, curriculum design, and creating transformative learning environments. He has served in many leadership roles such as Dean of Online Education, Director of Immersive Technology, and Director of Instructional Design.

Lisa Roberts,
Chief Philanthropy Officer

Lisa has over 20 years of experience in philanthropy and education and a profound commitment to expanding educational access for students everywhere. She has played a key role in securing funding for educational institutions and think tanks worldwide, contributing significantly to their development and innovation. As an adjunct professor at Indian River State College, Lisa lends her expertise to the business and technology department. A Florida native, she holds a BA from the University of North Florida and an MBA from Jacksonville University.

Board of Trustees

Dennis Trinkle, PhD, Chair

Dennis is the senior vice president of talent, strategy, and partnerships with TechPoint, as well as a professor at Ball State University. He has authored 17 books and over 50 articles, focusing on entrepreneurship, technology, leadership, teaching, learning, and history. Trinkle obtained his PhD in history from the University of Cincinnati.

Sheree Speakman, Secretary

Sheree chairs the board of councilors for the University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education and holds positions on the Board of Directors for Perspectives Charter Schools and the Institute for Excellence in Education. She earned her MBA from the University of Chicago.

Jeremy Veatch, Treasurer

Jeremy serves as an advisory board member of the Televerde Foundation, is a strategic advisor for dotScribe, and is a board member of Another Round Another Rally. He completed his MBA at Arizona State University.

Kim Holder

Kim directs the Center for Economic Education and Financial Literacy at the University of West Georgia and serves as a Senior Lecturer of Economics. Her research focuses on innovative teaching approaches in economics education. She completed her PhD in Economics at Universidad Francisco Marroquin.

Johnathan Holifield

Johnathan previously served as the executive director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), delivering the largest ever federal HBCU investment of $2.5 billion. He attended West Virginia University, where he played football, and earned a law degree from the University of Cincinnati.

Adrienne Lance Lucas

Adrienne is the founder and president of Lance Lucas & Associates, a not-for-profit fundraising consulting firm. She graduated cum laude from Spelman College with a BA in economics and pursued an MBA at Harvard University. Lucas recently launched the KENO Foundation to support young entrepreneurs.

Rob Larity

Rob is the Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Cognitive Investments and a Partner and Director of Research at Off Wall Street. His multidisciplinary background includes a BA from the College of the Holy Cross with a focus on Classics, English, and Computer Science.

Andrew Morriss

Andrew is a distinguished academic with appointments in the Bush School of Government and the School of Law at Texas A&M University where he also serves as Dean and VP for Entrepreneurship & Economic Development. Morriss earned degrees from Princeton University, the University of Texas at Austin, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Texas A&M University.

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