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Administrative Profiles


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Dr. Marie-Elaine Burns


Dr. Marie-Elaine Burns, an educational leader who is visionary, energetic, and passionate, was named President of Merritt College, effective July 1, 2017, after serving as interim president for the previous year. She came to Merritt from San Jose City College where she was the Vice President for Special Services. While adaptable to change, Dr. Burns is a risk taker/entrepreneur; not afraid to explore an idea different from her own or to encourage others to try their ideas. She encourages and supports innovation and creativity. Dr. Burns’ leadership style is characterized by respect, inclusiveness, transparency, collaboration, effective listening skills, and participatory governance. She is committed to equity and student success. Click here for full bio


Dr. Jeffrey Lamb

Vice President of Instruction

Dr. Jeffrey Lamb was appointed as Vice President of Instruction at Merritt College, effective May 2, 2016. Prior to that, he was the Dean of the School of English and Foreign Languages at City College of San Francisco and because of this is familiar with building consensus and keeping the diverse needs of students at the core of decision-making in a large, complex, urban college.

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Christine Hernandez

Vice President of Student Services

Christine Hernandez began serving as Vice President of Student Services at Merritt College on January 3, 2018. The breadth and scope of her more than 15 years experience in the area of student services reflects a focus on collaborative partnershps, educational leadership, federal grant management, state and local compliance, budgeting, staffing, development and implementation of administrative policy, and use of technology to streamline business processes to enhance services to students. Most recently she served as Dean of Financial Aid and Student Services at Sacramento Ctiy College. Click here for full bio.

Dr. Rick Ramos

Dean of Allied Health and Public Safety (Division III)

Dr. Rick Ramos is the son of a Mexican immigrant and the first in his family to attend college. He was raised in Richmond, California. His first experience at a community college was in his senior year in high school when he cut class to see Santana perform at Contra Costa College. While at this concert a counselor gave him a flyer and encouraged him to enroll in classes. He enrolled the next semester. Rick states that his college experience was difficult because he did not have the social capital to support college experience. He was fortunate to find a faculty member that mentored him. The kindness and support shown to him helped him complete an AS Degree and land a job with the Berkeley Police department. During his tenure at BPD he became the first Chicano police manager in the history of the department and worked closely with the African American and Latino communities to improve police Services. Rick took a job teaching part-time at Merritt College in 1983 and used the position to mentor his students who were also first generation college students. (Click here for full bio)



Jason Holloway, M.S.

Interim Dean of Mathematics, Science, and Applied Technology (Division II)

Jason Holloway was named interim Dean of Mathematics, Science, and Applied Technology at Merritt College in July 2017. He previously served as the co-chair of Math and Physical Sciences. Jason’s goal is to increase the number of minorities who can compete for jobs in STEM fields with the understanding that there are varying levels of math competence needed to be successful in their careers. Because of this, he is committed to reforming the academic pathways from basic math to transfer level math courses, and he has been involved in curriculum development from a ‘student centered’ perspective. Click here for full bio.


Dr. Lilia Chavez

Dean of Special Programs and Grants
Dr. Lilia Chavez is Merritt’s new  Dean of Special Programs and Grants, as of April 13, 2016. She joined the college in 2014 as  the Director of Student Activities & Campus Life. She is a Chicana/Latina, Social and Spiritual Activist/Educator who seizes each opportunity to work with underrepresented, underprepared, and underserved communities. She has an extensive teaching and professional record. Dr. Chavez has worked as an educator, counselor, consultant, administrator, cultural broker, and spritual guide. Click here for full bio

Ann Elliott

Interim Dean of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (Division I)

Ann Elliott was named Interim Dean of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (Division 1) in August 2017. Ann began her teaching career in Barcelona as an English Instructor at one of the city’s premiere business colleges. Returning to California, she served as Interim Director of the ESL Learning Center at UC Berkeley. In 1991 she was hired as Director of Merritt’s Learning Center, and during her 25-year tenure at Merritt, she has served as English and Humanities Department Chair/Co-Chair as well as Chair of other campus committees including the Student Learning Outcomes Assessment Committee and the College Educational Master Planning Committee. Ann has been a long-time member of the Academic Senate and served at the District as Staff Development Officer. Her commitment to the success of all students has led her to focus on helping students build their foundational knowledge and develop the skills necessary to realize their goals.

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Dr. Herbert Kitchen

Director of Student Activities and Campus Life 

Dr. Herbert Kitchen joined Merritt College as Interim Director of Student Activities and Campus Life  on July 25, 2016. Dr. Kitchen is a veteran at the Peralta Community College District, having served over 20 years at the District Office in the Marketing, Communications and Media department as the Coordinator of Marketing. At Merritt, Dr. Kitchen is responsible for providing and coordinating opportunities for student leadership and development. He’ll work in collaboration with faculty, staff, and administrators to develop student leadership programs. Dr. Kitchen will serve as an advisor to the college student government and clubs and will engage and encourage the development of student groups with extracurricular and co-curricular engagement, including student activities, special campus student-led conferences, and cultural enriching events. (Click here for full bio.)


Dr. Dativa (Dettie) Del Rosario

Director of Business and Administrative Services

Dr. Dativa (Dettie) Del Rosario joined Merritt College as the official Director of Business and Administrative Services, prior to serving in that role in an interim position. Dettie has been with the District for more than 15 years, most recently as an employee of the Peralta District Financial Services Office and brings with her a well-rounded experience in fiscal and accounting operations. She started in the Laney College Business Office, then on to the Bursar position at Berkeley City College, and then to the District Office, first as District Budget and Attendance Analyst, then Supervisor of Accounts Payable and Enrollment Management.
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Maria Spencer

Interim Dean of Educational Success


Maria A. Spencer was named Interim Dean of Educational Success at Merritt College in October 2017 under the Adult Education Block Grant. In that role, she assists in developing pathways for Adult Ed students and community members to move into higher education with a clear pathway towards a career. She also leads the development of noncredit/certificate programs for the college. Prior to that, she served as Student Personal Services Specialist, where she spearheaded outreach and recruitment for all four campuses, establishing the foundation for many of the events Peralta represents. Before that, she served as Financial Aid Supervisor at Merritt. (Click here for full bio.)