Dr. David M. Johnson


Dr. David M. Johnson was named President of Merritt College in June 2020.  Prior to this role, he served as Acting President, having started at Merritt as Vice President of Instruction in January 2019.  He comes to Merritt from Las Positas College in Livermore, CA, where he served as Interim Vice President of Academic Services. In that position, he was responsible for enrollment management, academic compliance, budget supervision, and overall instructional support for 120 degree, transfer, and certificate programs. He also worked closely with the faculty, staff, and administration to ensure institutional compliance with accreditation standards and state initiatives. Click here for full bio

Dr. Lilia Chavez

Vice President of Student Services

Dr. Lilia Chavez is a Chicana/Latina, Social and Spiritual Activist/Educator who seizes each opportunity to work with underrepresented, underprepared, and underserved communities. She is currently serving as the Vice President of Student Services at Merritt College. In October 2022, Dr. Chavez secured a Hispanic Serving Institute grant from the Department of Education in the amount of $3 million for Merritt College. The grant will support the ASPIRA Project and will enable Merritt College to improve the culture of teaching and learning to ensure students persist in their academic goals. Prior to this role, she was the Dean of Special Programs & Grants where she managed various programs. She also served as the Director of Student Activities & Campus Life where she guided the Associated Students at Merritt College (ASMC). Click here for full bio

Lisa R. Cook

Vice President of Instruction

Lisa comes to us from Berkeley City College, where she has served as the Dean of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences since 2016. Her time in the Peralta District as an experienced leader and educator, however, spans more than 25 years. Over her career she has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to advancing diversity, equity, inclusion and access. In addition, under her leadership Berkeley City College established vital partnerships with local high schools, which resulted in a remarkable increase in dual enrollment (from 342 to 1574 students over four years), and significant growth in the participation and success of Black and Latino/a/x students. Click here for full bio

Marie Amboy

Vice President of Administrative Services

Raised in Silicon Valley, Marie is incredibly passionate about improving educational access and opportunities for our most underserved and underrepresented students through the development or sustainability of programs, partnerships, and new policies that foster student equity.  She works collaboratively with both faculty and industry partners to promote the development of innovative new Career Education programs that respond to the evolving needs of the workforce and further increase opportunities for student success. Click here for full bio

Dr. Chriss Foster

Dean of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (Division I) 

Chriss Warren Foster, PhD., was named Interim Dean of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences in December 2019.  She previously served as a professor of English, Rhetoric, and Psychology, holds the following degrees: Master of Arts degrees –English literature with Rhetoric and Composition emphases; Counseling Psychology with completion of practicum for Marriage and Family Therapist licensing; and, Education. She also holds two Doctoral degrees: Educational Leadership and Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology with an emphasis in Phenomenology, and a certificate in Rhetoric and Composition and Teaching Reading at the Post Secondary Level. Click here for a full bio.


Diane Chang

Interim Dean of Math, Science, and Technology (Division II)

Diane comes to Merritt after nearly six years at Laney College. Since 2020, she has served as the Dean of Student Services for four years, overseeing areas such as counseling, SAS, and Gateway to College. She was also the responsible administrator for instructional programs in Kinesiology, Athletics, Health Education, and Sports Fitness. Prior to becoming a dean, Diane served as a Counselor/Instructor at both Chabot College and College of Alameda, and Contracts and Grants Manager at UC Berkeley (College of Engineering).


Angela Khoo

Interim Dean of Allied Health and Public Safety
(Division III) 

Doris Hankins

Director of Student Activities and Campus Life

Effective March 2, 2020, Doris Hankins began her new role as Director of Student Activities and Campus Life. She is a Merritt College alumnus and served as the Phi Theta Kappa (Beta Theta Lamda Chapter) President for 3 years (2001-2003) and was awarded the All USA Award (2002). In addition, she has worked at Merritt College for almost 20 years. Her positions at Merritt have included being a Sr. Clerical Assistant to the President; a Staff Assistant to the Vice President of Instruction; an Interim Curriculum Specialist; an Interim Program Manager for CAFYES (Cooperating Agencies Foster Youth Educational Support); an Employment Services Manager; a Program Manager for Basic Skills Student Outcomes and Transformation (BSSOT); a Project Manager for Guided Pathways; and Program Manager for Next Up (formally CAFYES). Click here for full bio

Nathan Pellegrin

Director of Research and Planning

Nathan Pellegrin was named Director of Research and Planning in January 2020. He is committed to enabling cycles of inquiry that reach across the campus community to bring together faculty, students, and staff. Prior to joining Merritt, he worked with community colleges in the region on supporting organization change, including student equity planning, evaluation of in-class student supports, student-centered scheduling, and students right to transfer-level classes in math and English (AB 705), and served as Director of Institutional Research for the Peralta Community College District from 2014 to 2016. de. Click here for full bio


Ree’shemah Thornton

Dean of Enrollment Services

Ree’shemah Thornton joined Merritt College in April 2021 in the inaugural role of the Dean of Enrollment Services.

Ree’shemah is professionally and personally committed to providing students with authentic access to higher education and has over 27 years of professional experience in higher education and administering programs providing educational and support services to first-generation student populations. Click here for full bio


Loan Nguyen

Interim Director of Financial Aid Services