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Administrative Profiles

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. David M. Johnson

Vice President of Instruction

Dr. David M. Johnson has been named Vice President of Instruction at Merritt College as of 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 the 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. 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. (Click here for full bio)

Jason Holloway, M.S.

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 spiritual guide. Click here for full bio

Herbert Kitchen Pic-2 (1) 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 culturally enriching events. (Click here for full bio.)

 Victoria Menzies 

Director of Business and Administrative Services

Victoria Menzies became the Director of Business and Administrative Services at Merritt College as of August 2018. With 25 years of experience in business and fiscal operations and a stellar reputation, it’s hard to believe that Vikki Menzie’s high school counselor steered her toward becoming a secretary. But in those days, clerical work was one of just a handful of careers paths that women went into. But it didn’t take long before Vikki’s abilities to go beyond secretarial skills became apparent. As a secretary for the defense contractor Gould, Inc., she was given the best advice of her life: get an education. “I was doing secretarial work, and I was also becoming familiar with programming and helping my bosses,” she says. “I was tired of taking notes and getting coffee. So when one of my bosses suggested I start taking college classes, I immediately enrolled at Mt. San Antonio College to study business.” (Click here for full bio)