To all employees,
A little more than a year ago, we set out on a path to dramatically improve outcomes for our students and transform the career school sector. We knew the process wouldn’t be easy and that it would require difficult decisions along the way.
In support of our mission, we are announcing several changes designed to enhance our focus on student success and quality academics, and align our cost structure with our student population. These changes include a significant adjustment in our campus leadership structure; consolidation of schools; elimination of roles at Everest Online and Student Finance Support (SFS) operations; and a new Zenith executive structure.
This is not an easy communication given that individuals at all levels of the Zenith organization will be impacted. However, after extensive reviews of our campuses, it was determined that a failure to act would result in even greater negative repercussions down the road.
Campus Leadership Organizational Changes
After conducting a thorough review of student populations, program completion and job placement rates, we are instituting significant organizational changes across our Everest and WyoTech campuses. Our current campus structure is designed for much larger populations. Therefore, by flattening the organization and removing specific positions, we are able to maintain a student-centric structure while lowering overall costs.
Instead of four regions, we have divided our campuses into eight markets—seven for the Everest campuses and one for the WyoTech campuses. Each market will be led by an executive director, who will have dual responsibilities. In addition to providing oversight for the campuses within his/her market, he/she will also be on site at a campus and serve as the leader of that location.
Campuses that do not have an executive director on site will now be led by a campus director/academic dean. This individual will serve both as the campus location leader and the academic leader, and will report to the executive director within his/her market.
The executive directors are:
Siri Dixon located at the Tigard campus
Sylento Lewis located at the Bissonnet campus
Sam Lynn (interim) located at the Tampa campus
Jeff Sherman located at the Orange Park campus
Jake Kassuba located at the Chesapeake campus
Tashun White located at the Southfield campus
Carissa Seger located at the Thornton campus
Mark Reynolds located at the WyoTech Blairsville campus
We have also created a new role within each campus location—director of student success. This position will lead a team of professionals who will be the main point of contact for all aspects of support through the student’s lifecycle, from enrollment, continuing with academic advising, through job placement.
These structural changes will result in the elimination of several roles, including regional vice president of operations, campus president, director of admissions and director of student finance. We are working with individuals impacted by this change to ensure the transformation is as smooth as possible.
Our continual review of campus populations, program completion and job placement rates also illustrated the need for additional consolidation in certain geographic areas. While we remain dedicated to serving students in these areas, it is no longer feasible to have several campuses located in the same vicinity. We plan to serve our current and future students with fewer campus locations, which will improve the student experience, create more vibrancy on the campus and reduce costs.
We have carefully planned the consolidation to ensure every student will be well served. Affected students will have the opportunity to meet with campus leadership and career services to discuss their individual academic plan.
We continue to take pride in offering students the best educational experience possible and while it is always a difficult decision to close a campus, we are working hard to ensure the process goes smoothly. The receiving campuses have ample capacity to serve both current and anticipated student enrollments.
Specifically, we will be teaching out two schools and consolidating eight others, as follows:
Greenspoint will be consolidated into Hobby and Bissonnet
Dallas will be consolidated into Fort Worth South and Mid Cities
Brandon and Lakeland will be consolidated into Tampa
Pompano Beach will be taught out
Melbourne will be taught out with the option for students to complete their programs at the Orlando campus
Marietta will be consolidated into Atlanta West and Norcross
Newport News will be consolidated into Chesapeake
Detroit and Dearborn will be consolidated into Southfield
Everest Online and Student Finance Support Changes in Tampa
Due to the decrease in student populations, we also are announcing the elimination of approximately 130 roles at Everest Online and within Student Finance Support. Impacted individuals have been notified and will be given support throughout the transition. While it is never easy to separate from talented individuals, it is important that we recognize their accomplishments and do what we can to support them through this change.
New Zenith Executive Structure
We continue to search for a president to oversee Zenith and are announcing a new executive structure that we are confident will bring leadership to several key areas required for future success. These individuals will work together to focus on: continued improvements in student outcomes; increased enrollment (of students who can thrive in our programs); new in-demand programming; academic quality; strong and vibrant campuses; quality support services; deep and wide external partnerships; and an active alumni support network.
Unfortunately, I have to first announce that Kim Dean has decided to leave the organization. My choice for her would have been that she remain with us for many more years, but my respect for, and appreciation of, her requires that I respect Kim’s decision. Her imprint on this organization is long-lasting and I know you will join me in thanking her for her many contributions and sending her best wishes in her future endeavors. Kim’s last day will be May 1.
Dr. Mary Ostrye will continue her role as provost and chief academic officer. Given Kim’s departure, Mary will also assume leadership for Student Finance Support and campus operations, and the newly appointed executive directors will report to her. To assist her with the implementation of our new campus structure, Mary and I have asked Tom O’Donnell, an experienced operations expert, to play a leadership role supporting the executive directors as a senior consultant to Mary. Tom has been doing some part-time consulting with us for a number of months and comes with 13 years of experience in the higher education industry. He will be starting on a campus tour next week to meet as many of you as he can. Please take a minute to introduce yourself and welcome him into our organization.
Karen Turner will continue to oversee partnerships, career services, alumni and the donor program as senior vice president, chief business development officer.
We’ve created an expanded role for Keith Burkhalter, who will serve as senior vice president of admissions and student services, overseeing admissions, online operations and contact center management.
Jim Gilbertson, who joined our team recently, will continue to serve as Zenith’s chief financial officer and senior vice president of finance shared services.
Attached are organization charts that illustrate the new campus leadership structure and the new executive structure, as well as a contact list of new campus leaders.
In the days and weeks ahead, I welcome your feedback and questions. Thank you for all you are doing to support our students. Working together, we can and will meet our goal of building a new nonprofit model of career education that is student-centered, offers excellent training in high-demand industries and results in job placement for our graduates.