The Executive Search Team

Executive Search Services maintains a full-time team to assist with all aspects of the president, provost, and vice president search process.

ACCT’s team is comprised of seasoned professionals and nationally recognized experts committed to exemplary governance.

np_2010Narcisa Polonio, Ed.D.

Executive Vice President for Research,
Education, and Board Leadership Services

Email:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Office:(202) 775-4670 | Mobile: (202) 276-1983

Dr. Polonio is responsible for coordinating all of ACCT's direct services to executive leaders and governing boards. She has over 35 years of experience working with community colleges including service as a community college president and as a board member.

Dr. Polonio attended Foothill Community College, CA, holds a B.A. in History from San Jose State University, CA, an M.A. from Stanford University, CA, and an Ed.D. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Additionally, she served as a member of the College of St. Elizabeth Board of Regents for six years.

Laurie Savona, Ed.D.

Operations Officer, Search Services

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Office: (202) 775-4474 | Mobile: (202) 595-4300

Ms. Savona is responsible for operations management of Board Leadership Services. Previously Special Assistant to the Senior Vice President of American Council on Education (ACE), Laurie has 8 years of experience as the Executive Assistant to the President/Compliance Officer for Suffolk County Community College in Long Island, NY and also served as the City Clerk for the City of Portland, Maine. She earned her doctorate degree in Higher Education Management at the University of Pennsylvania, an M.P.A. from University of Maine, and a B.A. in Economics from Stony Brook University in New York.

julie golder alion.jpgJulie Golder Alion, J.D.

Search Services Coordinator

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Office: (202) 775-4466 | Mobile: (202) 384-5816

Ms. Golder coordinates reference reports, has assisted with dozens of searches throughout the country, served as a Law Clerk for the Senate Finance Committee, and studied China’s legal system in Shanghai. She received a J.D. from the University of Montana’s School of Law, and a B.A. in Communications from the University of Central Florida.


John Steinecke

Search Services Specialist

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Office: (202) 775-4468 | Mobile (202) 384-6539

Mr. Steinecke provides search service assistance to boards of trustees, and came to ACCT from The Search Group, LLC, in Columbia, MD, as a recruiting manager. He has over 15 years of experience providing consultative executive search services to businesses in the Washington/Baltimore area.

Mr. Steinecke was appointed by the Governor of Maryland to the Board of Trustees of Prince George’s Community College, Largo, MD in July 2002 and served until August 2010. Mr. Steinecke received a B.A. degree in English Literature from Middlebury College, VT.

Search Consultants


Rita Cavin, Ph.D.

ACCT Search Consultant


Dr. Cavin, a community college educator for over 38 years retired as President Emerita of Linn-Benton Community College, OR at the end of 2009. Her professional career began in California where she served as Vice President of Instruction at Mt. San Antonio College from 1997 to 2003 and as Vice President of Instruction at Citrus College from 1992 to 1997. She began her community college career as a faculty member at Rio Hondo College, CA.

Dr. Cavin holds a Ph.D. in higher education administration from Claremont Graduate University, a master’s degree in Library Science from Immaculate Heart College in Los Angeles, a master’s and bachelor’s degree in English from University of Redlands, CA and an associate’s degree from Riverside City College, CA.

pamila-fisher.jpgPamila Fisher, Ed.D.

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Phone: (406) 570-0516


Dr. Fisher’s career spans over 30 years with the Yosemite Community College District: starting in 1974 as an instructor, to serving as Chancellor for 12 years. Dr. Fisher has held multiple higher education leadership positions on a national level, including Chair of the Board of Director for the AACC, board membership for the American Council on Education: Commission on Women in Higher Education, the AACC Commission on International/Intercultural Relations, the ACCT/AACC Joint Commission on Federal Relations, and the AACC Commission on Minority Resources. Dr. Fisher is Past President of the American Association of Women in Community Colleges.

Dr. Fisher, very active in higher education at the statewide level, is Founder and Director of the Asilomar Leadership Development Project, which boasts more than 20 college presidents as past alumnae.

Past President of the California Association of Community Colleges; and membership on the Task Force on the Education Code Revision, the California Community College Trustees’ Advisory Committee on Educational Services, and the ACCCA Management Development Commission.

Dr. Fisher attended Modesto Junior College where she earned an AA degree. She also holds a BS and a MA from California State University, Stanislaus, and received an Ed.D. from the University of the Pacific.


Marie Kane, Ph.D.

Email:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Phone: (830) 832-6793


Dr. Kane retired in July 2007 after more than six years as Superintendent/ President of Chaffey College in Rancho Cucamonga, CA. During her tenure, the district passed a $230 million facilities bond, completed more than 20 facilities projects, including eight new buildings, and acquired land for and began construction on a second campus. Prior to coming to Chaffey College, Dr. Kane served as the President of Phoenix College, AZ, Provost of the Norco Campus of Riverside Community College, CA, and Dean of Instructional Services at San Joaquin Delta College, CA.

Her community service has included membership on the California Community College CEO Board, the Rancho Cucamonga Chamber of Commerce Board, and the board of the National Institute for Leadership Development.

Dr. Kane has been recognized as a Woman of Distinction for the 63rd Assembly District, the CEO of the Year for the Pacific/Western Region by the Association of Community College Trustees, the Mildred Bulpitt Woman of the Year by the American Association of Women in Community Colleges, and the Distinguished Alumna of the Year by the Arizona State University College of Education.

Dr. Kane received a B.A. in Mathematics from the University of Texas, a M.S. in Mathematics from Lamar University, and a Ph.D. in Mathematics Education from Arizona State University.

Pat Kier, Ed.D.

ACCT Search Consultant


Dr. Patricia Keir recently served seven years as Chancellor of the Eastern Iowa Community College District. She previously served as President of San Diego Miramar College, Executive Vice President of Lansing Community College, MI, and in a number of administrative positions at the College of DuPage, IL. Dr. Keir has served on the AACC Board and on the ACCT Presidents' Advisory Committee, in addition to a number of national and state task forces, committees, and local non-profit boards and workforce development organizations.

She is currently a full-time faculty member in the University of Maryland University College Doctoral Program in Management Community College Leadership Program, where she both coordinates and teaches community college professionals seeking a doctorate. She has served on a number of accreditation teams in California and is very familiar with the Higher Learning Commission Accreditation processes and Board involvement in both PEAQ and AQIP.

Jose Leyba, Ed.D.

ACCT Search Consultant


Dr. Leyba retired from the Maricopa Community Colleges in 2008 as the Vice President for Corporate Development and Relations for Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation in Tempe, Arizona, and currently serves as an ACCT Search Consultant. He also served higher education in variety of roles, both permanent and temporary including Interim College President at Los Angeles Mission College, Los Angeles Community College District, CA, Interim Vice President of Instruction at West Campus, Pima Community College District, AZ, Acting Provost/Executive Vice Chancellor at Pima Community College, AZ, Vice President for Development and Community Relations at Mesa Community College, AZ, and Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources for Maricopa Community college District, AZ.

Dr. Leyba is a sought after speaker, guest lecturer, and consultant, and has recently worked with the National Council for Black American Affairs, Community College Mid-Level Administrators Training Program, the United States Department of Agriculture Leadership Development Institute and the upcoming TCLI Latino Non Profit Leadership Summit.

Dr. Leyba received a Doctor of Education in educational administration and supervision, a Masters of Education in educational administration and supervision and a Bachelor of Arts degree in history/secondary education from Arizona State University, Arizona.

Laura Saunders, Ph.D.

ACCT Search Consultant


Dr. Saunders has spent her career in higher education, at both major research universities and community colleges. Most recently she was the interim president (for 18 months) of Bellevue College, the State of Washington’s largest community college located in suburban Seattle. Prior to that she served 18 years as vice president for administrative services at two community colleges --- Highline Community College in Des Moines Washington from 1990 to 2005, and for three years at Bellevue College. Prior to working in Washington community colleges she was director of planning and capital budget at the University of Washington and also worked at The Pennsylvania State University and the office of the president of the University of California.

Dr. Saunders has been active within the state of Washington in community college activities --- serving as president of the business affairs commission, a member of the Washington Association of Community and Technical Colleges presidents council, a member of the first statewide collective bargaining team for classified staff as well as numerous committees and task forces. At the national level Dr. Saunders has been on the boards of the Society for College and University Planning and the Association for Institutional Research and she served as president of both organizations.

Dr. Saunders holds a Ph.D from the University of California, Berkeley in education, a MA from the University of Chicago in economics, and a AB from Reed College.

Dr. Richard M. Sanchez

ACCT Search Consultant


Dr. Richard M. Sanchez retired in August, 2013 after serving twenty-three (23) years as a Community College President. Dr. Sanchez served eight (8) years as President with the California Community College system at Grossmont College in El Cajon, California, one of two colleges within the Grossmont/Cuyamaca Community College District. Further, he served fifteen (15) years as District President at Navarro College located in Corsicana, Texas, a multi-campus district.

During his fifteen (15) year tenure at Navarro College, several notable achievements occurred during his Presidency. The student body increased from 3,600 students to over 10,000 students. He also provided decisive leadership to the College District by directing the renovation and construction of multiple buildings on the three campuses of the Navarro College district. He was also the founding President of a fourth campus in Midlothian, Texas. He initiated several student-oriented programs to achieve student success and was instrumental in advancing the student completion agenda within the College district.

Additionally, Dr. Sanchez was the founding President of a partnership between Texas A&M University - Commerce and Navarro College to provide students access to a baccalaureate and graduate degree on the Navarro College campus. This partnership expanded to include the Midlothian Higher Education Center in Midlothian, Texas involving three four-year universities; Texas A&M University-Commerce, Tarleton State University and University of North Texas at Dallas. Under his leadership, Navarro College claimed prestige of being the first community college within the NJCAA to win two National Championships in one academic year; football and baseball.

Prior to his Presidential appointments, Dr. Sanchez served in a variety of positions at the community college level including Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean. He also served eight (8) years at the four-year level as Associate Dean of the School of Human Development and Education and Associate Professor of Education at California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo, California.

Dr. Sanchez is a past American Council on Education Fellow, has served on the Board of Directors for the American Association of Community Colleges and Board member for the Texas Association of Community Colleges.

Linda Spink Ph.D.

ACCT Search Consultant


Dr. Linda Spink has 42 years in higher education leadership experience. For 14 years, she served as community college president, first in a single college district and the last 10 years at LA Harbor College, in the Los Angeles Community College district. Dr. Spink has a broad background in both teaching and administration.

She holds a Ph.D. in Administration of Higher Education from Boston College, and a Master of Science degree from Boston University in Psychiatric Nursing. Dr. Spink taught nursing for fourteen years, in two-year and four-year college/university settings, both public and private before going into administration in 1984. Dr. Spink currently serves as an adjunct instructor for NOVA Southeastern University, teaching online courses for the community college leadership minor.