The ABHES Board of Commissioners consists of thirteen members, six appointed by the commissioners themselves (either ABHES members or non-ABHES members) and seven elected by the accredited members from among its accredited institutions and programs. At least two of the Commissioners represent the public, as defined by the U.S. Department of Education, and have no affiliation with an ABHES-accredited institution or program. Care is taken to include in its mix academic and administrative personnel, and educators and practitioners. Each Commissioner serves a defined term and is held responsible to a strict Code of Ethics.
Chair: Linda W. Swisher
Elected Seat 7 – Commissioner at Large: Retired, Program Director, Sarasota County Technical Institute, Sarasota, Florida
Dr. Swisher is retired from the position of program director for Health and Fire Sciences at Sarasota County Technical Institute where she taught since 1972. In 1977, she graduated from the University of South Florida with a bachelors of arts degree in education and received her master’s degree from the University of South Florida in 1980. Her doctorate of education was conferred in 1995 by Nova Southeastern University. Prior to joining ABHES, Dr. Swisher had been a site evaluator for the Council on Occupational Education (COE) accrediting agency and had been involved in both national and regional accreditation as well as state legislative matters. Dr. Swisher currently serves as a member of ABHES’ Officer Nominating Committee.
Past Chair: Guy Euliano
Elected Seat 6 – Commissioner at Large: Former President, Tri-State Institute, Erie, Pennsylvania
Mr. Euliano brings to ABHES nearly 25 years of experience in post-secondary education bringing to ABHES an extensive background in accreditation, having served as a commissioner for six years with the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS), most recently as its Chair in 2002. He was also chair and evaluator for the Bureau of Academic Programs, Pennsylvania Department of Education for the approval of Associate in Specialized Business Degree. Mr. Euliano serves as the Chair of ABHES’ Financial Review Committee. He possesses a baccalaureate degree in political science from the University of Tampa.
Vice Chair: Florence Tate
Appointed Seat 4 – Commissioner at Large: Former President, Potomac College, Washington, DC
Ms. Tate has worked in postsecondary education for over 30 years, most recently as President of Potomac College in Washington, DC. Previously, she served as Commissioner and Chair of the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET) and has participated in over 300 accreditation evaluation visits for three national accrediting agencies, including ABHES. Ms. Tate serves on several boards, regulatory counsels, and advisory groups, and is a frequent presenter on issues affecting higher education. Ms. Tate serves as Chair of ABHES’ Standards Review Committee.
Secretary: Randy Nikola
Elected Seat 4 – Ownership Representative: President, Healing Mountain Massage School, Salt Lake City and Cedar City, Utah
Mr. Nikola is the President of Healing Mountain Massage School, Salt Lake City, Utah, and instructs a number of courses, including Swedish Massage, Zen Massage, Chair Massage, Trigger Point Therapy & Medical Massage, Hydrotherapy and Spa Training, and Japanese Shiatsu. Through his travels to eastern and western Europe he studied and taught massage, shiatsu, and hydrotherapy & spa treatments. He wrote a professional hydrotherapy and spa training textbook called Creatures of Water used at massage therapy training schools throughout the United States and Canada and has authored several other books on massage. He is a Licensed Massage Therapist and is the Past President of the Utah Chapter of the American Massage Therapy Association and has worked actively with ABHES on site visits as a massage therapy specialist and team leader.
Treasurer: John (Jack) A. Yena
Appointed Seat 5 – Public Member: Chairman of the Board of Trustees and President Emeritus, Johnson & Wales University, Providence, Rhode Island Executive Committee
Jack Yena is the Chairman of the Board of Trustees and President Emeritus of Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island, where he has served in several capacities since beginning his career there in 1963. His distinguished career includes serving as President and Treasurer to the Career College Association (then AICS), Commissioner and Chair of the Collegiate Council for the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS), Chair of the American Council on Education (Commission on Educational Credit and Credentials), and as a member of the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality & Integrity for the U.S. Secretary of Education. He has served ABHES over the years as a member of appeals boards and currently serves on its Financial Review Committee. Mr. Yena earned both his bachelor’s degree and Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Rhode Island.
Elected Seat 3 – Ownership Representative: President, CNI College, Orange, California
Mr. Buffington has operated postsecondary institutions in the Orange County, California, area since 1981. He earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from California State University in Long Beach and now serves as president of a family-run postsecondary institution, Career Networks Institute (CNI) in Orange County. Since its beginning in 1994, CNI has focused on health care education. Mr. Buffington has been a long-time active member of the California Association of Private Postsecondary Schools (CAPPS) where he has served as president, committee member, and now serves on its Board of Directors.
Elected Seat 2 – Administrator in a Healthcare: Director of Financial Affairs/Operations, St. Louis College of Health Careers, St. Louis, Missouri
Ms. Dubis comes to ABHES with an extensive background in accreditation, having served as a team leader and subject specialist for many years on ABHES accreditation teams. She is also a member of the Preliminary Review Committee and former member of the Commissioner Nominating Committee. She has been employed by St. Louis College of Health Careers since 1989. Ms. Dubis holds a Masters of Health Administration from St. Louis University and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and an Associate Degree in Nursing from Mayville College, St. Louis, Missouri.
Appointed Seat 3 – Distance Education Specialist: Former Dean of Business, Liberal Arts, and Computer Services and Associate Professor, Computer Information Systems Management Department, Delaware Valley College, Doylestown, Pennsylvania
Dr. Gioffre possesses many years of experience in the higher education sector. Since 2006, Dr. Gioffre has served as an Educational Consultant for post-secondary education in curriculum planning and review, assessment, distance education, and other related educational activities. Her work includes accrediting agencies, state agencies, and private clients. Prior to that time, Dr. Gioffre served for 11 years at Delaware Valley College, most recently as Dean of Business, Liberal Arts, and Computer Services and Associate Professor, Computer Information Systems Management Department.
Dr. Gioffre holds an Ed.D in Vocational/Technical Education from Rutgers University, and a Master of Arts in Business/Distributive Education and a Bachelor of Science in Business Education from Trenton State College.
Appointed Seat 6 - Public Member: Retired, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
Dr. Houston has been employed by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) since 1994. Prior to that, she served as Chair of Computer Systems Department, Grove City College, Grove City, Pennsylvania, for nearly 20 years. She has an extensive background in accreditation, including as a site visitor for Middle States Commission on Higher Education and the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, for which she served on the Board for several years. Her experience with ABHES includes membership on its Appeals Panel.
Dr. Houston holds an Ed.D. in Computer Education from Nova University and a M.S.Ed in Business Education with a Marketing concentration from Youngstown State University.
Appointed Seat 2 - Baccalaureate Degree Representative: Director of Institutional Effectiveness, Goodwin College, East Hartford, Connecticut
Ms. Jefford is the Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness for Goodwin College in East Hartford, Connecticut. She is responsible for the Office of Institutional Research, Planning and Assessment which develops and integrates processes that promote the continuous improvement of College programs and services and serves as a warehouse for assessment information as it relates to accreditation, funding and other college initiatives. She also oversees the Office of Curriculum Planning and Accreditation which safeguards the mission of the college by maintaining current accreditations. Ms. Jefford possesses over 35 years’ experience in higher education, accreditation, and health care. She serves as Chair of ABHES’ Officer Nominating Committee.
Elected Seat 5 - Educator in Specialty Area: Medical Assisting Program Director, AmeriTech College, Draper, Utah
Nancy Last is the Medical Assisting Program Director at Ameritech College in Draper, Utah, where she has been employed since 2009. Prior to her position at Ameritech, she served as Program Administrator for Medical Assisting and Medical Billing and Coding at Eagle State College in Murray, Utah, for seven years.
A 1998 graduate of Regents College, University of the State of New York, Registered Nursing, Ms. Last holds the credentials of Registered Nurse (RN), Certified Medical Assistant (CMA/AAMA), and Registered Medical Assistant (RMA/AMT). Over the years she has been involved with ABHES as an on-site evaluator.
Elected Seat 1 – Academician in a Healthcare related area: Director of the Department of Surgical Technology at Baptist Health System, School of Health Professions, San Antonio, Texas
A retired 20-year military officer, Ms. Starks serves as the Director of the Department of Surgical Technology at Baptist Health System, School of Health Professions, in San Antonio, Texas. The school has held institutional accreditation with ABHES since 2004. Her educational background includes a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Maryland, Baltimore, Maryland, and a MSN in Administration (major) and Education (minor) from the University of Texas Science Center at San Antonio.
Along with Ms. Starks’ numerous health-related affiliations, publications, and awards, she has an extensive background as a professional presenter in the field of surgical technology. In addition, she has served as textbook reviewer for various national publishing companies. Her work with ABHES includes service as an evaluator and as a member and, most recently, Chair of the Programmatic Accreditation Committee for Surgical Technology.
Appointed Seat 1 - Vacant