Board of Commissioners

The ABHES Board of Commissioners consists of fifteen members, seven appointed by the commissioners themselves (either ABHES members or non-ABHES members) and eight elected by the accredited members from among its accredited institutions and programs. At least three 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: Matthew Calhoun

Elected Seat – Administrator in a Healthcare Related Area: Senior Vice President of Campus Development, Arizona College

Glendale, Arizona

Mr. Calhoun has worked in higher education for 16 years since graduating from Washington State University with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. 15 of those years have been dedicated to the students of Arizona College. After completion of a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University, he was promoted to Campus Director and later to Vice President, Regulatory Affairs & Student Finance which is the position he currently holds. Matt has served ABHES as a team leader for many accreditation visits and he has sat on the ABHES conference committee since 2010 and also the Preliminary Review Committee from 2011 – 2017.

Vice Chair: Timothy Lee

Elected Seat – Commissioner-At-Large: Chief Operating Officer, American Career College

Anaheim, California

Mr. Lee is currently the Chief Operating Officer for American Career College. He has been in higher education for over 20 years with the majority of his experience working in the area of admissions. Prior to entering higher education, he taught special education and coached baseball. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences from California State University San Bernardino and a Master of Business Administration from the University of LaVerne.

Secretary: Mark Andrews

Appointed Seat – Public Member: Assistant General Counsel, Healthcare Law Group at Genentech, Inc.

San Francisco, California

Mr. Andrews, Esq. currently serves as Assistant General Counsel for the Healthcare Law Group at Genentech, Inc. in the San Francisco Bay area. He provides legal advice in the areas of appropriate interactions with healthcare providers and patients, litigation avoidance, and FDA regulation.  Mark has been working in the biotech industry since 2014.  Prior to working in biotech, Mark was a litigation partner at a Chicago law firm where he worked for over a decade, followed by joining the legal team at Career Education Corporation, n/k/a Perdoceo, and serving as the Board Chair of the Howard Brown Health Center.  Mark obtained an education-related Bachelor of Arts from Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois, and his Juris Doctor from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, College of Law in Champaign, Illinois.

Treasurer: Lakeisa Cumberbatch

Appointed Seat – Practitioner in Specialty Area: Director of Education, The College of Healthcare Professions

Dallas, Texas

Ms. Cumberbatch is the Director of Education at The College of Healthcare Professions. She is CST and CRCST with over 20 years in the surgical technology field as a practitioner and over 10 years of experience in education serving in several academic roles. She holds a Master of Business in Ethics and Compliance from New England College of Business, Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management from Kaplan University, and Associate in Arts in Surgical Technology from Pearl River Community College.

Past Chair: Thomas Kenny

Chief Academic Officer, Northwest Career College

Las Vegas, Nevada

Dr. Kenny, a licensed dentist, has worked at Northwest Career College in various capacities since 2004. He is passionate about education and has a proven track record of success in his current role as Chief Academic Officer. He believes that a strong partnership between the education and compliance departments is critical to an excellent educational experience for administrators, educators, students, and businesses seeking successful outcomes. Dr. Kenny holds a Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from the University of Southern California.

Jeffrey Biltz

Elected Seat – Administrator in Healthcare Related Area: Vice President of Accreditation and Regulatory Affairs

Clinton Township, Michigan

Jeff Biltz has worked in higher education for over 14 years at multiple accredited institutions and at this time is the Vice President of Accreditation and Regulatory Affairs at Ross Education, LLC. Ross provides health-related programs in communities throughout Alabama, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, and West Virginia. In his current role, he oversees all accreditation, regulatory and licensing activities at the institution’s campuses. Jeff has sat on the Annual Review Committee, Classification of Facilities Task Force, and Teach-Out Task Force for ABHES.

Keith Castillo

Appointed Seat - Distance Education Specialist: Senior Instructional Designer, Charter College

Hendersonville, Tennessee

Keith Castillo currently works for Charter College as the Senior Instructional Designer Specialist.  He has worked in higher education for over 21 years and held several positions in distance education. Keith completed his BA in Sociology with an emphasis in Social Work, Multiple Subject Credential Program, and holds an MA in Education Instructional Technology from California State University San Bernardino. He is actively working on completing his dissertation towards an Ed.D. in E-Learning from North Central University.

Kathaleen Cole

Elected Seat – Academic in Healthcare Related Area: Campus President, Fortis Institute

Pensacola, Florida

Kathaleen Cole began her career in 1996 as a Massage Therapy Instructor and Director of Education at private vocational schools in Florida and Alabama. Since 2006, she has served as the campus president of Fortis Institute in Pensacola, Florida. In 2009, Kathaleen joined ABHES as an evaluator, taking on additional roles as a team lead and member of the preliminary review committee. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Instructional Design and Technology from the University of West Florida. Previously, she was a Licensed Massage Therapist in Florida and Alabama, as well as a Nationally Certified Medical Assistant. Kathaleen has served on the Board of Directors for her local workforce board for over six years and currently holds the position of Chair.


Amy Gray

Appointed Seat – Commissioner-At-Large: Vice President of Academic Affairs, Health, and Public Services, Joliet Junior College

Joliet, Illinois

Dr. Gray is a progressive leader with more than 20 years of experience in higher education and student advocacy at the heart of everything she does.  While the majority of her career has been spent in various roles in Higher Education, she began her path in medicine.  Science had been a passion since childhood and she started her educational career by earning a Bachelor’s of Science (BS) in Biological Sciences on a pre-medicine track and then a Doctor of Medicine (MD).  But Dr. Gray realized her true calling was educating others when she was offered a full-time faculty position teaching Anatomy and Physiology, Pathology, and Pharmacology.  Ultimately, she decided to further her education and earned her Masters of Education degree with a specialization in Leadership of Educational Organizations.  Since then, she has held progressive leadership roles as full-time faculty, Program Director, Department Chair, Associate Dean, Academic Dean, Director of Education, and Dean of Health Sciences at both proprietary and public, non-profit institutions.

Chonnea Harris

Elected Seat – Educator in Specialty Area: Dean of Academic Affairs, University of Antelope Valley

Palmdale, California

Dr. Harris is the Chief Academic Officer at the University of Antelope Valley (UAV) in Palmdale, California. She has been with UAV since 2008 when she started as an instructor teaching general education courses. During her tenure with UAV, she has served as Dean of Academic Affairs, Department Chair, Associate Dean, and on numerous academic committees. Prior to transitioning into higher education, she taught at the K-8 level for Lancaster School District.  Dr. Harris obtained her Doctorate in Education in Leadership and  Master of Education Degrees from Aspen University, and Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts: Physical Education from California State University at Dominquez Hills.

She is an active member of her community and serves with youth sports and community organizations.

Jeanette Jones

Elected Seat – Educator in Specialty Area: Academic Operations Manager, Pima Medical Institute

Tucson, Arizona

Jeanette Jones is a nurse educator. Jeanette received her Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from Arizona State University and has been a Registered Nurse since 2010. She received her Master of Science degree in Nursing Education from Grand Canyon University. Jeanette joined Pima Medical Institute in 2013, where she worked as an instructor and then as Program Director for the Associate Degree Nursing program. She has also served as Corporate Nurse Manager, where she provided education and regulatory oversight to the nursing programs. Jeanette currently serves as the Academic Operations Manager, where she provides oversight to curriculum and partnership development.

Karen Kershenstein

Appointed Seat – Public Member: President, KWK Enterprises

Fairfax Station, Virginia

Dr. Kershenstein has worked in some aspect of accreditation for more than 30 years.  She first worked for the U.S. Department of Education, where she directed the accrediting agency recognition process. After leaving the Department, she started a consulting service for accrediting agencies, and to keep current on higher education accreditation practices began serving as a public member of various accrediting agencies, including a regional, a national, and several specialized agencies.  Dr. Kershenstein has also conducted numerous observation visits for the Council on Higher Education Accreditation, and served on several ABHES Appeal Panels.  She holds a Ph.D. in physics from Georgetown University.

Steve Peterson

Appointed Seat - Public Member: College of Nursing and Healthcare Professions Program Lead – Faculty Training and Development, Grand Canyon University

Tempe, Arizona

Dr. Peterson is the College of Nursing Faculty Training and Development Lead for Grand Canyon University (GCU) and teaches Integrative Health coursework for Arizona State University (ASU). He holds a Doctor of Education degree in Organizational Leadership, leads faculty training and development, mentorships, compliance alignment, and pedagogical initiatives for the College of Nursing at GCU and has co-authored and contributing to three textbooks, developed curriculum, and implemented LMS multi-modal platform delivery coursework at ASU. His experience in postsecondary education and accreditation reaches back to 2002 in the role of Dean of Education for Apollo College and then Director of Education for Fortis College. These experiences were the inspiration for his professional service to ABHES as an evaluator and the commitment to promoting academic and institutional excellence while serving the field of healthcare and the students who will eventually become its practitioners and leaders. This commitment continues with pride as a member of the Commission.

Rafael Ramírez-Rivera

Appointed Seat – Higher Education Specialist: President of Inter American University of Puerto Rico – Arecibo Campus

Arecibo, Puerto Rico

Dr. Ramírez-Rivera is the Acting President of Inter American University of Puerto Rico – Arecibo Campus and founder of the Academia Interamericana de Arecibo, a PP-K to 12-grade school. In 1984 he began his professional career as an Academic Dean at Caguas City College and then at Inter American University of P.R – Guayama Campus. Ramírez-Rivera was the president and CEO of three institutions of higher education: Humacao Community College, Columbia College, and Huertas Junior College. He was Director of License and Accreditation of the Puerto Rico Council on Higher Education and President of CSI, a consulting and management firm. Served three terms as a Commissioner for the Accrediting Council of Independent Colleges and Schools in Washington, DC, and has participated in more than 100 institutional reviews for several accrediting commissions in the USA, South America, and Europe. Constantly, serves on several Ad-Hoc committees, task force, and community-based organizations in P.R., Caribbean Islands, United States, Canada, Central and South America, Europe, Japan, Asia, and Australia, to address themes in leadership, economics, business planning and strategies, mergers and acquisitions of business and organizational culture and climate. Presently, Ramírez-Rivera is a member of the Board of Trustees of the College Board, New York. He holds his doctoral degree in Educational Administration from Inter American University of Puerto Rico, Master in Arts and Bachelor in Arts in Economics from the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus. Has participated and studied in several management schools in P.R. and the United States.

Stephen Schwartz

Elected Seat – Ownership Representative: Co-CEO & CFO, American Institute

White Plains, New York

Stephen Schwartz is the Co- CEO and CFO of American Institute, with five campuses serving New Jersey and Connecticut. Stephen started in proprietary education in 1992. During his 30 years of post-secondary education experience, he has worked across all functions within public and private companies. Before this experience, he held positions on Wall Street as an Associate at an investment bank. Stephen holds a Bachelor of Science in accounting from the University of Florida. He believes that with a focus on quality programs, faculty, and staff, a school can deliver for all stakeholders, including students, communities, employers, investors, and taxpayers.