As vice president of the Texas Success Center, housed at the Texas Association of Community Colleges (TACC), Cynthia Ferrell supports the implementation and scaling of student success strategies and policies for the 50 community college districts in Texas.
Prior to joining the Texas Success Center, Cynthia served as director of Student Success Initiatives at the University of Texas at Austin, as well as national director of leadership coaching for Achieving the Dream, director of the Board of Trustees Institute, director of Gulf Coast Partners Achieving Student Success, and UT director of the Governance Institute for Student Success. In these roles, she provided training and ongoing support for community college trustees, chancellors, presidents, and leadership teams to implement data-informed policies and practices to improve the success of all students.
Formerly the director of the Texas Developmental Education State Policy Initiative, Cynthia supported strategies jointly developed by TACC and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) to scale successful innovations statewide and establish policy supports to improve developmental student success.
She earned a Ph.D. in higher educational administration from the Community College Leadership Program at The University of Texas at Austin.
As director of the Texas Success Center, Kristi Short manages the implementation of the Texas Pathways strategic plan, coordinates statewide convenings, documents and reports the center’s work, and supports the center’s knowledge development and communications strategies.
Previously, Kristi served 12 years at Guilford Technical Community College in North Carolina as a faculty member, program coordinator, grant manager, and unit director. From 2012 to 2017, Kristi led the implementation of guided pathways at GTCC, the lead institution for Completion by Design in North Carolina. Kristi also managed articulation agreements for the college and served on the board of directors of the statewide College Transfer Program Association. At GTCC, Kristi established the Center for Academic Engagement, which unified tutoring, supplemental instruction, and student success courses, and expanded non-academic supports including an on-campus food pantry, transportation assistance, and emergency loans.
Kristi earned baccalaureate and master’s degrees in communication studies from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and an education specialist degree in higher education and doctor of education degree in educational leadership from Appalachian State University.
As a program manager for the Texas Success Center, Johannah helps coordinate grant-funded initiatives promoting the Center’s mission as a statewide hub providing community colleges strategies to bolster student learning and success.
Prior to joining the Center, Johannah worked in higher education for eight years. As the Center Manager and Faculty Initiatives Lead at UT Austin’s Faculty Innovation Center, Johannah helped manage grants and programming for instructors seeking to improve the quality of their teaching and students’ learning. From 2007-2012, Johannah worked at UT Austin’s Center for Mexican American Studies, where she managed the Center’s budget and administrative operations.
Johannah earned a baccalaureate degree in Psychology from Brigham Young University and a master’s degree in Mexican American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin.
Katie Ragusin serves as the executive assistant for the Texas Success Center. She manages the workload of the center, prioritizes tasks within the fast-paced working environment, performs a number of administrative duties and works in conjunction with senior staff in pursuit of common goals.
Previously, Katie worked as an administrative assistant to the associate dean of operation at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. While there, she assisted with the management of calendars, events, student services and served a term in the staff advisory board. Katie also served as an event manager in Los Angeles, California where she operated corporate events ranging from 20-600 guests.
A 2014 graduate of California Lutheran University, Katie holds a baccalaureate degree in Marketing Communications. Outside the office, Ms. Ragusin can be found spending time with her pup Cheeto, friends, and family; listening to country music; and exploring the city of Austin and the state of Texas at large.
As research associate, Kristina supports the knowledge development strategy of the Texas Success Center by conducting both quantitative and qualitative research and producing materials to share learnings with the field.
Kristina began her career as a high school math teacher before transitioning to the community college ten years ago. She is currently an associate professor at Austin Community College, on leave to pursue her Ph.D. In addition to teaching at ACC, she served as assistant dean of academic courses, developmental math advisor, and campus math contact with the aim of improving the student experience in mathematics.
Kristina earned baccalaureate degree in Mathematics from Georgetown University and a Master of Science degree in Mathematics from New York University. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in STEM Education at the University of Texas at Austin.
A native of Pelham, Texas, Ricky Williams is studying Visual Communications-Graphic Arts Technology Specialization/Graphic Design at Austin Community College and serves as the Texas Success Center's graphic designer. Prior to joining the Texas Success Center, Ricky completed an internship at Extend-A-Care, where he modified the company's logo, supported social media campaigns, and designed a business card, letterhead, and apparel. Furthermore, Ricky has consulted with Outdoor Element in Denver, Colorado, to repackage a product. Ricky's technology expertise includes Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, and Premier Pro as well as Sublime Text. He will graduate with an associate of applied science degree in December 2019.