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Milwaukee Area Technical College has hired two new leaders who will shape enhanced student and employee workplace experiences and strengthen MATC’s position as an educational leader in our community. Dr. Naydeen Gonzalez-De Jesus has been appointed executive vice president of student success and Laquitha “Elle” Bonds has been named vice president of human resources.
“We are proud to announce that two outstanding leaders will fill these extremely important positions at the college,” said Dr. Vicki J. Martin, MATC president. “This is a pivotal and extraordinary time for MATC, which is navigating organizational change to drive greater student success. Our new organizational structure is centered on creating a student experience that focuses on eliminating our achievement gaps so all students can succeed. These experienced leaders will help shape these important efforts.”
The new position of executive vice president of student success brings together academics and student services in a new structure for MATC. Dr. Gonzalez-De Jesus will ensure collaborative strategy and implementation of initiatives to improve students’ educational experience at MATC — and their preparation for success after graduation. She will oversee the vice president, enrollment management; the vice president, learning; the vice president, retention and completion; the executive directors of the Mequon, Oak Creek and West Allis campuses; and the student Title IX coordinator. She will play a vital role in the college’s firm commitment to the nationally-recognized Guided Pathways framework to help more students graduate and achieve their dreams.
Gonzalez-De Jesus most recently served as the public diplomacy officer for the U.S. Embassy in Argentina, dedicating her time to impacting the lives of students from the U.S. and abroad by creating connections and platforms for student success and faculty-led research. Her previous roles include serving as vice president of student affairs for Bergen Community College in New Jersey; associate dean, academic advising, and working with special populations at Rowan College at Burlington County in New Jersey; and as assistant dean of student services, and founding member and director of the Center for Student Success at Salem Community College in New Jersey.
While at Bergen, Dr. Gonzalez-De Jesus led Project Graduation, an initiative that was nationally highlighted through the American Association of Community College’s 21st Century Center, which also received several Bellwether Award nominations for its ability to help students complete their college education, thus moving the needle on student success with a focus on equity. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Penn State University, a master’s degree in student personnel services from Rowan University and a doctorate from Northcentral University in industrial/organizational psychology.
“I see this role as a strategic opportunity to position equity, through inclusion and social justice, at the center of everything we do at MATC to increase student success,” said Gonzalez-De Jesus. “MATC’s mission to transform lives is what attracted me to MATC — the laser focus on strategic community involvement to empower students through education that leads to family-sustaining jobs.”
As vice president of human resources, Bonds succeeds Cheryl Zima. Bonds leads the Human Resources Department by utilizing best industry policies, practices and trends to oversee talent management, succession planning, innovation, collaboration, employee recognition, compensation and benefits programs, legal compliance, data analysis and other HR systems. Among her responsibilities are positioning the college as a preferred place to work and serving as a change agent for diversity, equity, inclusion and multiculturalism.
Bonds was director of talent operations at Waukesha County Technical College for the past nine years. During that time she designed and implemented their first HR Partner business model, led the college through a compensation study and served as the affirmative action officer as well as deputy Title IX coordinator. Prior to that, Bonds worked for local hospital systems for nine years. She holds a bachelor’s degree in management and communications from Concordia University and a master’s degree in management from Cardinal Stritch University. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated, one of the largest African-American sororities in the world, which has received international recognition for service to the community. The Milwaukee chapter has been honored for commitment to offering resources, support and programming for MIlwaukee’s inner city.
“Being a life-long Milwaukeean, I know the rich history of MATC. I am excited to join the college as we look to reshape the way in which we provide services to our community and position MATC as an employer of choice.” Bonds said. “The COVID-19 pandemic continues to pose challenges in our lives and our workplaces. In the midst of all of this, MATC is moving forward with new strategic priorities — the student experience, organizational excellence, equity and community impact.”
Wisconsin’s largest technical college and one of the most diverse two-year institutions in the Midwest, Milwaukee Area Technical College is a key driver of southeastern Wisconsin’s economy and has provided innovative education in the region since 1912. Nearly 35,000 students per year attend the college’s four campuses and community-based sites or learn online. MATC offers affordable and accessible education and training opportunities that empower and transform lives in the community. The college offers more than 150 academic programs; and transfer options leading to bachelor’s degrees with more than 35 four-year colleges and universities. Overwhelmingly, MATC graduates build careers and businesses in southeastern Wisconsin. The college is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.