State Board Committee Certifies Two Finalists for Rappahannock Community College Presidency

A committee of the State Board for Community Colleges has certified two finalists for the position of president at Rappahannock Community College. The finalists were among 70 applicants from across the nation.

The finalists are Dr. Shannon L. Kennedy of Shelby, North Carolina and Dr. Mellissia M. Zanjani of Burlington Township, New Jersey.

“The presidency of Rappahannock Community College is a terrific opportunity for an innovative and hard-working executive who is prepared to lead a small, rural college to the next level,” said Glenn DuBois, chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges. “And that is being reflected back to us in a strong, diverse, and competitive pool of applicants. We are excited about the possibilities we see in talented individuals stepping forward here.”


Dr. Shannon L. Kennedy has nearly 25 years of higher education experience and is a former television journalist. She began her career at Gardner-Webb University, in Boiling Springs, North Carolina, in 1996 as a public relations assistant. She later worked at the college as an adjunct English professor and director of Foundation and Corporate Relations. In 2000, she moved to Cleveland Community College, in Shelby, North Carolina to become the director of public relations and grants development. There, Kennedy has been promoted several times to positions including associate dean, dean, executive vice president of Instruction and Student Development, and to executive vice president – the position in which she currently works. Further, she has served as an on-site reaffirmation committee member of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC) for eight institutions over the past seven years. Kennedy earned a bachelor’s degree from Millersville University in Pennsylvania; a master’s degree from Appalachian State University; and a doctorate from North Carolina State University.


Dr. Mellissia M. Zanjani has nearly thirty years of higher education, nonprofit, and fundraising experience. She is also a 2010 Fellow of the Thomas Lakin Institute for Mentored Leadership. Zanjani began working at Towson University, in Maryland, in 1991 as a student advisor and director of the African-American Cultural Center Program. She joined the American Lung Association of New Jersey in 1993 as the northern regional program director. In 1998, she became the director of development and alumni relations for Harford Community College in Bel Air, Maryland. Zanjani moved to Tacoma Community College, in the State of Washington, in 2003 to become vice president for Institutional Advancement and foundation executive director. She held similar roles at Mercer County Community College in Trenton, New Jersey, in 2009; Georgian Court University in Lakewood, New Jersey, in 2013; and at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown in 2016. She became the vice president for Institutional Advancement at Lincoln University, in Lincoln University, Pennsylvania a year ago – the position she currently holds. Zanjani earned a bachelor’s degree from Chatham University, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; a master’s degree from Towson University; and a doctorate from Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon.

The two finalists seek to succeed Dr. Elizabeth Crowther, the college’s third president, who announced last fall that she is retiring at the end of June 2019, after serving in that role for 15 years. The finalists will individually visit the college in late April to meet with faculty, staff, students and community members.

RCC students, faculty, staff, community organizations and the general public are invited to attend open forums to learn more about the two finalists to be RCC’s next president.

On Monday, April 29, 2019, from 9:30am to 10:15am, Dr. Kennedy will introduce herself in the Lecture Hall at RCC’s Glenns campus (via interactive video to the Warsaw and Kilmarnock campuses). The forum will feature:

– Candidate Introduction.

– 15 minute candidate presentation on the primary challenges of regional service.

– 30 minute Q&A.

On Tuesday, April 30, 2019, from 9:30am to 10:15am, Dr. Zanjani will introduce herself in the same format.

Please visit Rappahannock Community College to learn more about the candidates at

About Rappahannock Community College

Rappahannock Community College, established in 1970, serves Virginia’s Northern Neck, Middle Peninsula and surrounding areas. RCC is home to multiple associate degrees and certificate programs, as well as robust and varied Workforce offerings. RCC has been named a “Great College to Work For” by the Chronicle of Higher Education since 2015. The College will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2020.


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