AFIT Executive Committee

Terry Murrell headshot

Dr. Terry Murrell


Dr. Terry Murrell serves as the President of Western Iowa Tech Community College (WITCC), a position he’s held since 2011. Dr. Murrell joined WITCC in 2007 as Vice President of Instruction and Student Services and was promoted to EVP in 2009.

Liz Murphy Headshot 2019 (244x244)

Liz Murphy

Immediate Past President

Liz Murphy is the chairman and CEO of CampusWorks, a strategic consulting firm that transforms higher education institutions by providing an independent perspective and creative solutions to improve operations, reduce costs, and position students for success.

Leah Bornstein headshot large

Dr. Leah Bornstein

President Elect

Dr. Leah L. Bornstein was named the sixth president and CEO of Aims Community College on Aug. 1, 2015, by the Aims Board of Trustees. Aims Community College is a public, fully accredited, two-year college with multiple sites in northern Colorado.


Dr. Jackie Elliott


Dr. Jackie Elliott is the President of Central Arizona College, a position she has held since July 2016. As a first generation college student herself, Dr. Elliott has a strong passion for designing and implementing programs designed to ensure student success.

Christine Sobek AFIT Member At Large

Dr. Christine Sobek

Member at Large

Dr. Christine J. Sobek became the fourth president of Waubonsee Community College on July 1, 2001. Dr. Sobek has 40 years of community college administrative experience.

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Dr. Kate Hetherington

Member at Large

Dr. Kate Hetherington is the President of Howard Community College, a position she has held since 2007. Under her leadership, HCC won a Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award in the category of education in 2019.


Dr. Cris Valdez

Member at Large

Dr. Cristobal “Cris” Valdez has been the president of Richland Community College since August 2016. Dr. Valdez believes that community colleges should remain open-door institutions that aspire to both high academic standards and high rates of student success and completion.

AFIT Staff


John Politi

Executive Director

John J. Politi is the President of The Avalon Group (TAG), a consulting firm specializing in all aspects of the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program. Mr. Politi is a member of the Board of Examiners for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, our nation’s highest award for performance excellence, and has served for more than six years as a Senior Examiner. He is a nationally recognized expert on leadership systems, strategic planning, customer service and relationship building, measurement systems, human resource management, and process management. He was awarded the Governor’s Quality Leadership Award by Missouri Governor Mel Carnahan in 1997.

Julie Rekart joins AFIT.

Julie Rekart, CPA

Finance Coordinator

Julie Rekart is a certified public accountant with degrees in management, from Colorado State University, and accounting, from Metropolitan State College. She has experience in a variety of industries, from telecommunications to manufacturing to building products.


Laura Helminski

Learning Partner & Event Coordinator

Laura Helminski has served as the Coordinator of the Summer Institute since 2004. She has Faculty Emeritus recognition from Rio Salado College, AZ. During her years as a full-time faculty member, she also served as Rio Salado College Chair of the Student Learning Outcomes Team for 10 years, co-chair of two Accreditation Self Study committees, a Learning Organization trainer and facilitator, a Continuous Quality Improvement trainer and facilitator. Laura was also a past Faculty Senate President, and was Faculty Development and Staff Development Coordinator for 15 years. She was Rio Salado College’s 2009 Woman of Distinction. 

Photo of Nikki Gingrich, AFIT membership coordinator

Nikki Gingrich

Membership Coordinator

Nikki Gingrich has been helping non-profit organizations with fundraising and marketing efforts for over a decade. She spent five years in higher ed as the Director of Alumni Relations at her alma mater, DeSales University, where she earned both a bachelor's degree in communication and an MBA in marketing.

Paul Klute-AFIT

Paul Klute

Website Coordinator

Paul Klute is the Director of the Office of Institutional Research at the University of Georgia.  He earned his master’s and bachelor’s degrees in business administration from Northwest Missouri State University.

Erika Liodice Headshot (AFIT)

Erika Liodice

Marketing Coordinator

Erika Liodice is the Marketing Communication Manager at CampusWorks. Before this, she spent a decade working in sales, marketing, and advertising for some of the world’s most recognized brands. Erika is a graduate of Lehigh University, where she earned her B.S. in Business and Economics with a concentration in Spanish.