Featured Administrators

Meet our featured administrators:

Brent BetitDr. Brent Betit
Chief Operating Officer
Oksana HagertyDr. Oksana Hagerty
Dean of the Center for Student Success
Dale HeroldDale Herold
Vice President of Admissions and Enrollment Management
Rich KillionRich Killion
Vice President for Advancement & Strategy
Manzo, DanaDana Manzo
Dean of Campus Wellness and Student Development
Alexander Morris-WoodAlexander (Alex) Morris-Wood
Associate Vice President, Transitions and the Student Experience
Darryl OwensDarryl E. Owens
Associate Vice President, Communications and Engagement
Sandi Rysell, CFOSandi Rysell
Chief Financial Officer

 


Dr. Brent Betit
Chief Operating Officer

I have spent my career working with Distinctive Thinkers — individuals with learning differences, whose cognitive distinctions often result in enormous creative gifts, uncommon fortitude, and a powerful drive to persevere.  For an educator, supporting Distinctive Thinkers in attaining success is incredibly meaningful, and it also fosters an indomitable commitment to social justice — to ensuring that different ways of learning do not foreordain students to different ways of living.” 

Brent BetitDr. Brent Betit is the chief operating officer at Beacon College. 

With a wide-ranging career in education, Betit most recently served as head of school at The Fletcher School for five years, where he was recognized by the Board and Chair for multiple hallmark achievements, including: quintupled the endowment, launched a community-wide diversity, equity, and inclusion initiative, raised faculty salaries by an average of 18%, attained record enrollment and retention, and significantly increased financial aid fundraising and awards to families.

Previously, Betit served as a staff founder at Landmark College, serving nearly three decades in this academic community.  While at Landmark, he served as senior vice president, executive vice president and provost and held many senior management positions.

His diverse career includes teaching at the elementary, middle, and high school levels and serving as director of operations for a construction company, founding a technology company, and working as a journalist for a national magazine.

Previously, Betit also held the position of deputy executive director for educational affairs of the King Salman Center for Disability Research in Saudi Arabia, overseeing the Academic Training Division – where he co-developed a Transition to University Program for International Students (the Summer for Success) for Beacon College as an element of the college’s strategic plan. He also established cooperative agreements with U.S. universities, and developed the foundation for a five-year, kingdom-level strategic plan, The King Salman National Program for Learning Disabilities.

A magna cum laude graduate of Dartmouth College in English Language and Literature, with major honors of highest distinction, he later received his doctorate in education at Fielding Graduate University.

Betit, a seventh generation Vermonter, and his wife, Julie, are the proud parents of two phenomenally successful adult sons – both with ADD (just like their father).

[Top]

Shelly Chandler, PhD
Provost

Transformation happens at Beacon every day and no two days are the same for us – or for our students. 

Shelly ChandlerDr. Shelly Chandler is the Provost at Beacon College.

Dr. Chandler is also actively involved in several critical Beacon initiatives, including the College’s accreditation, serving as the liaison with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.  In this role, Chandler was instrumental in designing the curriculum for three new majors and steered the successful accreditation process.  She leads the College’s summer COMPASS program for international students.  Chandler also conducts New Employee Training for all College personnel so all new employees become versed in the field of learning disabilities.

Additionally, Chandler has worked with Beacon students as the sponsor of Student Government Association, served as academic advisor, and leads an international travel program each summer for the students.  She received the Outstanding Service Award for the academic years 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2010.

Dr. Chandler joined Beacon College in 2002 and served as the Chair of the Human Services Department before assuming her current position.  Prior to joining Beacon, she was a program director at Lakeside Alternatives in the Children Outpatient Services area, where she directed 40 mental health professionals.  Chandler is a licensed mental health counselor, a certified animal-assisted therapist, and a certified clinical hypnotherapist.

Dr. Chandler holds a doctorate in philosophy with a counseling specialization from Barry University, a master of science degree in counseling and psychology from Troy State University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Oakland University.

Dr. Chandler is a regular presenter at professional and academic conferences, including the 4th International Conference on Disability and Rehabilitation in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Learning Disabilities of America International Conference, Southern Commission of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges Annual Meeting and Conference, the American Counseling Association Conference & Exposition, and the International Conference on Critical Thinking.

[Top]

Dr. Oksana Hagerty
Dean of the Center for Student Success

“When students come to Beacon, their learning difference is often just a fact of their life. When they leave, it becomes an action item: what do I do about it? what resources, compensatory strategies, and positive habits do I employ to be successful? how do I tell my story to the world?”

Oksana Hagerty Dr. Oksana Hagerty serves as the Dean of the Center for Student Success at Beacon College. The Center is the home of seventeen learning specialists serving the individualized academic support needs of students at three levels: freshman, sophomore, and junior/senior. The mission of the Center for Student Success is to create meaningful and sustainable academic progress by helping students meet the standards of personal independence and responsibility.

With a Ph.D. in Educational and Developmental Psychology as well as a post-doctoral certificate in Applied Behavioral Analysis, she specializes in academic support, cognitive abilities, and learning disabilities interventions. She joined Beacon in 2014 as a learning specialist and academic advisor and transitioned to the leadership role in the Center in 2020.

During her time at Beacon, Dr. Oksana Hagerty has also taught classes in education and participated in a range of programs from the first Summer for Success in 2015 to the most recent coaching certificate offering commissioned by the Sharjah Center for Learning Difficulties in the UAE.

Dr. Hagerty is a frequent contributor to professional and popular outlets in the areas of student performance management, learning and attention issues, as well as developmental perspectives on education. She is the author of twenty scholarly publications in three languages.

[Top]

Dale Herold
Vice President of Admissions and Enrollment Management

I love introducing Beacon College to thousands of prospective students and their families because it gives them access to a transformational college experience they would not otherwise have had.

Dale HeroldDale Herold is the Vice President of Admissions & Enrollment Management at Beacon College.  In this role she oversees the Offices of Admissions and Financial Aid. She is also actively involved in several critical Beacon initiatives, including the development of short-term program offerings, such as the Breakthrough Semester for Visiting College Students and the COMPASS Programs for international students.

Ms. Herold joined Beacon College in 2014.  Prior to joining Beacon, she was the Vice President for Enrollment Management from 2003-2013, at Landmark College in Putney, Vermont which is the only other college exclusively serving students with diagnosed learning differences. In her role at Landmark College, Ms. Herold supervised several offices: Admissions, Financial Aid, Transfer Services, Study Abroad and Short Term programs. Ms. Herold grew the enrollment to over 500 students before her departure in 2013.  She is overseeing similarly robust expansion at Beacon.

Before joining Landmark College Ms. Herold held the senior enrollment management positions at two large comprehensive universities: Catholic University in Washington DC and Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey. At Fairleigh Dickinson University, Ms. Herold managed a staff of 120 spread across three campuses and was also responsible for managing Student Accounts and Registration Services. Ms. Herold played a key role in restructuring and reorganizing student business service operations into a “one-stop shopping” model.

Ms. Herold holds a BA in communication arts from Molloy College.  She is a regular presenter at professional and academic conferences.

[Top]

Richard J. Killion
Vice President for Advancement and Strategy

“It is a privilege to tell the story of the drive and perseverance of our students – and, it is humbling to work with incredible people who make valued contributions in support of the future of our students and our institution. Their personal investment in Beacon is a significant public testament that our mission is being realized in our students’ daily lives.”

Rich KillionRich Killion is the vice president for advancement & strategy at Beacon College. In his role as chief strategic development and external relations officer, he provides strategic vision and oversight for the department primarily responsible for fundraising, external relations, communications, and the conduct of the college’s comprehensive capital campaign.

Prior to joining Beacon, Killion co-founded and served as managing partner of Elevare Communications for 16 years. At the Concord, NH public affairs firm, he counseled CEOs, chairpersons, and other C-suite leadership on strategic communications, government relations and community engagement. Rich managed a myriad number of statewide campaigns and initiatives; including serving as a general consultant to Senate President Chuck Morse and as senior New Hampshire strategist for the presidential primary campaigns of Governors Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney, and Tim Pawlenty.

Killion also boasts a lengthy background in higher education. At Franklin Pierce University, he served in a number of leadership roles in fundraising and public relations, including the successful oversight of the college’s first capital campaign.

Previously, Rich was appointed by Governor Sununu to serve on the board of trustees for the Community College System of New Hampshire (CCSNH) – where he was Chair of Governance and a member of the Executive Committee. Killion also served as Chair of the Board of Directors for the Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce.

Rich is dedicated to the social mobility of Florida residents and the economic development of the state. He serves on the board of trustees for the Florida Chamber of Commerce Foundation, on the Investor Committee for the Orlando Economic Partnership (OEP), is Beacon’s representative with Lake 100 and Leesburg Partnership, and is a graduate of the 100th class of Leadership Orlando.

Killion earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Stonehill College and holds a master’s degree in public administration from George Mason University.

[Top]

Dana Manzo
Dean of Campus Wellness and Student Development

“The moment I stepped foot on campus, I knew this was where I wanted to be. It was here that I discovered the power of belonging, connection and true empowerment.”

Manzo, DanaDana Manzo is the Dean of Campus Wellness and Student Development at Beacon College.  In this role she is responsible for the successful integration and delivery of health and well-being services to the Beacon community, including Counseling and Health Services, Occupational Therapy, Fitness and Athletics, Community Education and Student Citizenship and Integrity.

Dana joined Beacon College in 2012 initially serving as a Mental Health Counselor and then became the Director of Counseling Services in 2017. As Director of Counseling, Dana implemented a new model expanding access to mental health care and support.

Dana brings over ten years of experience in the mental health field to her new role as Dean and will work with colleagues across campus to instill a culture of health and wellness that enhances students’ capacity to develop lifelong skills.

Prior to Beacon, Dana counseled juvenile sexual abuse victims at The Healing Tree Sexual Trauma Recovery Center and has also worked in private practice where she consulted on children’s issues and Post-Partum Depression. Dana earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology at New York Institute of Technology and her master’s degree in counseling psychology from Palm Beach Atlantic University. Dana is currently working on a doctorate degree in counseling education and supervision from National Louis University. She recently has been quoted by Western New York Family Magazine and ParentOC Magazine and has appeared as an expert on the “A World of Difference” TV show.

[Top]

Alexander (Alex) Morris-Wood
Associate Vice President, Transitions and the Student Experience

Beacon College challenges the norms of higher education model through our student-centered programming, family collaboration, and supportive work environment.  Working at a college that fosters innovation to enhance the student experience is truly an honor.   

Alexander Morris-WoodAlexander (Alex) Morris-Wood is the associate vice president of transitions and the student experience at Beacon College.  In his role, he oversees college readiness programs, housing and residence life, student activities, orientation, and supports the admissions operations. Morris-Wood joined Beacon College in 2018 and created and implemented Navigator PREP, the country’s first virtual transition-to-college program for students with learning and attention issues.  Since 2018, Navigator PREP has expanded, now working with high school juniors (Navigator PREP Jr.) and college students (Navigator PREP – College Coaching).  Additionally, Morris-Wood oversees Summer for Success and created Beacon Foundations, a live, virtual online semester program for students who learn differently. 

He has been a contributor to other College initiatives including Project Discovery with the Sharjah Center for Learning Difficulties and more recently, the design and implementation of the Triadic Developmental Model, which allows for a more holistic wrap-around support model for Beacon students.  Morris-Wood has designed training programs for state and private colleges and consults with high schools to evaluate their transition model and curriculum.  He is now designing curricula for school districts to support dual enrollment for students with learning differences.  

With 15 years of experience in special education, Morris-Wood previously worked in the private school sector for students with Asperger’s Syndrome and nonverbal learning disabilities as a teacher, department chair, assistant dean of students, and director of transition programming.   

He presents nationally and internationally on topics related to systemic barriers in higher education for students with learning disabilities. 

Morris-Wood was identified as one of the Top 100 Educational Leaders in America by the Global Forum for Education and Learning. 

He has a BA from Connecticut College in History & American Studies, an MS in Mental Health Counseling from Post University and is pursuing his doctorate in educational policy from University of Missouri.

[Top]

Darryl E. Owens
Associate Vice President, Communications and Engagement

“As a communicator and a proud parent of a Beacon alumnus, I am blessed with helping the world discover the value and strengths of neurodivergent citizens by sharing their very human stories of travail and triumph in their own voices.”

Darryl OwensDarryl E. Owens is the associate vice president, communications and engagement at Beacon College. In this role, he maintains the overall management and supervisory responsibility for external and internal communication functions at Beacon College including branding and messaging, website content, social media, media relations and program development on various media platforms, photography, and preparation and editing of external and internal communications, and the Beacon Salon Speaker Series. He also is the creator and host of the college’s Telly Award-winning neurodiversity-focused television program, “A World of Difference.” In September, begins its PBS run locally on Orlando’s PBS station, WUCF, and on PBS outlets nationally.

Prior to joining Beacon, Owens worked for 25 years as a features writer, columnist and editorial writer at the Orlando Sentinel. During his award-winning Sentinel career, he stood side-by-side with neurosurgeons during two brain surgeries chronicling their mastery with their scalpels, covered the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, interviewed Hall of Fame athletes, civil rights icons, and buzzed around in police helicopters. 

Owens also discussed issues impacting Central Florida and the state during his short-lived segment, “Darryl Owens Perspectives” on Orlando NPR-affiliate WMFE-FM and was a regular voice on the station’s Friday news roundup on its “Intersection” program.

His journalism career included a handful of awards including First Place, Commentary and Criticism, in the 2012 Sunshine State Awards and First Place, News Commentary in the 2010 National Association of Black Journalists “Salute to Excellence Awards.

As a PR practitioner, Owens has earned a PRSA Orlando Radiance Award, Grand Image and Image awards from the Florida Public Relations Association, gold awards from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), and honorable mentions in the PR News CSR & Diversity Awards among other awards.

He is dedicated to community service, including a stint on the board of directors of Lake Cares Food Bank and his current service on the board of directors of Community Health Centers. He is also an ordained deacon.

Owens earned his Bachelor of Arts in journalism at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

[Top]

Sandi Rysell
Chief Financial Officer

“Every single day is an opportunity to learn. We learn about life, the world and ourselves as well as what is taught in the classroom. This applies to our students, our faculty, our staff and everyone we come in contact with. Working in an environment that supports and nurtures a learning culture is truly a blessing.”

Sandi Rysell, CFOSandi Rysell is the chief financial officer at Beacon College. In this role, she is responsible for the accounting, budgeting, banking, payroll, audit, and investment functions of the institution. In addition, she oversees the management of the campus Bookstore.

Before her appointment as CFO, Sandi served Beacon as the Director of Finance & Accounting. Sandi has considerable experience in financial management in both the private and not-for-profit sector. Previously, she served for nearly twenty years as the Controller of a nationwide manufacturing and distribution company. In addition, she was the Controller of Noble of Indiana, an organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for people with disabilities and also worked on the Controller’s staff at Baylor University for several years.

Sandi holds a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Bowling Green State University. She earned her Certified Public Accountant license in 1980.

[Top]