2020-2021 ACEN Board of Commissioners Election

ACEN Board of Commissioners Election

2020 – 2021 Ballot

The 2020 ACEN Board of Commissioners election will begin on April 1, 2020. Votes may be cast until May 31, 2020, and newly elected commissioners will take office October 1, 2020.

The following positions are open:

  1. Two nurse educators for a three-year term representing associate nursing programs
  2. One nurse educator for a three-year term representing practical nursing programs.
  3. One nurse clinician for a three-year term representing nursing service
  4. One member of the public for a three-year term

Nursing Educator Representatives – Associate

Patricia Cannistraci, DNS, RN, CNE
Dean of Nursing
St. Peter’s Health Partners, Samaritan Hospital
Troy, New York


Dr. Patricia Cannistraci, DNS, RN, CNE earned her Doctorate of Nursing Science and Master’s degree in nursing from the Sage Colleges, and a Bachelor’s in nursing from Long Island University. She has held certification as a Certified Nurse Educator since 2013. Dr. Cannistraci is the Dean of Samaritan Hospital School of Nursing. She provides oversight of the Practical and Associate Degree Nursing programs. Dr. Cannistraci holds in high regard the long and rich history of the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) in its support of excellence in nursing education and nursing practice through specialized accreditation.

Dr. Cannistraci has 40 years of nursing experience with 35 of those years in nursing education. As a nurse educator she has taught at the associate, baccalaureate, master’s, and doctorate levels and in face-to-face, online, and competency-based programs. She has expertise in curriculum design, program evaluation, and nursing leadership, and has presented her research at local, state, national, and international conferences.

Since 2018, Dr. Cannistraci has served as an ACEN site visitor and peer evaluator for the New York State Education Department. She is a member of several professional associations including Sigma, the National League for Nursing, the American Nursing Association, and the Organization for Associate Degree Nursing, and holds leadership roles in numerous local nursing organizations. She serves on the Board of Directors for a local homeless shelter for women and children, currently in the capacity of vice-president. She is an active member of the Medical Reserve Corps maintaining extensive training and responding to local disasters.

Dr. Cannistraci is honored to be nominated for a seat on the ACEN Board of Commissioners. Her interest is fueled by her personal passion to serve the nursing profession through excellence in nursing education.

Diane Evans-Prior, DNP, MSN, RN
Academic Affairs Director for Nursing
Central New Mexico Community College
Albuquerque, New Mexico


Diane Evans-Prior, DNP, MSN, RN is a long-time New Mexico resident. She has worked as a bedside nurse in hospital, long term care, orthopedics, home health, and intermediate care settings. Passionate about sustainability in nursing, she has been a nursing instructor at Central New Mexico Community College (CNM) since 2001, moving into the director role in 2012 where she still serves as the Academic Affairs Director for Nursing. During her tenure, she has helped the program nearly double in capacity, accepting 96 students three times annually. In addition to the program growth she has made the program more accessible, more affordable, and more ethnically diverse for the student population it serves.

Committed to rural as well as urban nursing education needs, Dr. Evans-Prior helped to develop and implement the New Mexico Nursing Education Consortium (NMNEC) curriculum which is fully shared and implemented amongst 12 publically funded colleges and universities across the state. This consortium has provided the opportunity for the prelicensure BSN to be offered at eight community college locations through a unique partnership with the state’s three universities. This groundbreaking model also allows for seamless transfer between NMNEC schools.

Dr. Evans-Prior earned her Doctorate of Nursing Practice from the University of New Mexico in 2016, focusing her studies on the need for transition to practice programs in hospital and non-hospital settings. Because of her doctoral work, she contributed to the development of the ACEN Transition to Practice Accreditation Standards which are in place today. She currently serves on the NMNEC Leadership Council, the executive team of the New Mexico Center for Nursing Excellence, the New Mexico Action Coalition, and volunteers as a peer evaluator, team chair, and Evaluation Review Panel member for the ACEN. She presents regularly at both national and local conferences and has authored many publications. In her off-hours, she enjoys spending time with her husband of more than thirty years and her two children.

Cheryl Shaffer, PhD, RN, PNP, ANP
College Associate Dean
School of Nursing, Suffolk County Community College
Sayville, New York


Dr. Cheryl Shaffer, PhD, RN, PNP, ANP is the College Associate Dean for the School of Nursing at Suffolk County Community College in Long Island, New York. Dr. Shaffer has served as the Nurse Administrator for the associate, mobility and practical nursing programs at her institution for the past six years, and has been a member of the faculty for seventeen years. She leads the faculty in the nursing programs offered on three campus locations.

Dr. Shaffer has served the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing since 2014 as a peer evaluator and team chair where she has conducted focused, multiple program and coordinated site visits as well as serves as an evaluation review panel member. Additionally, Dr. Shaffer continues to serve as a peer evaluator for the New York State Education Department Office of Professions for practical and associate degree nursing programs.

Dr. Shaffer has experience in curriculum redesign, strategic planning, and expansion in program enrollment greater than 50%. She currently serves as a co-chair for The State University of New York SUNY) transfer path in nursing revision representing the lower division/associate degree transfer pathway. Dr. Shaffer spearheaded two joint-admission agreements (“2+2”) with local universities for associate degree students to be dually enrolled into an RN-BS completion program.

Dr. Shaffer has published in peer-reviewed journals, served as a Ph.D. dissertation committee member, and is a frequent conference speaker. She is currently managing a grant from the New York State Department of Health that funds tuition, fees and equipment for health-care workers retraining to become a licensed practical nurse.

Prior to her professional career in nursing education, Dr. Shaffer worked as a nurse practitioner in a family practice.

Dr. Shaffer holds a PhD in nursing research from Rutgers, The State University of NJ, a Master’s of Science Degree from Syracuse University and a Bachelor’s of Science degree from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.

Elizabeth Sloan Davidson, PhD, RN, CNE
Chairperson and Associate Professor
University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Little Rock, Arkansas


Dr. Elizabeth Sloan Davidson, PhD, RN, CNE began her nursing career in 1992 as an obstetric nurse, after completing licensed practical nurse training. She became a registered nurse in 1994, working labor/delivery and staff development, while also teaching parents as a certified childbirth educator. Her career as a nurse educator began in 2008 as an instructor for the University of Arkansas (UA) at Little Rock, Department of Nursing. During the past 10 years, she earned a Master’s Degree in Nursing Education from Walden University in 2011 and a Ph.D. in Nursing Science from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in 2017. Her dissertation topic was a quantitative study titled, Presence of Authentic Leadership and Bullying in the Nursing Workplace: A Correlational Study. Promotion to Associate Professor with tenure was granted in July 2017. She served as the Associate Degree in Nursing Program Coordinator from 2014 until stepping into the role of the Nursing Department Chairperson position in January 2019. The UA Little Rock Department of Nursing employs 26 full-time faculty, over 40 adjunct faculty, four full-time staff members and sees an enrollment of over 800 students across multiple programs. Program options include a traditional Associate Degree RN, transitional LPN/Paramedic to RN, and RN-BSN online completion. Dr. Davidson is experienced in curriculum design, simulation, program assessment and accreditation. She currently serves as an ACEN Peer Evaluator and is a certified nurse educator through the National League of Nursing.

Nursing Educator Representatives – Practical

Claudia Estrada-Hickman, MSN, RN, CNE
Director of Nursing Education Programs
Emily Griffith Technical College, Denver Public Schools
Denver, Colorado


Claudia Estrada-Hickman, MSN, RN, CNE has been a registered nurse since 1985. She obtained her associate degree in nursing from New Mexico State University (NMSU) Carlsbad, her BSN from University of New Mexico in 1997 and an MSN from University of Phoenix in 2002. In 2010, she obtained a Certified Nurse Education certificate from the National League of Nursing.

Estrada-Hickman worked in a variety of acute care settings, throughout her early career as a nurse, focusing on adult critical care. She joined NMSU Carlsbad in 1999, as a full time nurse faculty responsible for medical surgical nursing and pharmacology. She earned the rank of full professor at NMSU Carlsbad. Claudia was awarded the Donald C. Roush Award for outstanding teaching at the community college in 2006 and 2012. She was named the director of the practical certificate and associate degree program at NMSU Carlsbad in 2013. She remained in this role unit May 15, 2019. Currently, she is the director of nursing education programs at Emily Griffith Technical College in Denver Colorado.

Ms. Estrada-Hickman has served as an ACEN Peer Evaluator since 2013, and team chair since 2015. She has participated on several Evaluation Review Panels with the ACEN. Claudia was a member, vice chair and chair of the Nursing Education Advisory Committee (NEAC) of the New Mexico Board of Nursing (NMBON) from 2013-2019. During her membership on NEAC, Estrada-Hickman participated in numerous nursing program site visits with staff of the NMBON; participated in discipline subcommittee meetings and assisted with the revision of the rules and regulations regarding the number of times graduate nurses may take the NCLEX-PN and NCLEX-RN examinations. Claudia has served on NCSBN NCLEX-PN and NCLEX-RN item writing panels on four occasions, the last one being July 2019 which focused on the Next Generation NCLEX.

Sherri Lindsey, DNP, MSNEd, RN
Nursing Department Chair
College of Southern Nevada
Las Vegas, Nevada


Dr. Sherri Lindsey, DNP, MSNEd, RN received Doctorate in Nursing Practice Specialty Nurse Executive Leadership from University of Nevada Reno and is currently the Nursing Department Chair at the College of Southern Nevada. Dr. Lindsey strongly advocates for mentoring of new graduate nurses. She encourages students to be involved in a variety of community service organizations that provide them with opportunities to utilize their critical thinking skills as a nurse. Her professional interests, besides mentoring, is increasing graduate nurse retention after the first two years of nursing school. Dr. Lindsey started Nurse to Nurse Consultants, tutoring nursing students while in school and for NCLEX preparation.

Dr. Lindsey’s passion is educating nurses in becoming excellent healthcare providers. As a result of being a member of the groundbreaking National Council of State Board of Nursing Simulation Study in 2010, her professional interests focus on the use of simulation in nursing education. Additionally, she serves as a member of the American Nurses Association, Golden Key Honor Society, Nevada Action Committee, Nevada Alliance for Nursing Excellence, Nevada Nurses Association, Nevada Nurse Foundation, Organization of Associates Degree Nursing, and Sigma Theta Tau. She was recently honored by the Nevada Nurses Foundation with the People’s Choice Chief Nursing Officer of the Year for her contributions as a leader; providing a positive, supportive, and collaborative work environment for colleagues; and fostering the enhancement of the nursing profession in Nevada.

Her prior positions include Director of Education for Las Vegas Rehabilitation and Director of Quality for Encompass Rehabilitation (formerly Health South Rehabilitation). Dr. Lindsey has previously served in various nursing positions including Intensive Care, Outpatient Surgery and for Willis Knighton Health Systems in Shreveport, Louisiana as a case manager. Willis Knighton Health Systems is comprised of four acute care hospitals, five urgent care centers, eighteen specialty care centers, two community health and wellness centers, three extended care centers, a senior care community, hospice and home health.

Nursing Educator Representatives – Associate

Carolyn Jo McCormies, MS, RN, APRN, FNP-BC
Family Nurse Practitioner
Mount Graham Family Medicine
Safford, Arizona


Carolyn McCormies, MS, RN, APRN, FNP-BC has been a Registered Nurse for 30 years and a Board-Certified Family Nurse Practitioner since 2004.  She is the Director of an Associate’s Degree Nursing Program, Eastern Arizona College, located in beautiful Thatcher, Arizona.  She has a love for rural healthcare, and also practices as an advanced practice provider caring for patients of all ages.  She has practiced in most areas of nursing.  She has had the privilege of traveling to Honduras on medical missions and caring for the people of that culture.

Carolyn has participated in writing NCLEX© test questions several times and was on the standard setting panel for the 2019 NCLEX© RN exam.

Carolyn serves on the Arizona State Board of Nursing.  She has served on the Education Advisory Committee, a subcommittee of the Board of Nursing for the past nine years.  Carolyn also currently serves as a District Board member of Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center.  She graduated with an associate’s degree from Mesa Community College, then received a Bachelor’s degree and an MS in Nursing and Family Nurse Practitioner from Arizona State University.  Her greatest accomplishment is wife, mother and grandmother.

Carolyn’s professional memberships include the Arizona Nurses Association, the American Nurses Association, National League for Nursing, the Organization for Associate Degree Nursing, and Sigma Theta Tau.  She was named “Outstanding Nurse Champion” in Arizona by the Arizona Nurses Association in 2017.

Carolyn has contributed for the Accrediting Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) as a peer evaluator.  Carolyn is also a site visitor for the National League for Nursing (NLN) Center of Excellence.

Raquel Pasarón, DNP, ARNP, FNP-BC
Nurse Practitioner
Colorectal Center, Nicklaus Children’s Hospital
Miami, Florida


Dr. Raquel Pasarón, DNP, ARNP, FNP-BC has been affiliated with Nicklaus Children’s Hospital (NCH) since 2007. She currently works as a Nurse Practitioner (NP) for the Department of Pediatric Surgery/Colorectal Program. This program was jointly started by Raquel and one of the colorectal surgeons in August 2018, and provides care to a population of children that were going out of state to seek acute and long-term care. This program is the only program of its kind in the state of Florida.

Raquel holds a non-physician faculty position in the pediatric surgery fellowship program, and is a NP student practicum preceptor for the University of Miami and University of South Alabama. Prior to joining NCH, she served in several advanced practice roles which included: lead NP for the pediatric surgery service, clinical specialist in nursing staff professional development, research NP, and neurosurgical NP/administrator. She was a clinical assistant professor and director of the foreign physician-BSN program at FIU, and clinical instructor at FIU and Miami Dade College. She began her nursing career at NCH as a staff nurse and then as assistant nurse manager before pursuing graduate education.

Dr. Pasarón holds board certifications from the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a Family Nurse Practitioner, Pain Management, and Nursing Staff Development. She is a member of many nursing organizations and honor societies, including Sigma Theta Tau. She served eight years as a board member of the American Pediatric Surgical Nurses Association, Inc. (APSNA). She was the President of APSNA in 2015-2016.

She has done research, authored book chapters, presented locally, regionally and at the national level, and written in the area of pediatric surgery specialty, nurse practitioner job satisfaction, and nitrous oxide administration. Accreditation experience includes service as a site visitor for ACEN, serving two, three-year terms as a Board of Commissioner, and serving on the ACEN Executive Committee as Secretary.

She is the recipient of the 2011 Florida Nurses’ Association Advanced Nursing Practice Award, the 2011 March of Dimes Nurse of the Year Award in Advanced Practice for Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties, and the 2012 Miami Children’s Hospital Magnet Nurse of the Year for New Knowledge, Innovation, and Improvement. She was the APSNA Founders recipient in 2016, an award that recognizes excellence in pediatric surgical nursing.

Public Member Representatives

Steven W. Eckman, DMin
York College
York, Nebraska


Dr. Steven W. Eckman, DMin a 1971 YC graduate, has served as the 20th president of York College since 2009. Prior to returning to York, he served as executive vice president at Ohio Valley University.
Eckman started his career as director of admissions and financial aid at York College in the 1970s. He later served in a variety of roles with Lubbock Christian University in Lubbock, Texas. Eckman has also served as senior grant administrator for the J.F Maddox Foundation and minister of the Taylor Street Church of Christ in Hobbs, NM. He holds a Doctor of Ministry degree from Amridge University, and a Master of Divinity degree and a Master of Biblical Studies degree from Abilene Christian University.