2022-2023 ACEN Board of Commissioners Election and ACEN Nominating Committee Election

2022-2023 ACEN Board of Commissioners and ACEN Nominating Committee Election

The 2022 ACEN Board of Commissioners and ACEN Nominating Committee election will begin on April 1, 2022. Votes may be cast until May 31, 2022, and newly elected members will take office October 1, 2022.

The following positions are open:

ACEN Board of Commissioners

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

ACEN Nominating Committee

  1. One nurse educator, nursing clinician/practitioner, or member of the public for a three-year term

ACEN Board of Commissioners Ballot

Nursing Educator Representatives – Baccalaureate

Amy Hall, PhD, RN, CNE
Professor and Dean, School of Nursing
Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University
Baton Rouge, Louisiana


Dr. Amy Hall, PhD, RN, CNE is a Professor of Nursing and the Dean of the School of Nursing at Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She currently leads faculty, students, and staff in the BSN, RN to BSN, MSN-FNP, and DNP Nurse Anesthesia programs.

Dr. Hall earned her BSN and PhD in nursing from Saint Louis University and her MS in nursing from the University of Illinois-Chicago. Dr. Hall has expertise in curriculum design, program evaluation, and nursing leadership. She has developed and taught study abroad courses in a variety of countries including England, China, Portugal, and the Dominican Republic. Dr. Hall also consults with other nursing programs in designing and implementing curricular change and designing effective program assessment and evaluation plans.

Dr. Hall has been an ACEN site visitor since Fall 2008 and became a team chair in Fall 2011. She served as an Evaluation Review Panel Member (ERP) from January 2012-July 2015 and was a member of the Board of Commissioners from 2015-2021. During her term on the Board of Commissioners, Dr. Hall chaired the 2017 ACEN Standards and Criteria Revision Subcommittee for baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral nursing education programs. Currently, she is a member of the ERP and is on the 2023 ACEN Standards and Criteria Review Steering Committee, with a special focus on Curriculum and Outcomes. She also serves as a visitor for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Additionally, Dr. Hall is a member of several professional associations including Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, the National League for Nursing, the American Nurses Association, the Louisiana State Nurses Association, and the Baton Rouge District Nurses Association. Dr. Hall is also the secretary for the Louisiana Council of Administrators of Nursing Education (LACANE). A certified disaster nurse, Dr. Hall has provided professional presentations nationally on a variety of topics such as evidence-based teaching and learning strategies, designing and evaluating a concept-based curriculum, and leading faculty through change. When she is not spreading her passion for nursing and nursing education with others, Dr. Hall co-authors Fundamentals of Nursing, and enjoys cooking, baking, pacing races, and running marathons.

Michele D. Heston, PhD, MSN, RN, CNE
Dean of Health Sciences
South Florida State College
Avon Park, Florida


Dr. Michele D. Heston, PhD, MSN, RN, CNE is currently the Dean of Health Sciences at South Florida State College where she oversees all healthcare-related programs and their accreditation. She also serves on the President’s Council as a senior-level administrator at the College. Prior to her current position, Dr. Heston was the Director of Nursing Education from 2008-2016, a full-time nursing instructor from 1997-2008, and an adjunct nursing instructor from 1985-1997.

In addition to her roles at the College, she recently served, through gubernatorial appointment, on the Board of Directors for the Florida Center for Nursing, Good Shepherd Hospice, and served as the recent past President of the Florida Council of Nursing Education Administrators. For ACEN, Dr. Heston has held the role of peer evaluator since 2014, team chair since 2016, and Evaluation Review Panel (ERP) member since 2018, and for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), she has had extensive involvement and leadership in regional accrediting initiatives since 2000.

Throughout the academic year, Dr. Heston presents on collaborative approaches to leadership at SACSCOC Annual Meetings and a variety of nursing conferences and workshops. Topics of interest include her signature faculty/student mentoring DUCK (Developing, Understanding, Compassion, and Knowledge) Program and the integration of Caring Science across the curriculum, specifically The Seven C’s of Caring: Competence, Compassion, Confidence, Conscience, Commitment, Communication, and Culture and the adoption of Dr. Joanne Duffy’s Quality Caring Model.

Dr. Heston earned her BSN from the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida; her MSN from Clarkson College in Omaha, Nebraska; and her PhD in Educational Leadership with a specialization in Higher Education Administration from Barry University in Miami, Florida. In May 2022, she will be licensed as a registered nurse for 40 years. Additionally, she has been credentialed as a certified nurse educator since 2015.

Recognizing the importance of accreditation as the hallmark of excellence in nursing education, it would be an honor to serve on the governing board for the ACEN. Thank you for the opportunity this nomination provides to serve our discipline.

Nursing Educator Representatives – Associate

Claudia Estrada-Hickman, MSN, CNE
Nursing Faculty
Pueblo Community College
Pueblo, Colorado


Ms. Claudia Estrada-Hickman, MSN, CNE has been a registered nurse since 1985, holding various nursing and management positions within acute care organizations. She began teaching at New Mexico State University (NMSU) Carlsbad in the associate degree program in 1999, earning the rank of Full Professor. Ms. Estrada-Hickman was the Nursing Program Director of the practical and associate degree programs at NMSU Carlsbad from 2013-2019. During her tenure at NMSU Carlsbad, Estrada-Hickman received the Donald C. Roush award for outstanding teaching on two occasions, 2006 and 2012. She served as the Director of Nursing Education at Emily Griffith Technical College in Denver, Colorado from July 2019 to January 2021. In January 2021, Estrada-Hickman joined Pueblo Community College in Pueblo, Colorado as a full-time nursing faculty member in the associate degree program.

Ms. Estrada-Hickman received her ADN from NMSU Carlsbad in 1985, her BSN from the University of New Mexico in 1997, and her MSN from the University of Phoenix in 2002. She has been credentialed as a certified nurse educator by the National League of Nursing since 2010.

Additionally, Ms. Estrada-Hickman was an active member of the Nursing Education Advisory Committee (NEAC) of the New Mexico Board of Nursing (NMBON) from 2014-2019, serving as vice chair and chair. During her membership on NEAC, Ms. Estrada-Hickman participated in nursing program site visits with NMBON staff and other committee members. The committee also recommended changes to the nurse practice act regarding attempts at the NCLEX-RN and NCLEX-PN examinations. She has served as an item writer for the National Council of State Boards of Nursing for the NCLEX-RN and NCLEX-PN examinations on multiple occasions.

Ms. Estrada-Hickman has been an active volunteer with the ACEN since 2013, serving as a peer evaluator and team chair, completing more than ten site visits. She has participated in numerous evaluation review panels and has mostly recently served on the 2023 Standards and Criteria Committee.

Emily Fink, MSN, RN
Director of Nursing Education Programs
Rowan-Cabarrus Community College
Kannapolis, North Carolina


Ms. Emily Fink, MSN, RN has been in nursing education for 19 years. She is the Director of Nursing Education Programs at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College in North Carolina. Ms. Fink has also supported the ACEN through participation as a site visit team member and a team chair for the past three years.

Additionally, Ms. Fink believes that the accreditation process allows programs to demonstrate the highest level of standards for the profession, and quality nursing education is necessary to graduate students who can provide safe and effective patient care and who can emulate clinical judgment skills in the clinical setting.

Ms. Fink enjoys spending time with her husband antiquing. She also has a 17-year-old son, Benjamin who is a junior in high school and is interested in teaching history. Also, she has four beautiful Buff Orpington chickens who believe that they should be “house chickens” and are funny, loving companions.

Nancy Phoenix Bittner, PhD, CNS, RN
Vice President for Education/Professor
Lawrence Memorial/Regis College Collaborative
Medford, Massachusetts

Dr. Nancy Phoenix Bittner, PhD, CNS, RN has held multiple roles in academic nursing settings in associate to doctoral level education for over 30 years. Her progressive leadership roles have led her to the current position as Vice President and Professor at Lawrence Memorial/Regis College. Dr. Bittner has been involved in accreditation with ACEN for over 20 years. She has filled the role of program evaluator, Evaluation Review Panel member, Appeals Panel member and has been a Commissioner. She has been on accreditation evaluation teams for the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education (MA DHE) and the New England Commission for Higher Education (NECHE). As a curriculum and evaluation expert, she has consulted for a wide range of nursing programs nationally and internationally.

Dr. Bittner has participated in several state and regional nursing committees and workgroups including as co-leader for the MA Action Coalition. She is active in a number of professional organizations at the state and national level. Dr. Bittner has held practice-based roles including roles in professional development, as a critical care CNS and nurse research scientist. She continues to pursue research in nursing education and practice. Her area of research is focused on critical thinking and processing, especially in students and newly-licensed nurses, as well as issues related to the nursing faculty shortage. She has published several articles and conducted numerous presentations related to her research at the state, regional, national, and international levels. In addition, she has a long history of global initiatives in both South America and Africa, which have also been published.

Sonya Franklin, EdD/CI, MHA, MSN, BSN, AS, ADN, CNE
Interim Director of Nursing/Professor of Nursing
Cleveland State Community College
Cleveland, Tennessee

Dr. Sonya Franklin, EdD/CI, MHA, MSN, BSN, AS, ADN, CNE joined Cleveland State Community College in January 2009. During her 13-year tenure at Cleveland State Community College, she served in various roles within the Department of Nursing including Freshmen Team Coordinator, lead faculty, and faculty member. In January of 2019, Dr. Franklin became the 12-month Nursing Faculty Simulation and Skills Lab Coordinator. In April 2021, she achieved provisional accreditation for the College’s Simulation Center. Effective January 3, 2022, she is serving as the Interim Director of Nursing at Cleveland State Community College.

Dr. Franklin has been an ACEN site visitor since 2013 and a team chair since 2015. In 2018, she also began serving on the ACEN Evaluation Review Panel. She has worked closely with the last two Directors of Nursing at Cleveland State Community College to assist and report on many of the accreditation requirements of the nursing program, which resulted in a successful accreditation review for the nursing program. As the Evaluation Committee Chair, she collects, maintains, and reports on data within the nursing department to assist in making data-driven decisions on ways to continue to serve all program stakeholders. In Fall 2021, Dr. Franklin was asked to work on the implementation of the Quality Improvement in Long Term Support Services (QuILTSS) program for the campus and has been moving that initiative forward with hopeful implementation in Fall 2022.

As a faculty member of the college campus, Dr. Franklin has served on numerous campus committees in supportive and leadership roles. She has been honored to serve as the Faculty Senate President as well as Faculty Senate Vice-President at varying points in time. Mentoring and supporting colleagues both in her department as well as in other departments is something she enjoys and strives to do often. As a tenured nursing faculty member, Dr. Franklin created an online asynchronous orientation course within myCS courses for nursing faculty that has been well received.

In 2019, the college campus participated in completing Strength Finders. Dr. Franklin’s results were Strategic, Learner, Achiever, Responsibility, and Deliberative. It is these strengths, as well as her innate servant leadership style, along with her experience, formal and informal education as a nurse educator, and commitment to the success and growth of the Nursing program at Cleveland State Community College that she feels makes her an excellent candidate to serve on the ACEN Board of Commissioners.

Nursing Educator Representatives – Diploma

Angela Balistrieri, DNP, RN
Director, School of Nursing
UPMC Mercy School of Nursing
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


Dr. Angela Balistrieri, DNP, RN has been affiliated with Mercy Hospital School of Nursing since 2002. The Director since 2014, she also served in the role of Associate Director for six years and faculty member prior to that. Mercy Hospital School of Nursing is one of six schools in the UPMC system. Dr. Balistrieri not only has responsibility for the administration of Mercy Hospital School of Nursing, but is also the Director of Curriculum and Educational Technology for the UPMC schools of nursing at large. Under her guidance, the schools of nursing have successfully implemented a concept-based curriculum in alignment with national best practice for diploma education, increased technology in the program, and established various program options that meet the needs of the student population.

She received her diploma in nursing from Mercy Hospital School of Nursing, her BSN from Carlow University, her MSN in nursing education from Duquesne University, and her DNP from Carlow University. Dr. Balistrieri has been a peer evaluator and team chair for the ACEN for eight years, and a member of the Evaluation Review Panel for four years. She is an active member of the local chapter of the Pennsylvania League for Nursing serving in various positions on the Board. She was a founding member of the ACEN Planning Committee for the Annual Nursing Education Accreditation Conference and has served as an abstract reviewer since 2018. She has presented locally and nationally on her doctorate work regarding creating a student centered learning environment, use of technology in the clinical environment, and faculty development. She has been a contributing author and editor for various textbooks on critical care nursing, leadership, and evidence-based practice.

Curriculum Coordinator, Covenant School of Nursing
Covenant Medical Center
Lubbock, Texas

Dr. Monica Kidder, DNP, MEDSURG-BC, NPD-BC, CNE has 26 years of nursing experience, including 13 years in nursing education. She is the Curriculum Coordinator at Covenant School of Nursing and is responsible for the oversight of the RN program and LVN-RN Track. She also serves as director of the Certified Patient Care Technician course for those beginning their journey to becoming a nurse. Prior to her role as Curriculum Coordinator, Dr. Kidder served as the Student Retention Coordinator, and fundamentals and pathophysiology instructor.

Dr. Kidder earned her DNP with an emphasis in educational leadership from American Sentinel University in 2016, her MSN with an emphasis in leadership and healthcare organizational management from Regis University in 2005, and her BSN and BGS (Liberal Arts) from the University of Nevada, Reno in 1996 and 1995, respectively.

Acknowledging the importance of student retention, Dr. Kidder spends much of her time researching the connections between student and institutional support and resources to predict and promote student retention. Once admitted into nursing school, she, like many, recognizes the importance of graduation and the successful achievement on the NCLEX. Passionate about helping students think critically, she is both a scholar and faculty educator for the Next Generation NCLEX.

Dr. Kidder has served as an ACEN site visitor since 2017 and Evaluation Review Panel member since 2018. She loves the opportunity to review other programs through the collaborative and supportive process. During her free time, she can be found in an RV with her family or standing on the banks of a lake, casting in a line hoping for that next big catch.

Nursing Service Representatives

Jessica Estes, DNP, APRN, PMHNP-Lifespan, NCIT Certified Investigator
Chief Nursing Officer
Alaska Behavior Health
Anchorage, Alaska


Dr. Jessica Estes, DNP, APRN, PMHNP-Lifespan, NCIT Certified Investigator currently serves as the Chief Nursing Officer at Alaska Behavioral Health, in Anchorage, Alaska. Prior to assuming that role, she served as the Executive Director at the Kentucky Board of Nursing. Dr. Estes earned her MSN from Vanderbilt University in 2004 and her DNP from the University of Kentucky in 2013. She maintains her clinical practice as a Lifespan Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner working in outpatient and inpatient psychiatric facilities. She previously served 1.5 terms as an ACEN Commissioner, ending in 2019 when she assumed the role at the Kentucky Board of Nursing. In 2021, she was recognized at the KY State APRN Award for Excellence.

Lisa Young, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC
Nurse Practitioner
A Better Weigh, Inc.
Schererville, Indiana


Dr. Lisa Young, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC is a board-certified family nurse practitioner with over 27 years of advanced practice nursing experience. Her clinical experience expands within higher education administration in multiple leadership roles, and clinical practice in academic health centers, federally-qualified health centers, and retail health care.

Dr. Young is a graduate of the University of Iowa and Saint Xavier University. She is a member of several professional organizations, which include the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, American Nurses Association, Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society, and the Illinois Society of Advanced Practice Nurses. Dr. Young currently serves on the ACEN Board of Commissioners.

During her career, she was active in nurse practitioner advocacy, statewide and nationally, and the recipient of several honors. She is a consultant for Alex Associates Health and Educational Consultants. She is currently in clinical practice in Indiana with a focus on obesity management. Dr. Young continues additional clinical practice in underserved communities to give back and address ethnic and health disparities.

Public Member Representatives

Barry D. Goldstein, PhD
Special Assistant to the President & Provost
Columbia Southern University
Orange Beach, Alabama
Roswell, Georgia

Dr. Barry D. Goldstein, PhD has almost 40 years of experiences as a research scientist, educator, administrator, and accreditor in higher education before retiring a second time in 2018 and becoming an independent accreditation consultant for colleges and universities in the South. Dr. Goldstein received his BA in Biology from Adelphi University in 1975 and his PhD in Pharmacology from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in 1979 (now Rutgers University). After serving as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Illinois, College of Medicine, he joined the faculty at the Medical College of Georgia in 1981. Dr. Goldstein rose to the rank of tenured Professor. In 1991 he became Vice President for Academic Affairs at the Medical College of Georgia and served as Chief Academic Officer until he retired in August of 2010. At the time of his retirement in 2010, he was Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and had held that title since 2008. He currently holds the title of Provost and Professor emeritus at the Medical College of Georgia (now known as Augusta University). In 2010, Dr. Goldstein became a Vice President at the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). During his tenure at SACSCOC, Dr. Goldstein has been responsible for shepherding numerous institutions through reaffirmation as well as other accreditation activities. He has also facilitated training experiences for committee chairs, CEOs, academic administrators, and others as it relates to accreditation. Dr. Goldstein retired as Vice President in 2018 and started an accreditation consulting service for colleges and universities in the South. Later in 2018, Dr. Goldstein was asked to serve as interim provost at Columbia Southern University. He was appointed Provost in 2019 and continues to consult with several institutions in the South.

ACEN Nominating Committee Ballot

Brandy H. Larmon, EdD, MSN-RN
Department Chair and Tenured Professor of Nursing
Mississippi University for Women
Columbus, Mississippi

Dr. Brandy H. Larmon, EdD, MSN-RN has been a registered nurse since 2005 with a background in Geriatrics, Women’s Health, Obstetrics, and Pediatrics. She worked as a floor nurse, charge nurse, nursing supervisor, and unit manager. She began her teaching career at Mississippi University for Women (MUW) in 2008 and was a first-year nursing student clinical and classroom faculty member until 2018, at which time she became Chair of the Department of Associate Degree Nursing at MUW. She is now full Professor with Tenure, after almost 14 years in nursing education. She has also served as a site visitor for ACEN since 2014 and an Evaluation Review Panel (ERP) member since 2019, and looks forward to other ways to serve as well.

Dr. Larmon graduated Cum Laude from Mississippi University for Women in 2005 with a BSN. She continued her education at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, and in 2008, she graduated with a MSN-Healthcare Administration. In 2015, Dr. Larmon graduated from Delta State University with an EdD in Professional Studies/Higher Education where her dissertation focused on the relationship between self-directed learning readiness and student retention in nursing education. She also recently received a certificate in Inclusive Leadership: The Power of Workplace Diversity from the University of Colorado.

Additionally, Dr. Larmon has served on various organizations and committees/boards at the local, state, and national level with examples such as her community’s Junior Auxiliary, her local chapter of Sigma Theta Tau, Mississippi’s Deans and Directors Executive and General Council, and NOADN’s Research Task Force.

She has been published in Teaching and Learning in Nursing, presented at the state level, and has been a reviewer for book chapters and full-text nursing resources. Dr. Larmon has also been noted as Among the Best College Professors for her community in both 2017 and 2021 and was awarded the Faculty Enhancement Grant twice by MUW’s Alumni Association.

Dr. Larmon resides in her hometown of West Point, Mississippi with her husband of 12 years, Neil, and their two children, Lily and Wyatt.

Fairah Solomon, MSN, RN, CNE
AAS Program Coordinator
University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Little Rock, Arkansas

Ms. Fairah Solomon, MSN, RN, CNE has been a nurse since 2005 working in a variety of settings from physician offices to labor and delivery and NICU. She completed her nursing education journey by working her way through all the degree options from LPN to ADN to BSN, and finally MSN in Education. She began her career in nursing education in 2014 as a part-time clinical instructor and then in 2017 as a full-time faculty at a large state university. In 2019 she moved into the role of AAS Program Coordinator and assists faculty, staff, students, and community stakeholders with any needs related to the program.

Ms. Solomon is a site visitor for the ACEN and has completed two site visits and plans to serve in the fall as well. She has enjoyed presenting at the ACEN conferences several times and is looking forward to serving the ACEN in the capacity of nominating committee member if chosen for this role.