ACEN Announces New Board of Commissioner Members 

ACEN Announces New Board of Commissioner Members

June 4, 2020

Please welcome the new members of your Board of Commissioners.


THE VOTES ARE IN! Effective October 1, 2020, there are newly elected and reelected Commissioners who will join the Board.

Each Commissioner will serve a three-year term from October 1, 2020 through September 30, 2022. The 17 Board of Commissioners represent the following roles: 11 nursing education representatives, three nursing service representatives, and three public representatives. This diversification ensures your ACEN Board of Commissioners are able to give balanced representation from across identified constituencies insofar as possible.

The Board of Commissioners is a governing board and has the authority of a governing board, which is (1) ensuring the financial resources of the ACEN, such as setting the fee schedule, budget, and reviewing the audit; (2) setting policy, such as the policies found in the Accreditation Manual and the Standards and Criteria; and (3) most importantly, having the sole authority to determine the accreditation status of nursing programs. Members of the Board of Commissioners also serve as chairpersons at Evaluation Review Panels, where they guide panelists through discussions and ask for status recommendations.

We are very excited to congratulate our new and returning members of the Board of Commissioners:

Nursing Educator Representatives – Associate

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, affordable, and ethnically diverse for the student population it serves.

Committed to rural and 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 publicly 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 both hospital and non-hospital settings. Because of her doctoral work, she contributed to the development of the ACEN Transition-to-Practice Accreditation Standards that are in place today. She currently serves on the NMNEC Leadership Council, the executive team of the New Mexico Center for Nursing Excellence, and the New Mexico Action Coalition; she also 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 she has authored many publications. In her off-hours, Dr. Evans-Prior enjoys spending time with her husband of more than 30 years and her two children.

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


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 she has been a member of the faculty for 17 years. She leads the faculty in the nursing programs offered on three campus locations.

Dr. Shaffer has served the ACEN since 2014 as a peer evaluator and as a team chair for focused, multiple program, and coordinated site visits; she has also served as an Evaluation Review Panel member. Additionally, she continues to serve as a peer evaluator for the New York State Education Department Office of Professions for associate and practical degree nursing programs.

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

Dr. Shaffer has published in peer-reviewed journals, served as a PhD dissertation committee member, and is a frequent conference speaker. She is managing a grant from the New York State Department of Health that funds tuition, fees, and equipment for healthcare 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 New Jersey, a master’s of science degree from Syracuse University, and a bachelor’s of science degree from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.

Nursing Educator Representative – Practical

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


Dr. Sherri Lindsey, DNP, MSNEd, RN received her doctorate in nursing practice focused on specialty nurse executive leadership from the University of Nevada – Reno, and she is currently the Nursing Department Chair at the College of Southern Nevada. She 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 nurses. Her professional interests, aside from mentoring, include increasing graduate nurse retention after the first two years of nursing school. Dr. Lindsey started Nurse to Nurse Constituents, 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 Associate 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 award for her contributions as a leader; for providing a positive, supportive, and collaborative work environment for colleagues; and for 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 Case Manager. Willis Knighton Health Systems is comprised of four acute-care hospitals, five urgent care centers, 18 specialty care centers, two community health and wellness centers, three extended care centers, a senior care community, hospice, and home health.

Nursing Service Representative

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 the Associate Degree Nursing Program at Eastern Arizona College, which is located in beautiful Thatcher, Arizona. She has a love for rural healthcare, and she also practices as an advanced practice provider caring for patients of all ages. She has practiced in most areas of nursing, and she has had the privilege of traveling to Honduras on medical missions and caring for the people of that culture.

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

McCormies serves on the Arizona State Board of Nursing. She has served on the Education Advisory Committee, a subcommittee of the board for the past nine years. McCormies 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 her baccalaureate and master’s in nursing as well as her family nurse practitioner certification from Arizona State University. Her greatest accomplishment is being a wife, mother, and grandmother.

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

McCormies has contributed to the ACEN as a peer evaluator. She has also served as a site visitor for the National League for Nursing Center of Excellence (NLN).

Public Member Representative

Steven W. Eckman, DMin
York College
York, Nebraska


Steven W. Eckman, DMin, a 1971 York College graduate, has served as the 20th president of York College since 2009. Prior to returning to York College, he served as Executive Vice President at Ohio Valley University.

Dr. 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. Dr. Eckman has also served as Senior Grant Administrator for the J.F. Maddox Foundation and as Minister of the Taylor Street Church of Christ in Hobbs, New Mexico. He holds a doctor in ministry degree from Amridge University; prior that he acquired master’s of divinity and master’s of biblical studies degrees from Abilene Christian University.