Nominations may be submitted by any JC employee or student and will be reviewed by a committee consisting of the previous year’s winner of the Outstanding Administrator Award and 5 employees.
Nominations will be accepted until 5 p.m. on March 3, 2023.
2022 – Ashley Van Heest
Ashley Van Heest
2021 – Jessica Houston
As student ombudsman since 2013, Jessica Houston gives a voice to students to help overcome many challenges they face in obtaining a college degree. Jessica has been instrumental in the Ready, Set, Jet!, serves on the Diversity, Equity and Belonging Committee, Committee of Equitable Outcomes, Recruitment and Retention, and Academic Council. She is active with Bright Walls, Nonprofit Network and Jackson Young Professionals.
2020 – Kelly Crum
Chief Diversity Officer/Director, Diversity, Equity, And Belonging
“I was in total shock! There are so many well deserving administrators and for someone to think of me, it’s very humbling. I love everything about my job from the relationships I have with the students, collaborating with my colleagues (administration, faculty and staff) on a daily basis and being able to provide insight as we serve students, my multicultural affairs team, and my Jackson community. I am in awe of our Jackson College family; we are Jackson College Strong!”
2019 – Todd Butler
Todd Butler serves as dean of arts and sciences for Jackson College, where he’s worked since 2010. As a dean, he observes and works with faculty to help improve curriculum and instruction. He often interacts with community partners, such as high schools and employers, to better serve our students and the community.
“I love building programs and curricula that meet the needs of the community and our students,” he said. This could include developing a new degree in agriculture, working with the Corrections Education Program or working to receive approval for the first baccalaureate degree in energy systems management in Michigan.
He spends more time in the classroom now than ever before, as observing both full- and part-time faculty is a privilege and a priority. “I look at the new faculty that have been hired over my years in this position and am very proud of the work of the search committees and of the high bar that is set for new faculty members,” he said.
Away from the College, he serves on the Lenawee County Humane Society Board.
2018 – Melissa Merkel
Melissa Merkel has worked as director of the TRIO Student Support Services program at Jackson College since 2014. TRIO provides support to qualifying students to help them reach their academic goals. In addition, she oversees the College Food Pantry and acts as a community liaison to build relationships with organizations that may be able to assist students at Jackson College. Melissa has become very involved in state, regional and national TRIO organizations to be a voice for policy change. She enjoys the opportunity to work to make a difference in the students that she works with.
2017 – Jeremy Frew
Jeremy Frew has worked for the College since 2011. In 2017 he was recognized for his work as dean of occupational education, in which he oversees all of the occupational programs, including course scheduling. He also oversaw Corporate and Continuing Education and he currently is vice president of student services. As a leader, he works to empower others and to lift barriers so all can do a better job for students.
2016 – Darrell Norris
Darrell Norris’s life was changed as a student at Jackson College. As vice president of finance, he works to ensure that future students have that same opportunity! Darrell oversees the College’s finances and the business office, managing everything from student account to payroll to payment of outside vendors, as well as government reporting. He also uses his finance skills to help in the community.
2015 – Lee Hampton
As Vice President of Diversity, Equity & Belonging & Chief Diversity Officer at Jackson College, Lee Hampton helps with many aspect of multicultural programming, multicultural community relations and minority student recruitment. He’s seen minority enrollment increase, student groups formed and community events such as the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebrations grow. Lee enjoys connecting with students and the community. He has made presentations at the state and national levels.
2014 – Jason Valente
Jason Valente, former president of the Jackson College Foundation, wants to help students find success. The Foundation and Office of Advancement comprise the fund-raising and legislative affairs arm of the College, working with donors, alumni and friends to help support student scholarships and College initiatives. He enjoys the opportunity to change students’ lives.
2013 – Nancy Miller
Nancy Miller worked at the College from 2009-2013 and was recognized for her work as executive dean of students and quality and institutional research & effectiveness. She provided oversight for student services, academic advising, financial aid, registration and records, housing, athletics, and institutional research & effectiveness efforts, such as the student ombudsman. She enjoyed the opportunities to build supportive relationships with students.