Skip Navigation

Executive Leadership

  • Dr. Karan Powell, President, American Public University System (APUS)

    Dr. Karan Powell


    Dr. Karan Powell leads the university system in achieving academic excellence, managed growth and institutional effectiveness goals. She has 30+ years in higher education and online learning, leadership development, organization performance, business, and government. More

  • Mr. Richard W. Sunderland, Jr. CPA, Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, American Public University System (APUS)

    Mr. Richard W. Sunderland, Jr. CPA

    Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

    Mr. Richard Sunderland has 20+ years leading the financial and operational functions of large established public companies, as well as building the financial operations of emerging growth companies. He was appointed APUS CFO in January 2014. More

  • Mr. Thomas Beckett, Senior Vice President, General Counsel, American Public University System (APUS)

    Mr. Thomas Beckett

    Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Assistant Secretary

    Prior to joining APUS in 2011, Mr. Thomas Beckett was the general counsel and chief operating officer for two pharmaceutical companies in California, and an attorney at the international law firms King & Spalding LLP and Holland & Knight LLP. More

  • Ms. Amy Bevilacqua

    Ms. Amy Bevilacqua

    Senior Vice President, Chief Innovation Officer

    Ms. Amy Bevilacqua has more than 25 years of experience in media, technology, and the education and lifelong learning sectors. She is actively involved in education entrepreneurship and innovation, and has served as an investment advisor. More

  • Ms. Melissa Frey

    Ms. Melissa Frey

    Senior Vice President, Controller

    Ms. Melissa Frey joined APUS in 2004 and has held a variety of key finance positions prior to becoming Controller. She assisted with the design and implementation of many university automated processes including invoicing, refunding, and general ledger and cash reconciliations. More

  • Mr. Robert Gay, Senior Vice President, Chief Operations Officer, American Public University System (APUS)

    Mr. Robert Gay

    Senior Vice President, Chief Operations Officer

    Mr. Robert Gay joins APUS with 17 years experience as a leader in higher education. Mr. Gay, who leads marketing and enrollment management initiatives for the university, brings deep business expertise to this new role. More

  • Mr. Peter W. Gibbons, Senior Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer, American Public University System (APUS)

    Mr. Peter W. Gibbons

    Senior Vice President, Special Projects

    Mr. Pete Gibbons served for 25 years in the U.S. Army as a field artillery officer. Since retirement and prior to joining APUS, Mr. Gibbons served as a human resources executive for SITEL, a global customer relations management company. More

  • Dr. Gwen Hall, Senior Vice President, Associate Provost of Academic Effectiveness and Student Success, American Public University System (APUS)

    Dr. Gwen Hall

    Chief of Staff, Office of the President

    Since 2005, retired Air Force officer Dr. Gwen Hall has held many leadership positions at APUS within the provost office, academic operations, and student success. Among her former career endeavors, she consulted for the Department of Homeland Security. More

  • Ms. Amy Panzarella

    Ms. Amy Panzarella, SPHR

    Senior Vice President, Human Resources & Community Affairs

    Ms. Amy Panzarella joined the university in 2008 and is responsible for all aspects of human resources including budget, healthcare benefits, professional training and development, and compliance. She has worked in HR for 16+ years in a variety of industries. More

  • Dr. Vernon C. Smith, Senior Vice President and Provost, American Public University System (APUS)

    Dr. Vernon C. Smith

    Senior Vice President, Provost

    Dr. Vernon C. Smith has an extensive background in online learning, including effective quality, assessment, and retention strategies. He is an early adopter in the use of big data for predictive modeling and teaching excellence to promote student success. More

  • Ms. Tracy Woods, Senior Vice President, Chief Information Officer, American Public University System (APUS)

    Ms. Tracy Woods

    Senior Vice President, Chief Information Officer

    Ms. Tracy Woods has overall responsibility for the technology infrastructure supporting the APUS students, faculty, and staff. She also manages application production support, technical operations, database administration, and systems and network engineering. More