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Executive Leadership and Senior Management

APUS Executive Leadership

  • Dr. Wade Dyke

    Dr. Wade Dyke

    APUS President

    Dr. Wade Dyke was appointed President of APUS in August 2020. Before coming to APUS, he served as CEO of Great Hearts Academies, a charter school network with some 19,000 students.  Read more about Dr. Dyke

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

    Dr. Vernon C. Smith


    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. Read more about Dr. Smith

  • Richard Sunderland

    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. Read more about Mr. Sunderland

  • 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. Read more about Mr. Gay

  • Mr. Steve Somers, Senior Vice President, Strategy and Corporate Development, American Public University System (APUS)

    Mr. Steve Somers, CFA

    Senior Vice President, Strategy and Corporate Development

    Mr. Somers joined APUS in June of 2020 and is responsible for advancing APUS’s business strategy and corporate development initiatives. Prior to APUS, Mr. Somers spent almost 10 years in the education industry, serving most recently as VP of Corporate Development at Kaplan, Inc. Read more about Mr. Somers

APUS Senior Management

  • Mr. John Aldrich

    Mr. John Aldrich

    Vice President, Military, Veterans, and Educational Partnerships

    Mr. John Aldrich oversees all military and community college outreach activities, and is the main liaison between the university and Department of Defense agencies. His former military career with the U.S. Navy gives Mr. Aldrich first-hand knowledge of our military student needs. Read more about Mr. Aldrich

  • Mr. Frank Burhance, Vice President, Service Operations, American Public University System (APUS)

    Mr. Frank Burhance

    Vice President, Service Operations

    Mr. Frank Burhance leads the university’s mission to create a superior student experience and works closely with all student-facing departments to streamline processes and identifying opportunities for positive change.  Read more about Mr. Burhance

  • Dr. Michael Cottam, Associate Provost, Academic and Faculty Services, American Public University System (APUS)

    Dr. Michael E. Cottam

    Associate Provost, Academic and Faculty Services

    Dr. Michael Cottam leads several departments including Instructional Design, Media Development, Faculty Hiring, Center for Teaching and Learning, Curriculum, Assessment, and Course Materials.  Read more about Dr. Cottam

  • Dr Jennifer Douglass

    Dr. Jennifer Douglas

    Dean, Graduate Studies & Research

    Dr. Jennifer Douglas joined the School of Graduate Studies as associate dean in 2015 and was promoted to dean in August of 2017. She has been instrumental in the creation of the school’s first doctoral level programs. Read more about Dr. Douglas

  • Dr. Brian Freeland

    Dr. Brian Freeland

    Dean, School of Health Sciences

    Dr. Brian Freeland started at APUS as a faculty member in 2006 and has steadily advanced into his current leadership roles. Dr. Freeland regularly presents at academic conferences on topics relative to sport management leadership and online education issues. Read more about Dr. Freeland

  • Dr. Grace Glass

    Dr. Grace Glass

    Dean, School of Arts & Humanities

    Dr. Grace Glass is responsible for ongoing management and development of the school’s liberal arts and social sciences programs. She brings 15 years of higher education experience, most recently as associate dean of general studies for Northcentral Technical College in Wausau, WI. Read more about Dr. Glass

  • Mr. Mike Harbert

    Mr. Mike Harbert

    Vice President, Strategic Markets and Relationships

    Mr. Mike Harbert built the university's first military outreach team. Today he manages all partnership and outreach activities for key communities in the public sector. Mr. Harbert's leadership skills stem from his 20-year career (active and reserves) as an infantry officer in the Marine Corps. Read more about Mr. Harbert

  • Dr. Marie Harper

    Dr. Marie Harper

    Dean, School of Business

    Dr. Marie Harper joined American Public University System in 2010 as a Program Director of Management. Prior to joining APUS, Dr. Harper was the Faculty Chair, Business Administration at Peirce College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Read more about Dr. Harper

  • Ms J.J. Herbert - Vice President, University Counsel

    Ms. J.J. Herbert

    Vice President, University Counsel

    Ms. J.J. Herbert joined American Public University System in 2015 and serves as associate general counsel and university counsel. Prior to joining APUS, Ms. Herbert was an attorney with the international law firm Eversheds Sutherland f/k/a Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP based in their Washington, D.C. offices. Read more about Ms. Herbert

  • Mr. Gregory Hill, Vice President, Admissions, American Public University System (APUS)

    Mr. Gregory Hill

    Vice President, Admissions

    Mr. Hill joined the American Public University System in 2007. His 12 years of recruiting and leadership experience have proven vital to transforming the onboarding experience for prospective students. Read more about Mr. Hill

  • Dr. Ahmed Naumaan

    Dr. Ahmed Naumaan

    Dean, School of Science, Technology, Engineering & Math

    Dr. Ahmed Naumaan oversees the ongoing management, development, and assessment of the School of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), with a primary focus on ensuring academic quality, student retention, and best practices in faculty teaching and learning. Read more about Dr. Naumaan

  • Ms. Barbara Netzer

    Ms. Barbara Netzer

    Dean, Educational Partnerships

    Ms. Barbara Netzer has over 28 years of higher education experience. She joined APUS in 2012 after serving as a nurse educator at the Community College of Baltimore County for 20 years. She currently oversees the academic partnerships and outreach team. Read more about Ms. Netzer

  • Ms. Michelle Newman

    Ms. Michelle Newman

    Assistant Provost, University Registrar

    Ms. Michelle Newman oversees the academic appeals, disability services, graduations, registrations, and scheduling teams at APUS. In her previous role for the university, she led the growth of the academic advising team from 12 to 80 advisors staffed to meet the needs of our adult learners. Read more about Ms. Newman

  • Dr. Chris Reynolds

    Dr. Chris Reynolds

    Dean, Academic Outreach & Program Development

    Dr. Chris Reynolds' career includes roles as U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel, division fire chief and certified emergency manager, and educator with 33 years of higher education experience in both the traditional and online classroom. He joined APUS in 2003. Read more about Dr. Reynolds

  • Dr. Mark Riccardi

    Dr. Mark Riccardi

    Dean, School of Security & Global Studies

    Dr. Mark Riccardi retired from the U.S. Army after 21 years of active service spent in intelligence, military support to civilian authorities, and special operations. He has presented at conferences around the world on topics that include Social Media use During Disaster Operations. Read more about Dr. Riccardi

  • Ms. Caroline Simpson

    Ms. Caroline Simpson

    Assistant Provost, Student and Alumni Affairs

    Ms. Caroline Simpson joined APUS in 2005 and played a large role in developing the online advising services offered to university students. She currently oversees academic advising, transfer credit evaluations, student and alumni affairs, career services, and student appeals. Read more about Ms. Simpson

  • Dr. Jennifer Stephens Helm

    Dr. Jennifer Stephens Helm

    Vice President, Accreditation

    Dr. Jennifer Stephens Helm has an extensive background in learning outcomes assessment. She has consulted with schools districts, state departments of education, and school reform organizations. She worked with the Accelerated Schools Project at Stanford University prior to joining APUS in 2005. Read more about Dr. Helm

  • Ms. Claudine Stubblefield - Vice President, Finance

    Ms. Claudine Stubblefield

    Vice President, Finance

    Ms. Stubblefield works closely with the APUS President and leadership team, as well as the SVP and Controller of APEI, playing a central role in major undertakings at the institution. Read more about Ms. Stubblefield

  • Mr. JB Tanner - Vice President, Student Support and Continuous Improvement

    Mr. J.B. Tanner

    Vice President, Student Support and Continuous Improvement

    Mr. J.B. Tanner specializes in contact center management, analytics, customer engagement, and operations management. He has been key in creating the Student Support Center, Workforce Management, Electronic Communications and Quality Assurance teams at APUS.  Read more about Mr. Tanner

  • Ms. Carolyn Todaro - Vice President, Academic Advising

    Ms. Carolyn Todaro

    Vice President, Academic Advising

    Ms. Carolyn Todaro joined American Public University System in 2005 and currently serves as the Vice President of Academic Advising. Among her accomplishments, she championed the implementation of a proactive academic advising model to better serve the university systems 80,000+ students. Read more about Ms. Todaro

  • Mr. Keith Wellings

    Mr. Keith Wellings

    Vice President, Financial Aid and Compliance

    Mr. Keith Wellings oversees all components of the university's financial services compliance and default prevention. He led the design and implementation of the university's process to identify and prevent potential student fraud with regard to Title IV funding. Read more about Mr. Wellings