The Executive Leadership Institute Welcomes Gordon State College Faculty and Staff to the 2021-2022 Class

Samantha Bishop and Tonya Coleman
Samantha Bishop and Tonya Coleman

The University System of Georgia (USG) has named the 2021-2022 class of its Executive Leadership Institute (ELI), including 34 faculty and staff members from 25 USG institutions and the University System Office.

For over a decade, the USG has hosted ELI for faculty and staff who are ready for a cabinet-level position in the near future. Presidents nominate one academic leader and one staff leader to participate. From the nominees, individuals are selected for the six-month program during which they engage in a leadership development curriculum that includes content, personal reflection, job shadowing, and cross-mentoring. This year’s class begins Nov. 16, 2021.

Samantha Bishop, Ed.D., director and professor, Department of Nursing, is a faculty member who has been welcomed to the 2021-2022 class from Gordon State College. Samantha Bishop, a local Lamar County resident raised in Barnesville, Ga, began her academic career at Gordon State College in 1994, earning an Associate of Science degree in Nursing. She received a Master of Science in Nursing from the Medical College of Georgia in 2006 before becoming a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. Bishop also has a Doctorate of Education from the University of Georgia.

“As our healthcare system continues to grow, well-educated nurses are needed more than ever to take on leadership roles, both as practitioners and educators,” said Dr. Victor Vilchiz, Dean of the School of Nursing, Health and Natural Sciences. “Bishop exemplifies the leadership skills and professional values that make GSC’s nursing program one of the best in the region.”

As a practicing nurse, Bishop worked primarily in Neonatal Intensive Care at The Children’s Hospital in Macon, Ga, now called Atrium Health Navicent Beverly Knight Olsen Children's Hospital. She returned to Gordon State College as an Assistant Professor of Nursing in 2005. She now serves as Professor of Nursing, and she was named the Director of Nursing in July 2020. Bishop’s duties include managing both the Associate of Science in Nursing and Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs at the college.

Tonya R. Coleman, Ed.D., director, Housing and Residence Life, is a staff member who has been welcomed into the 2021-2022 class from Gordon State College. Her duties include oversight of five residence halls, staff and student leaders, and thematic programming which develops students academically and socially. With a passion for learning, Coleman is a life-long student. She is a native of Laurens County and a graduate of West Laurens High School.  

After a rewarding academic and athletic high school career, Coleman attended Valdosta State University on an athletic scholarship for women's basketball. While at VSU, she was very active as a student-athlete and went on to be very involved as a graduate assistant within both the Intramural/Recreation Department and the MBA Program. She also served two terms as a Governor's Intern at Lowndes County DFACS while in graduate school. Upon graduation, she continued in the higher education arena, and she went to work at Gordon State College in the area of student affairs/services. This opportunity opened many doors for student, staff and faculty interactions as the housing director, minority advising program coordinator, disability services coordinator, transfer articulation/career services advisor, campus activities director, intramural/recreation director, student government association/club advisor, interim athletic director, and vice president for student affairs. These opportunities have allowed her to serve and continue in servant leadership with several committees and task forces such as SACS-COC (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges), Board of Regents VAWA Violence Against Women Act, Board of Regents Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and the USG Suicide Prevention Committee.

"I know Dr. Coleman will represent Gordon State College well as she participates in this prestigious Leadership development program. The entire Division of Student Affairs is so proud of her," said Dr. Matthew Robison, GSC Dean of Students and Part-Time Faculty Member.

In 2014, Coleman obtained a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership and Management from Capella University. Coleman then entered the classroom both virtually and physically to continue building rapport with students. Whether the opportunity is in a classroom or around campus, Coleman believes student development is a priority and the most enjoyable part of her higher educational journey.

“Drs. Bishop and Coleman are outstanding leaders at Gordon State. I’m so proud that they have been accepted into the ELI program and have the opportunity to take their leadership to even higher levels,” said Dr. C. Jeffery Knighton, GSC Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.

 “We are truly fortunate to have Bishop’s and Coleman’s professional leadership and commitment to excellence represent Gordon State College as ELI participants in the 2021-2022 class,” said Dr. Kirk, A. Nooks, GSC President.

“USG strongly supports investing in the development and retention of our future USG leaders, and these class members represent the best of faculty and staff across the state who will lead us into the future,” said Stuart Rayfield, Vice Chancellor for Leadership & Institutional Development. “We congratulate them for this honor, and look forward to working with them as they continue to evolve and grow in their leadership development.”