Rio Salado Welcomes Three New Deans to the College


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Tuesday, February 6, 2024
Introducing New Rio Deans left to right: Yolanda Espinoza, Patti Curtis, Dr. Miguel Lucas

Yolanda Espinoza, Patti Curtis, Dr. Miguel Lucas

Please welcome the three new deans who have recently joined Rio Salado College: Yolanda Espinoza, Dean, Division of Strategy and Advancement; Patti Curtis, Dean, Student Affairs; and Dr. Miguel Lucas, Dean, Academic Affairs.

Yolanda Espinoza – Dean, Division of Strategy and Advancement

Yolanda Espinoza joins Rio Salado’s Division of Strategy and Advancement as a dean, transferring from Scottsdale Community College (SCC).

Espinoza brings decades of experience in student affairs functions, a collaborative nature, and a genuine care for serving students to her new role at Rio. Espinoza will report to Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs/Vice President of Strategy and Advancement Janelle Elias, and provide oversight of the Strategic Partnerships Committee, university transfer partnerships, alumni relations, local municipal partnerships, and national corporate partnerships.

At SCC, Espinoza served as dean of enrollment services and has previous experience at the director and dean level leading community partnerships, admissions, outreach, and recruitment at Front Range Community College and Pima Community College.

Patti Curtis – Dean of Student Affairs

Patti Curtis brings a wealth of experience in higher education and a dedication to supporting staff and students to her new role at Rio Salado College. She has more than 15 years of experience in higher education, most recently having served as interim dean at Glendale Community College.

Curtis has served in multiple leadership positions at online and ground-based colleges, including interim president at two campuses, interim dean, and director of financial aid. In addition, she has worked extensively with faculty to develop early alert programs, taught in-service workshops about student engagement, and has also taught upper and lower division human resources and business management courses.

Curtis will report to Dr. Greg Pereira, Vice President of Student Affairs.

Dr. Miguel Lucas – Dean of Academic Affairs

Dr. Miguel Lucas brings a depth of knowledge, passion, and leadership experience to his new role as dean of academic affairs. He has more than 24 years of experience within the Maricopa Community Colleges, most recently having served as division chair of counseling faculty at Scottsdale Community College (SCC).

Lucas has served in multiple leadership positions throughout Maricopa, including dean of instruction for liberal arts at Mesa Community College and dean of instruction for career and technical education at SCC, where he also served as faculty senate president, faculty developer, and curriculum development facilitator.

Lucas will report to Elias.