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Meet the Deans

One of the impactful bridges between the leadership of Nash Community College and its faculty/staff is the four deans of the college.

NCC has four core deans who operate as the moving blocks of communication and leadership for notable areas of campus.

Marbeth Holmes is the Dean of Student Success, Carla Dunston is the Dean of Continuing Education, Alex Barnhill is the Dean of Curriculum Career and Technical Education (CTE) and Wendy Cook is the Dean of Student and Enrollment Services.

Headshot of Marbeth Holmes, Dean of Student Success

Marbeth Holmes, Dean, Student Success

Holmes has been a member of the NCC family since 1996. Throughout her time, she has served in various roles committed to her ultimate expertise of student success. Holmes is also an instructor who has taught English, humanities and social sciences, for which she earned a professorship in 2004.

Holmes’s notable achievements include piloting the NCC Student Wellness Center in 2014. She served as the Clinical Outreach Coordinator and became Director of Student Wellness in 2015. In 2017, she was named Dean of Student Wellness as the services for the Success Network continued to expand. In 2017, the White House designated the Student Wellness Center as a ‘Healthy Campus.’

The Success Network houses areas that contribute to student success. These areas are Advising and Success Coaching, Minority Male Success Initiatives, Student Wellness Center, Accessibility Services, Single Stop, ACA College Success Courses, Assistance Grants, Library Services, Career Placement and Student Engagement.

Holmes is a licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW – North Carolina Social Work Certification and Licensure Board), licensed Clinical addiction specialist (LCAS – North Carolina Substance Abuse Professional Practice Board) and certified Clinical Trauma Professional (CCTP – International Association of Trauma Professionals).

She holds a Master of Social Work from the University of North Carolina (UNC-Chapel Hill) with a certificate in Abuse Studies and Clinical Areas in Adult Mental Health, Substance Abuse, HIV/AIDS, Trauma, Grief and Palliative. She received the Burns Award for Excellence in Clinical Social Work at UNC-Chapel Hill in 2014. She also holds a Master of Arts from Abilene Christian University and a Bachelor of Arts, focused in English, from Meredith College. Holmes also has an Associate of Arts degree from Louisburg College. Her educational journey started by earning her GED in 1980.

Headshot of Carla Dunston, Dean of Continuing Education

Carla Dunston, Dean, Continuing Education

Carla Dunston can be found on the continuing education side of campus as its dean. In this role, she oversees Professional Training Areas, Human Resources Development, Trade Skills and Offerings, College and Career Readiness, Community Service, the Small Business Center and Prison Education.

Dunston has served in the role since 2008 and has been a member of the Nighthawk family for 24 years.

She started as the Director of Human Resources Development (HRD), overseeing the development and coordination of the HRD, Computer Training and Teacher Renewal programs. Over the next decade, Dunston moved through two Associate Dean positions, including a stint in Industrial Services and Industry Training.

With over 34 years of experience in education and training, she is an influential leader who has recently adopted a model of “investing in relationship building” with the students to serve true to the “meet students where they are” ethos included in the college’s mission statement.

Dunston is a certified Facilitator for Development Dimension International Learning Systems and a certified Facilitator for Achieve Global. She holds a Master of Arts in Adult and Community Education from North Carolina State University and a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Winston-Salem State University. She also holds a post-baccalaureate certification in Community College Leadership from the University of North Carolina – Wilmington.

Headshot of Alex Barnhill, Dean of Career and Technical Education

Alex Barnhill, Dean, Curriculum Career and Technical Education

Alex Barnhill has worked in education for the last 11 years and has brought over 30 years of professional experience to NCC. He currently serves as the Dean of Curriculum Career and Technical Education, since 2022.

In his role, he plans, directs, and reviews activities and operations of curriculum CTE and Perkins related activities. He coordinates and assign activities with college departments and outside agencies. He also provides administrative support to the Vice President of Instruction. Barnhill often collaborates with workforce development boards and business/industry partners to develop and evaluate CTE programs.

After a career change and enrollment as a NCC student himself, he earned his Associate of Applied Science from NCC, focused in Computer-Integrated Machining and later returned to serve as a Content Developer for the college in 2012. Since then, he has continued to expand his knowledge and responsibilities throughout the area of Computer-Integrated Machining, Applied Engineering and Career and Technical Education.

Barnhill served as an instructor in Computer-Integrated Machining for nine years before being named Department Chair of Applied Engineering Technologies. A year later, he was named Department Chair for Curriculum Career and Technical Education.

Due to his “Get it Done” attitude, he has often been called on to take up additional responsibilities. In the transition of the college searching for both replacements for the Department Chair of Humanities and Social Sciences, and Chief Academic Officer roles, Barnhill served in an interim capacity.
Barnhill hold a Master of Science – Management and Leadership, focused in Human Resources Management and Ethical Leadership from Western Governors University. He also holds a Bachelor of Science – Industrial Technology Concentration, focused in Leadership and Industrial Supervision.

He is a certified Machine Operator, NIMS Machinist, certified in Precision Management and Solidworks/Dassault systems.

Headshot of Wendy Cook, Dean of Student and Enrollment Services

Wendy Cook, Dean, Student and Enrollment Services

The heart of the college is Student and Enrollment Services. This area includes Admissions, Financial Aid, Student Recruitment, Enrollment Management, Registration and Records, Placement Testing and Veteran’s Affairs.

Cook is the newest dean and arrived in August of 2023. Formerly a member of Wake Technical Community College, she serves as the Dean of Student and Enrollment Services and brings almost 20 years of experience in education.

She started as an English teacher at East Garner Middle School and, in 2007, moved into Higher Education Administration.

In her role as dean, she is responsible for planning, organizing, and managing the operation of Student Enrollment Services. She is the initial onboarding individual for incoming curriculum students.

Cook is currently pursuing her Doctorate, focused on Community College leadership, from Old Dominion University. She earned her Master of Science, focused in Counselor Education from East Carolina University and a Bachelor of Science, focused in Middle Grades Education from North Carolina State University.