Home Where We Practice Academia Hats Off to Optometry School Leadership

Hats Off to Optometry School Leadership

Updated July 2024

Educating future optometrists is a passion shared by these great optometry leaders at the nation’s schools and colleges of optometry. While this listing calls out the top spots of academic leadership, many associate deans, directors and faculty support the effort to continue to improve and enhance optometric education.


University of Alabama Birmingham School of Optometry

Kelly K. Nichols, OD, MPH, PhD, FAAO, Dean
kristine hopkins Kristine B. Hopkins, OD, MSPH, FAAO, Associate Dean for Student Affairs
gerald simon Gerald Simon, OD, Associate Dean for Student Affairs
elizabeth steele Elizabeth A. Steele, OD, FAAO, Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs



Arizona College of Optometry, Midwestern University

Alicia Feis, OD, FAAO, Dean
joshua baker Joshua Baker, MS, OD, Sr. Vice President and Chief Academic Officer (both Arizona and Illinois campuses)
eric woo Eric Woo, OD, FAAO, Associate Dean of Academic
caitlin miller Caitlin Miller, OD, Associate Dean, Eye Institute
laura addy Laura Kathryn Addy, OD, Director of Residencies, Eye Institute



Southern California College of Optometry at Marshall B. Ketchum University

Julie A. Schornack, OD, MEd, President

Read her recent story with WO here.

Eric Borsting, OD, MSEd, FAAO, FCOVD, Dean
raymond Raymond Chu, OD, MS, FAAO, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs
melissa contreras Melissa Contreras, OD, MPH, Assistant Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
john nishimoto John Nishimoto, OD, MBA, FAAO, Senior Associate Dean for Professional Affairs
william ridder William Ridder III, OD, PhD, Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies
judy tong Judy Tong, Assistant Dean of Residencies

University of California – Berkeley Herbert Wertheim School of Optometry and Vision Science

john flanagan John G. Flanagan, PhD, DSc, FCOptom, FAAO, FARVO, Dean
sharon bentley Sharon A. Bentley, BScOptom, MOptom, PhD, MPH, FAAO, FACO, Dean, effective Feb. 2025.
anne mika moy Anne Mika Moy, OD, FAAO, Associate Dean for Admissions and Student Affairs
nancy mcnamara Nancy McNamara, OD, PhD, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
christina wilmer Christina S. Wilmer, OD, FAAO, Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs
ruth shoge Ruth Shoge, OD, MPH, FAAO, Chief Diversity Officer

Western University College of Optometry

Elizabeth Hoppe, OD, MPH, DrPH, Founding Dean
Associate Dean of Academic Affairs
Tiffenie Harris, OD, FAAO,
Assistant Dean of Clinical Education
Dr. Angela P. Hegamin Angela P. Hegamin, Ph.D, MSPH, Assistant Dean of Academic Support
Raymond Maeda, OD, FAAO Raymond Maeda, OD, FAAO, Associate Dean of Clinical Affairs
Loretta Ng Loretta Ng, OD, FAAO, Assistant Dean of Clinical Affairs



Nova Southeastern University College of Optometry

Linda S. Rouse, OD, MBA, FAAO, Dean
Rachel A. “Stacey” Coulter, OD, MS, FAAO, FCOVD, Associate Dean of Clinical Affairs
Cristina Llerena Law, OD, Ph.D, FAAO, Dipl-ABO, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
jamie althoff Jamie Althoff, OD, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and Admissions
Bin zhang Bin Zhang, MD, PhD, Assistant Dean for Research



Illinois College of Optometry

Mark Colip, OD, President
Stephanie Messner, OD, FAAO, Vice President and Dean of Academic Affairs
Leonard Messner, OD, FAAO, Vice President for Strategy and Institutional Advancement
Erik Mothersbaugh, OD, FAAO, Dean of Student Affairs

Chicago College of Optometry, Midwestern University

Melissa Suckow, OD, FAAO, Dean
jenelle mallios Jenelle Mallios, OD, FAAO, Associate Dean
samantha rice Samantha Rice, OD, Associate Dean



Indiana University School of Optometry

Suresh Viswanathan, OD, MS, PhD,  Dean
Rowan Candy, BSc, MCOptom, PhD,  Interim Dean, Executive Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Kimberly Kohne Kimberly D. Kohne, OD, Associate Dean for Students
Pete Kollbaum Pete Kollbaum, OD, MS, PhD, Associate Dean for Research
Todd Peabody Todd Peabody, OD, MBA, Associate Dean for Advancement
neil pence Neil A. Pence, OD, Associate Dean for Clinical and Patient Care Services
jeffrey peretti Jeffrey D. Peretti, OD, Associate Dean for Fiscal Affairs



University of Pikeville Kentucky College of Optometry

renee reeder Renee Reeder, OD, FAAO, RBCLA, FSLS, FIACLE, Dean
cliff caudill Cliff Caudill, OD, FAAO, Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs
josephine ibironke Josephine Ibironke, OD, MPH, FAAO, Assistant Dean
rachel fitzgerald Rachel Fitzgerald, OD, FAAO, Director of Community Affairs
Eilene Eugenio Kinzer Eilene Eugenio Kinzer, OD, M.ED VFL, FAAO, Director of Continuing Education
benjamin konig Benjamin Konig, OD, Director of International Affairs



New England College of Optometry

Howard Purcell, OD, FAAO, President
Erik Weissberg, OD, FAAO, Vice President, Dean of Academic Affairs
Gary Chu, OD, MPH, FAAO, Vice President, Professional Affairs
nicole quinn Nicole Quinn, OD, FAAO, Director of Residencies
diane russo Diane Russo, OD, MPH, MBA, FAAO, Director of Clinical Education and Assistant Director of Residencies
Fuensanta A. Vera-Diaz Fuensanta A. Vera-Diaz, OD, PhD, FAAO, Director of Research
Timothy Bossie Timothy Bossie, OD, FAAO, Senior Director Owned Clinics and Outreach Affiliations
amy moy Amy Moy, OD, FAAO, Senior Director CHC Initiatives and Optometric Practice Compliance



Michigan College of Optometry at Ferris State University

Daniel A. Taylor, OD, EdD, MS, MBA, FAAO, DipOE, Dean



University of Missouri – St. Louis College of Optometry

Keshia Elder, OD, MS, FAAO, Dean
Vinita Allee Henry, OD, FAAO,
Associate Dean of Clinical Operations
angel novel simmons Angel Novel Simmons, OD, Associate Dean of Student Services and Alumni Relations, Director of Continuing Education
Julie Ott DeKinder, OD, FAAO,
Associate Dean of Academic Programs, Director of Residency Programs


New York

State University of New York, College of Optometry

David A. Heath, OD, EdM, President
richard soden Richard Soden, OD, Director of Healthcare Development
joy harewood Joy Harewood, OD, Chief Diversity Officer



The Ohio State University

karla zadnik theia 2020 Karla Zadnik, OD, PhD, Interim Executive Vice President and Provost

The Ohio State University, School of Optometry 

jeffrey walline Jeffrey Walline, OD, PhD, Acting Dean
Michael Early Michael Early, OD, MS, Associate Dean Academic Affairs
gregory nixon Gregory Nixon, OD, Associate Dean Clinical Services
heather anderson Heather Anderson, OD, PhD, Acting Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies



Northeastern State University Oklahoma College of Optometry

Nathan Lighthizer, OD, Dean
Jeffrey Miller, OD, FAAO, Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs
earlena mckee Earlena McKee, OD, MS, Assistant Dean for Clinical Affairs



Pacific University

Jennifer Coyle, OD, MS, President
Fraser C. Horn, OD, FAAO, Dean



Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus at Drexel University

Michael H. Mittelman, OD, MPH, MBA, FAAO, FACHE, President
Melissa Trego, OD, PhD, Dean
Maria Parisi, OD, FAAO, Optometric Clinical Affairs, Associate Dean
Elizabeth Tonkery, OD, MPH, Curriculum and Assessment, Associate Dean
Bhawan Minhas, OD, FAAO, Accelerated Programs, Associate Dean
Bisant A. Labib, OD, FAAO, Dipl. CEC, Optometric Special Programs, Associate Dean


Puerto Rico

Inter American University School of Optometry

Andrés Pagán, OD, MPH, Dean
Ángel F. Romero, OD, Dean of Academic Affairs
Iris R. Cabello, OD, Dean of Students
Damaris Pagán, OD, MPH, Dean of Clinical Affairs



Southern College of Optometry

Lewis Reich, OD, PhD, President
scott ensor Scott Ensor, OD, Interim Vice President for Clinical Programs
J. Bart Campbell, OD, FAAO, Vice President for Academic Affairs



Rosenberg School of Optometry at University of Incarnate Word

sandra fortenberry Sandra Fortenberry, OD, FAAO, ABO Diplomate, Dean
william miller William Miller, OD, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs
jeff rabin Jeff Rabin, OD, MS, PhD, Assistant Dean for Research, Assessment and Graduate Studies
kyle sandberg Kyle Sandberg, OD, Assistant Dean for Professional Advancement and Associate Professor
nekima williams Nekima Williams, OD, Assistant Dean of Clinical Affairs, Clinical Assistant Professor, Director of Externship Programs

University of Houston College of Optometry

Michael D. Twa, OD, PhD, FAAO, Dean
Andrew M. Archila, OD, MBA, FAAO, Associate Dean for Clinical Operations
Kimberly Lambreghts, RN, OD, FAAO, Associate Dean For Professional Studies
Laura J. Frishman, PhD, FAAO, FARVO, Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research
ralph herring Ralph J. Herring, OD, MHA, Assistant Dean for Professional Studies
Danica Marrelli, OD, FAAO, Assistant Dean for Clinical Education
Lucy Kehinde Darnell, OD, PhD, FAAO, Assistant Dean of Student Affairs


Rocky Mountain University College of Optometry

Adam Hickenbotham, OD, MPH, PhD, Founding Dean
Court Wilkins, OD, MHS, FAAO, Assistant Dean of Clinical Affairs
Donnie Akers, OD, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs



North Carolina

High Point University School of Optometry

Catherine Heyman, OD, Founding Dean

Read her recent story with WO here.

The University of North Carolina at Pembroke

dr rich castillo Rich Castillo, OD, DO, FASOS, Founding Dean of the school of optometry, to begin Aug. 5, 2024


Read more about ODs who have made their career in academia here.


Featured photo credit: Getty Images

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