AACAP is led by a group of individuals with extensive leadership experience in high school guidance and higher education.
Shannon Gormley has the unique combination of experience in high school guidance counseling and for-profit and non-profit higher education. Ms. Gormley has over 17 years of experience in higher education serving as an admissions advisor, student activities director, student advisor, director of admissions, and executive director of graduate recruitment. Shannon has also worked as a director of training providing compliant and effective admissions training and coaching to thousands of admission professionals across the country and in Puerto Rico. After earning her Master’s degree in School Counseling, Shannon worked in secondary education as a school counselor, assisting students in the development of their academic, social, and career pursuits, with a focus on college and career readiness. Ms. Gormley holds a Master’s degree in School Counseling, from Lewis University and is a licensed school counselor. She also earned a Bachelor’s degree from the University Wisconsin-La Crosse.
Carla B. Cheatham
Carla Cheatham has worked in education and as a high school counselor for over 20 years. She has taught kindergarten in both Illinois and Georgia. Carla earned the Global Career Development Facilitator credential through the National Career Development Association and the Center for Credentialing & Education (CCE). Carla has earned credentials as a licensed professional counselor (LPC) and a national career counselor (NCC). Carla is currently working toward her credentials as a licensed clinical professional counselor (LCPC). She has recently started the Cheatham Career Services, LLC, where she focuses on career consulting and career coaching. Carla’s interests include workforce partnership developments to provide current career resources and opportunities to students in her school district. She was also one of the recipients of the Those Who Excel Award of Recognition from the Illinois Board of Education. Carla received a B.S. in Journalism from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale and a M.Ed. in School Counseling from Georgia State University. In addition, she received her Ed.M. in Global Studies in Education from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. Carla has also earned 68 credit hours through the Multicultural Studies Ph.D. program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. In addition, Carla is one of the co-sponsors of the Bremen Braveheart Pantry. The pantry was created to assist students who are in need of items such as toiletries and school supplies.
Dr. Jean Norris
Chairman of the Board
Dr. Norris is one of the leading advocates for the admissions profession. In her 29 year, higher education career, Jean served in the role of admissions representative, dean of admissions, faculty member, academic dean, vice president of marketing, vice president of enrollment, and vice president of organizational development. Currently Jean is a managing partner at Norton|Norris, Inc., a Chicago-based marketing/consulting/training firm focused exclusively in the higher education sector. Jean began her own educational pursuit in a 10-month medical assisting diploma program and went on to earn a B.A. in Management from National Louis University; a M.A. in Communication and Training from Governor’s State University and an Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership from the University of Sarasota. Jean is also an ABHES (Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools) evaluator and a Licensed Master Neurolinguistic Programming Practitioner. Dr. Norris currently serves the executive board of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation – Illinois (JDRF). Over the past decade she has served in numerous leadership roles including nomination, fundraising, volunteer engagement, communications and outreach. In addition, she is one of 14 international members of the JDRF International T1D Voices Council, a group that gives input to researchers in their search for the cure.
Dr. Amanda Opperman
Executive Committee, Credentialing Chair
A self-described “edu-preneur” passionate about achieving outcomes through innovation, Dr. Opperman has devoted much of her career to developing competency-based education programs that connect job seekers to employers through meaningful credentials. Dr. Opperman’s unique approach to developing educational programs comprises a blend of methods from academia and from business, including instructional scaffolding, modeling, Lean, and User-Centered Design. She is regarded as a prominent thought leader in the workforce development community and is frequently invited to write for sources such as Forbes.com and Career Education Review and to present at conferences and professional development workshops nationwide.
Dr. Opperman served as the Director of Competency-Based Solutions at Wonderlic. She oversaw the development of a competency-based eLearning program that teaches soft skills to job seekers. This included conducting research with over 1,300 employers and convening a highly engaged Advisory Board comprised of employers and other stakeholders. Dr. Opperman has also served the higher education sector as a professor, a vice chancellor, and an associate dean. In these roles, she led strategic planning, program development, program growth, outcomes measurement, and institutional effectiveness.
Dr. Opperman earned her PhD in Education from the Claremont Graduate University/ San Diego State University Joint-PhD program in Education. She also holds a Master’s degree in English Literature from San Diego State University
Executive Committee, Legal
Bill is a Partner in the Denver office of Armstrong Teasdale LLP and Co-Chair of the Firm’s Higher Education practice group, specializing in resolving difficult legal, policy and compliance issues for highly regulated entities. For the 10 years prior to joining Armstrong Teasdale, Bill served as the Chief Legal & Compliance Officer for Alta Colleges, Inc., a multi-campus private career college.. Bill earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, specialization in Accounting, from the University of Nebraska-Omaha and a JD from the University of Nebraska College of Law. Bill serves on several non-profit boards, including: board chairman of The Wayfaring Band, an organization dedicated to creating travel adventures for adults who experience intellectual and developmental disabilities and neuro-typical leadership fellows; board member of Rocky Mountain Human Services, an organization serving residents of the City and County who experience disabilities; and a board member for Colorado Uplift, an organization that provides programing and mentorship for at-risk students in Denver and Aurora, CO.
Executive Committee, Outreach Chair
Executive Board Member
Susan Lange brings a wealth of experience at all levels of business operation and management, from chief financial officer to human resources to start-up funding and budgeting. Susan is a Certified Public Accountant with expertise in a wide variety of financial matters from, tax, financial, and estate-planning for individuals, to small and mid-sized businesses, and charitable organizations. A native of Northwest Indiana, Susan earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Management (with an accounting emphasis) from Purdue University-Calumet in Hammond and began her career as a tax professional in 2001. She received her CPA designation in 2002.
Susan serves as a board member and treasurer for Camp Manitoqua, a Christian retreat, camp and outdoor education center in Frankfort, a member of her church’s finance team and the Illinois CPA Society.
Dr. KL (Shunda) McGriff
Executive Board Member
Dr. KL (Shunda) McGriff is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and National Certified Counselor (NCC). She has worked as a college counselor for nearly 20 years with low-income, first-generation, and minority student populations. Prior to becoming a counselor, she had myriad student affairs positions for both universities and a for-profit/technical institution.
Shunda is passionate about multicultural and social justice topics. Her most recent research has focused on single African American women. Additionally, her areas of specialty include: advocacy, college populations, and college student retention of vulnerable populations (undocumented/DACA and African American males).
Shunda received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from the University of Arizona. She received her Master of Science in Counseling from Eastern Illinois University and her Doctorate in Counseling and Supervision from Governors State University.
In 2014, Shunda had the honor of being selected as a fellow for the prestigious National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) Minority Fellowship Program (MFP). This award remains one of her greatest achievements.