Leanna Blevins has been directly involved with the creation and development of New College Institute since her work with the New College Planning Commission in 2004 that laid the foundation of NCI.
Prior to her current role, she served as associate director and chief academic officer at NCI. Previously, Leanna has worked as assistant to the president at the University of Virginia as well as offices of state government relations, university relations, and faculty advancement. Leanna also served as director of career development at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise and as a student consumer advocate at Virginia Tech.
Leanna earned a B.A. from Virginia Tech and an M.Ed. and Ph.D. from the University of Virginia. Her dissertation research focused on rural students in Virginia and their access to and persistence in public colleges and universities. As a first generation college graduate, she is passionate about policy development and advocacy work toward enabling better educational attainment for underserved communities.
Leanna is an active board member of Smart Beginnings of Martinsville Henry County (chair), the Virginia Network of Women in Higher Education, the Martinsville-Henry County Family YMCA, and is a volunteer with the Blue Ridge Gymnastics Academy Parents Association.
Pamela serves NCI as the Coordinator of Advanced Manufacturing. She brings over 20 years manufacturing experience across multiple industries including automotive, food, beverage, and retail. Most recently, she served as an operations manager for Hanesbrands Distribution Center in Martinsville. She is also a veteran of the United States Army and was honorably discharged as a light wheeled vehicle mechanic.
Pamela earned a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from the University of Toledo, a master’s in project management from Villanova University, and a master’s in finance from Kaplan University.
A native of Toledo, Ohio, Pamela moved to Virginia in 2011. She is a member of the Parent Advisory Board for iChoose and a member of the children’s ministry leadership team and audiovisual team for Abundant Life World Outreach Church in Danville.
Melanie has been a part of the NCI team since 2006 and currently serves as the executive assistant to the executive director.
Previously employed by BB&T for twenty-five years, Melanie held various administrative positions in offices located in Martinsville and Franklin County during her banking career. She earned an Associate in Applied Science degree from Patrick Henry Community College.
Joining NCI in 2007, Ruby brought with her over 25 years of professional office experience in areas of office management, public relations, and event planning. At NCI, she facilitates academic classroom schedules, maintains reporting of student data, and provides administrative support to the associate director.
A graduate of Laurel Park High School, Ruby attended Patrick Henry Community College, and has completed several continuing education and technology classes and leadership development courses. Ruby is an active member of Axton Baptist Church, where she serves as Treasurer.
Tchernavia serves NCI as a Customer Service Receptionist. Tchernavia comes to New College Institute with more than 10 years of experience, having served Customer Service Representative at Results and AT&T most recently. She has expertise in employee development, her recent accomplishments have included achieving the Six Sigma Certification Yellow Belt.
Tchernavia studied Business Administration at Patrick Henry Community College.
Steve Keyser joined the New College Institute staff in 2006 after working as a teacher in the Martinsville
City Schools for more than twenty years. As part of the educational outreach team, he partners with local schools and community organizations to help them understand the value of a college education.
Steve is a first-generation college graduate who earned a B.S. from Radford University and a M.Ed. from the University of Virginia. He has been a teacher, coach, and community advocate during his career in education.
He currently serves as President of the Chamber of Commerce Education Foundation, member of the Henry County Career and Technical Board, and member of the Board of Trustees for Boys Home in Covington, VA. Steve is an active member of Christ Episcopal Church in Martinsville where he serves on the mission committee.
Marquita has served at New College Institute since 2015 as a Customer Service Receptionist. Marquita graduated from Patrick Henry Community College in 2016 with an associate’s degree in Human Services. She is currently enrolled in the Social Work program through NCI and plans to pursue a career in Child Protective Services after graduation. She is an active member of The Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ in Martinsville, VA where she serves as choir director.
Before joining NCI as Fiscal Coordinator, Mandy served as a Residency Business Administrator for Virginia Department of Transportation and within the Accounting Department at Clark Gas & Oil in Stuart, VA.
Mandy received her bachelor’s in business administration through the Averett University program at NCI. Virginia Institute of Procurement also awarded Mandy as a Virginia Contracting Associate.
Serving as Technology Manager for New College Institute since 2012, Michael previously worked in the technology department for Henry County Public Schools and as office manager in the School of Nursing Department at North Carolina A&T University. With this comprehensive background, he gained experience in technology, grant writing, budgeting, and management.
Michael is a graduate of Averett University where he earned his master’s degree in Business Administration. Prior to that, Michael earned his BS in Computer Science at North Carolina A&T State University.
Michael is an active member of High Ridge Baptist Church of Martinsville. He also works with various community organizations such as Piedmont Arts and Theatre Works.
As Coordinator of Student Services at New College Institute, Sammy partners with schools, community organizations, and families to create a college-going culture in Southern Virginia. He brings to the field of college access a wide diversity of professional experience, including work in real estate finance and public school counseling.
Sammy graduated from Yale University with a BA in Art History. He earned a MS in Community and College Counseling from Longwood University and has completed the Duke University Certificate in Non-Profit Management.
Sammy is Past President of the Virginia College Access Network, Past Chair of the Virginia ACT State Council, and Past Chairman of the Virginia Museum of Natural History Board of Trustees.
Christina joined New College Institute in 2011 after working for The Harvest Foundation for seven years. At NCI, she focuses on needs surrounding accounting and finances, but she also brings experience in various areas of operations.
Christina is a first-generation college graduate who earned a BS in Accounting from Averett University. In addition she has completed several continuing education courses and various other training classes and leadership training.
After retiring from the Martinsville City Police Department as Captain over Patrol Division with 33 years of service, Marshall Thomas is now the security supervisor at NCI. He is also a graduate of Patrick Henry Community College with a degree in Administration of Justice. Marshall is active in the community and enjoys coaching baseball, football, and basketball.