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.
Before joining NCI's team, Emily served as a preschool teacher for First United Methodist Early Learning Center. She graduated from Patrick County High School and then earned her associate degree in general studies from Patrick Henry Community College.
Emily is an active member of Nettle Ridge United Methodist Church.
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.
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.
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.
Prior to joining NCI, Tracy worked within education at the YMCA, Martinsville City Public Schools, and Henry County Public Schools. She also worked as an administrative assistant for Brain Injury Services.
After graduating from Magna Vista High School, Tracy earned both an associate degree in administrative support technology and a certificate in clerical studies from Patrick Henry Community College.
Tracy is an active member of Mt. View Baptist Church.
Autumn brings experience in marketing, public relations, event planning, and program coordination to the NCI team after working for the Danville-Pittsylvania County and Martinsville-Henry County chambers of commerce.
A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Autumn received a B.A. in Journalism & Mass Communications with a focus on studies in Public Relations. She is currently pursuing her Master's in Public Administration from Eastern Kentucky University.
Autumn is an active member of Horsepasture Christian Church and Charity League of Martinsville Henry County. She serves on the board for Southside Survivor Resource Center.
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 currently a member the Martinsville City School Board and has served previously as Chair of the Virginia ACT State Council, President of the Virginia College Access Network, and 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.
Melany is a lifelong resident of Martinsville and Henry County who has dedicated her professional and personal time to creating meaningful learning opportunities for students. She has worked at several levels of education: administrative leader at a higher education center, instructor at Patrick Henry Community College, and teacher and administrator in K-12.
Melany has supported the educational needs of rural students and underserved populations in a variety of capacities at the local, state, and national levels. She served as a program reviewer for multiple national programs facilitated by the United States Department of Education. She also serves as an evaluator for the Virginia Department of Education’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers program and has been instrumental in bringing funding and programs to Southern Virginia.
Melany received her undergraduate degree from Radford University and her Master’s degree in administration from the University of Virginia. She currently serves as the President of the Southern Piedmont Technology Council and on the boards of Virginia Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (VASCD), Henry County/Martinsville Social Services, and is an alumnae of LEAD Virginia.
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.
Shane brings over ten years of experience in customer service management to the NCI team. He previously serviced as an operation supervisor at StarTek and Fanueil, both located in Martinsville.
He has a degree in supervisor management, an associate degree in human services from Patrick Henry Community College, and is pursuing a Bachelor of Social Work through the Longwood University program offered here at NCI. He will complete this degree in May 2018. Shane will be a first generation college graduate.
Shane volunteers with numerous nonprofits and community organizations including Edwards Adult Day Center and STEP Inc. (Solutions That Empower People).
Pat currently serves as the faculty aide for the AET (Academy for Engineering & Technology) program offered at NCI in partnership with Virginia State University.
Pat retired from Henry County Public Schools after a 38-year career in education that included teaching and administrative roles. Pat taught English, journalism, and alternative education for 21 years before pursuing various administrative roles as principal and assistant principal for grades K-12. In addition to her education career, Pat also served as the former theatre manager of TheatreWorks Community Players for 8 years.
A strong advocate for our community, Pat served on various educational committees and as president of Big Brothers Big Sisters. She was awarded the Arts in Education award by Piedmont Arts in 2013.