Academic Search Welcomes New Executive Coaches

Executive Coaching Practice Expands with 7 New Coaches

July 2023

Our innovative Executive Coaching Practice continues to rapidly grow in influence and impact. In addition to expanding our service areas to support, optimize, and sustain higher education executives across the academy, we have invited seven new trained Senior Executive Coaches to join our practice. Each brings a deep background of experience and wisdom into this transformational work within higher education.

We are pleased to welcome: Dr. Wanda D. Bigham, Dr. Linda M. Bleicken, Mr. Michael C. Maxey, Dr. James H. Mullen, Jr., Mr. John Reynders, Dr. Susan C. Turrell, and Dr. Edward J. Valeau.

Meet our new senior executive coaches:

Dr. Wanda Bigham

Wanda D. Bigham, Ed.D.

Senior Consultant & Senior Executive Coach

Dr. Bigham has been with Academic Search as a Senior Consultant since 2011. She has extensive experience in higher education leadership, including serving twice as a college president and in various administrative roles at both public and private institutions. Dr. Bigham was also an ACE Fellow and participated in the Institute for Educational Management at Harvard University.

Dr. Linda Bleicken

Linda M. Bleicken, Ph.D.

Senior Executive Coach

Dr. Bleicken joins us after recently retiring from the presidency of our parent organization, AALI. She has long been dedicated to student success and turned that passion toward leadership development through her role at AALI. Previously, Dr. Bleicken served the University System of Georgia for 27 years, including eight as President of Armstrong State University.

Michael C. Maxey

Michael C. Maxey

Senior Executive Coach

Mr. Maxey served as President of Roanoke College from 2007 until his retirement in 2022. During his years at Roanoke, Mr. Maxey developed a close relationship between the College, its students, and the local community. Throughout his career, he has been a strong advocate for liberal arts colleges and is actively engaged with numerous educational organizations.

Dr. James H. Mullen, Jr.

James H. Mullen, Jr., Ed.D.

Senior Executive Coach

Dr. Mullen as 21 years of experience as a college and university president, with more than 30 years of leadership experience in both public and private institutions. He was most recently Transitional President at Saint John’s University, and prior to that, served as President of Allegheny College.

John Reynders

John Reynders

Senior Executive Coach

Mr. Reynders joins us after a 22-year tenure as President of Morningside University. Mr. Reynders saw Morningside through many major accomplishments including transitioning athletics from NCAA DII to NAIA and the institution’s two largest fundraising efforts, as well as the transition from college to university.

Dr. Susan Turrell

Susan C. Turrell, Ph.D.

Senior Executive Coach

Dr. Turrell brings more than 25 years of higher education experience, most recently serving as Provost of Marywood University. She is a seasoned administrator with a breadth of knowledge, having worked at regional comprehensive universities in both large and small state systems, including some that are unionized, and at a private religious institution.

Edward J. Valeau

Edward J. Valeau, Ed.D.

Senior Executive Coach

Dr. Valeau is a highly experienced higher education executive, with a career spanning over 38 years in community colleges. He served as Superintendent/President of the Hartnell Community College District for 12 years and was the first African American to hold the position in the college’s century-long history. Beyond his administrative work, Dr. Valeau has served on numerous public and private boards, contributed to scholarly publications, and authored books on topics such as international education, leadership, and mentoring.

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