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Board of Managers


Charles Cook

Chair, Board of Managers

Charles Cook enjoyed a 40-year career in higher education and continues involvement though active service on several college boards.  Most of these years were spent in regional accreditation including nearly 25 years as Director of New England’s Higher Education Commission.   
Dr. Cook served or serves as a trustee of eight college/university boards both not-for-profit and for profit; this service included the role of board chair.  He has served on a variety of education-related boards both in the United States and abroad.  
He trained as a legal historian and holds a PhD from the University of Maryland.  He has taught at several institutions.  He holds four honorary degrees.


Marry Bittner

Mary Bittner, DNP, MPA, RN, CENP

Board of Managers

As a nurse leader with more than 34 years of healthcare operations leadership experience, Dr. Mary Bittner is passionate about effective patient care.  As a Chief Nursing Executive and proven interdisciplinary leader, she has managed both inpatient and outpatient healthcare services inclusive of urban and rural settings.   

Dr. Bittner retired from Nurse Executive Leadership in May of 2014 to work with Caravan Health, a national consulting company for predominately rural healthcare providers seeking to participate in the Accountable Care Organization model.  Inspired by the mission to be part of a solution for affecting change in healthcare while helping communities transition to a value-based enterprise, Dr. Bittner assumed the position of VP for Clinical Development.  In this role, she led the building and implementation of a Community Care Coordination program which to date has been successfully implemented in many communities throughout the U.S.  Dr. Bittner believes that effective Coordination of Care is a key element toward effective Population Health Management and paramount toward a successful healthcare improvement journey. 

Dr. Bittner received her Doctor of Nursing Practice, Healthcare Executive Leadership degree from the University of San Francisco in 2012. She also holds a Certification in Nursing Practice (CENP) and in Health Care Finance for Nurse Executives through HFMA.  She has worked as Adjunct Faculty for the University of San Francisco since 2013, teaching in both the Executive Leadership and Population Health Leadership DNP programs.  

Continually engaged as a healthcare professional, Dr. Bittner is an active member in ACNL (the Association of California Nurse Leaders), AONL (American Organization for Nurse Leaders), HFMA (the Healthcare Financial Management Association), ALSN (Association for Leadership Science in Nursing) and STTI (Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing).   

Dr. Bittner has served on the Board of Trustees for Nightingale College for the past 8 years.  She chairs the Institutional Effectiveness Committee and serves as a member of the Audit Committee.  Dr. Bittner has previously served on multiple boards including local community organizations, hospital foundations and professional nursing organizations.


Michael Dakduk

Michael Dakduk

Board of Managers

Michael is the former executive vice president and director of government relations for Career Education Colleges and Universities (CECU). In this role, he represented over 600 postsecondary institutions before Congress and government stakeholders. Previously, he served as the head of a national nonprofit supporting military veterans and advocated for improvements to military-related education benefits. 

Michael completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and his graduate studies at Johns Hopkins University.



Mary-Anne Ponti, RN, MSN, DBA, FACHE

Board of Managers

Mary-Anne is a registered nurse with more than forty years of experience in healthcare.  Mary-Anne held several leadership positions including Chief Operating Officer, Chief Nurse Executive, and System Chief Nursing Officer. She served as a consultant providing healthcare leadership and management expertise, leadership development, succession planning and business development. Mary-Anne’s accomplishments include several successful turnarounds, the integration of a regional community hospital into a large healthcare system and the achievement of the American Nurses Credentialing Center Magnet recognition - following a four-year nurses strike. 

Mary-Anne earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing, Master of Science in Nursing, Master of Business Administration, and a Doctor of Business Administration. Mary-Anne has served on several boards, committees, task forces at a state and national level, and served as a Malcom Baldrige Quality Award Examiner. 



Mikhail Shneyder, MBA, RN

Board of Managers

Mikhail Shneyder is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Nightingale Education Group, a mission-driven organization focused on innovative nursing workforce development across its entire professional continuum, from prelicensure academic programs to graduate studies to reskilling and upskilling through continuing education.

Shneyder served as the first President of Nightingale College, a higher learning institution dedicated to closing education equity gaps and creating geographic, socioeconomic, and demographic access to the nursing profession throughout the United States. A registered nurse for more than 25 years, Shneyder has a wealth of management experience in post-secondary education for health professions and health care delivery services. He is a published academic author, conference speaker, and guest lecturer, specializing in strategic planning, organization development, forecasting, and management.

Shneyder holds a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of California at Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.



Gideon Esuzor, MBA, MSN

Board of Managers

LCDR Gideon N. Esuzor is the Mental Health Memorandum of Agreement Program Manager for the Commissioned Corps Program Office, Human Capital Division, Defense Health Headquarters, Falls Church, Virginia.  

LCDR Esuzor supports the DHA’s mission of providing medical care for the DoD’s 9.4 million eligible beneficiaries through the $33.46 billion defense health program by overseeing strategic efforts and mission priority placement of public health officer with expertise within the Department of Defense in accordance and alignment with the Assistant Secretary of Health and Commissioned Corps Headquarters priority focus areas.  In doing so, LCDR Esuzor leads implementation efforts for the placement of Commissioned Corps mental health and traumatic brain injury healthcare officers across the Military Health System in accordance with Congressionally directed transition plan requirements. These mental health clinicians include, Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners, Social Workers, Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists, and Speech/Language Pathologists.  

Prior to joining the Defense Health Agency, LCDR Esuzor served as a drug investigator in the Food and Drug Administration for approximately four years, conducting inspections and investigations of drug producing firms in the South Eastern region of the United States. LCDR Esuzor served six years in the United States Air Force Reserve as an aeromedical evacuation flight nurse and aeromedical staging clinical nurse. He deployed to Afghanistan in 2014 and flew 24 combat missions, providing timely transport and clinical care to more than 135 members of the U.S. and coalition forces. In 2017, he led a 17-member team comprising of nurses and medical technicians to support 134 medical evacuation missions, providing care for 971 patients during a six-month deployment to Qatar.



Dr. Christina Dempsey, DNP, MBA, RN

Board of Managers

Dr.  Christina (Christy) Dempsey is the CEO of Christina Dempsey Enterprises, LLC and the former Chief Nursing Officer for Press Ganey Associates.

Dempsey is a registered nurse with over three decades of healthcare experience regularly speaking and publishing nationally and internationally on nursing, perioperative and emergency services, patient flow, medical practice operations, supply chain and physician/hospital collaboration. Dempsey has served as adjunct faculty for the Missouri State University School of Nursing and holds a doctoral degree in nursing practice from Quinnipiac University, master’s degrees in business and nursing from Missouri State University, and certifications in perioperative nursing and executive nursing practice.  

She is a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing and serves as President of the Missouri Organization of Nurse leaders, the Nightingale College Board of Managers, the board of Magnit, LLC (a global workforce management company) and previously on the Boards of the American Organization for Nursing Leadership (AONL) and AONL Foundation Board.  In addition, she serves on the editorial boards for the Journal of Nursing Administration and Journal of Patient Experience.  

In 2018 and again in 2020, Dempsey was named one of the top 50 Safety Experts in the US by Becker’s Hospital Review.  She currently co-chairs the ANA Nursing Administration Scope and Standards revision workgroup redefining nursing leadership. Her book, The Antidote to Suffering:  How Compassionate Connected Care Can Improve Safety, Quality, and Experience, was released in 2017 and continues to be a resource for clinician practice, patient experience, and caregiver education.



Jason Woody

Board of Managers



Monica Rivera

Monica Rivera, MD, MPH

Board of Managers

Monica started her career developing Telehealth programs in rural Mexico. Later in her career, she led Clinical Services and Urgent Care at Mass General Brigham. 

Monica has worked in a variety of  Growth and Operations leadership roles, including start-ups and benefit management companies. Most recently, Monica was the Head of Solutioning and RFP Writing for UnitedHealthcare’s Medicaid vertical, where she was responsible for the organization’s Solutions strategy.

Her main interests and work including alternate-sites of care, workforce development and behavioral health. She currently does work in enhancing access to care, public health education and behavioral health engagement. 

Monica holds a Medical Degree from Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey in Mexico, her native country. She also earned a Masters in Public Health from the Harvard School of Public Health, where she teaches and is part of the faculty.


Ed Ashley

Ed Ashley

Board of Managers

Ed Ashley has over 30 years of experience in business, technology, and academia. He has led several technology organizations on a global scale, from startups to Fortune 100. He has worked as a Management Consultant for Fortune 100 companies engaged in mergers & acquisitions, outsourcing, and restructuring. In academia, he has been CFO of two universities, and has led both an academic program and a campus. Additionally, he has taught college on an adjunct basis for over 25 years, including Strategic Management and Analytics at the undergraduate and graduate levels.  

Ed holds an MBA from Cal State and has completed the Executive Program at Stanford. He has published several books, numerous articles, and has spoken at several conferences. Ed has also sat on for-profit and non-profit boards.

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