Ashford University Leadership

Ashford University's outstanding leadership has a strong background in academic administration, with a focus on continuously improving student success and academic quality. Learn more about them below.

Richard Pattenaude | Ashford University

Dr. Richard L. Pattenaude
Ashford University President and Chief Executive Officer


Dr. Richard L. Pattenaude joined Ashford University in 2012 as President and Chief Executive Officer, bringing with him more than 40 years of experience in various leadership positions in higher education.

From 2007-2012, Dr. Pattenaude served as Chancellor of the University of Maine System, after serving for 16 years as President of the University of Southern Maine. He also spent five years as Vice President for Academic Affairs at Central Connecticut State University, five years as Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs at the State University of New York at Binghamton, and six years as a member of the Political Science faculty and the Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences at Drake University.

Dr. Pattenaude was Chair of the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education for the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), the regional accrediting entity. He is actively involved in numerous community organizations and currently serves on the Boards of San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation, Maine Health, the Alfond College Scholarship Challenge, and Lee Auto Malls.

Dr. Pattenaude earned a Ph.D. in Political Science at the University of Colorado and a B.A. degree in Economics at San Jose State University. His areas of expertise include American government, university leadership, public administration, and organizational theory. In addition, Dr. Pattenaude is a Vietnam veteran.


Dr. Lori Williams
Ashford University Provost


Dr. Lori Williams joined Ashford University in October 2013. As the University’s Provost, she is responsible for all aspects of Ashford’s academics, including academic programs, accreditation and assessment, the academic mission, and the academic experience for students.

Dr. Williams brings more than 25 years of experience in education to Ashford. Most recently, she served as the Vice Provost of Curriculum Development and Innovation at Kaplan University. Prior to that, she was Executive Director of the Center for Student Success at Walden University. Previous positions include Vice President of Product Strategy and Development at Laureate Online Education, Executive Director of Laureate’s eLearning Group, and Director of Instructional Technology at Union Institute & University.

Throughout her career, Dr. Williams has also taught extensively, serving as professor, thesis advisor, and mentor. She has authored and edited several professional publications, participated in a number of professional presentations, and is affiliated with several organizations, including the Association for the Assessment of Learning in Higher Education and the Sloan Consortium.

Dr. Williams holds a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies from Union Institute & University, an M.A. in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from Saint Michael’s College, and a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University.

 

Steve Quattrociocchi

Chief Operating Officer

Steve Quattrociocchi joined Ashford University in December 2013. As Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Quattrociocchi oversees all financial and administrative operations for the University, including Student Services, Student Financial Aid, and Admissions.

Mr. Quattrociocchi brings more than 25 years of experience in the education field to Ashford – working in supplemental education, services to school districts, and higher education – in both classroom and online environments. He came to Ashford from Corinthian Colleges, where he served for five years as the President and COO of the Online Learning Group. Previously, he spent nearly 20 years at The Princeton Review, rising to the position of Executive Vice President and General Manager of Test Prep Services Division.

Mr. Quattrociocchi earned an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Science degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is also a member of the Southern California Chapter of the Young Presidents Organization/World Presidents Organization. Mr. Quattrociocchi also serves on the Board of Directors for Promises2Kids.


Sheri Jones
Senior Vice President of Administrative Services


Sheri Jones joined Ashford University in November 2005. As Senior Vice President of Administrative Services, she oversees student-related areas, including policy and implementation, student and alumni affairs, career services, financial aid and services, imaging services and the Registrar's Office.

Ms. Jones' career in higher education spans more than 22 years. Before her promotion to Senior Vice President of Administrative Services, she served as University Registrar and Director of Institutional Research. Ms. Jones was later responsible for the creation of several essential functional areas: the Office of Institutional Research, the Office of Policy and Implementation, and a team specializing in online student and alumni affairs, and career services. She has participated in a number of additional projects which demonstrate her fluency in licensure, accreditation and legal compliance; information system planning and implementation; and the institutionalization of modern academic policies and procedures.

Prior to joining Ashford University, Ms. Jones served in various leadership positions in higher education, including Director of Student Services and Administration for Argosy University in Sarasota, Florida, and Director of Student Services for the Georgia School of Professional Psychology in Atlanta, Georgia.

Ms. Jones holds an M.S. in Education with a Specialization in Leadership for Higher Education from Capella University in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and a B.S. in Psychology from Averett University in Danville, Virginia.

She is a member of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, the Association of Student Affairs in Higher Education (NASPA), the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, and the Association for Institutional Research. Ms. Jones also serves on the Board of Directors for the Jenna Druck Center.

 

Brian Zotti

Senior Vice President of Student Services and Operations

Brian Zotti joined Ashford University in October 2013 as Senior Vice President of Student Services and Operations. In this role, he provides leadership in planning, organizing, and executing the student affairs and student accounts and collections functions for Ashford University. Currently, he is the Chairman for the Retention and Graduation Committee at Ashford and is also responsible for the efficient and effective operations of all student service functions for Ashford locations in San Diego, Denver, and Iowa, as well as any future Ashford locations.

Mr. Zotti has more than 14 years of experience in senior management and operations, including seven years of experience in the proprietary higher education industry. Most recently, Mr. Zotti served as Group Vice President of Shared Services for Corinthian Colleges Inc. His accomplishments in this role include building and managing the online division’s business intelligence team, project management office, process improvement team, client services, contact center operations, and quality assurance and compliance team. Previously, Mr. Zotti was Executive Director of Operations, International for Kaplan Inc. Mr. Zotti also served seven years as Senior Manager of Operations, Auto Finance Sales and Services for Capital One Bank.

Mr. Zotti holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. He was also selected for a prestigious internship with the United States Supreme Court. He currently serves as Secretary/Executive Committee Member at the Diversionary Theatre and is a member of the International Contact Center Institute.

 

Bill Ness

Senior Vice President of Admissions

Bill Ness joined Ashford University as Senior Vice President of Admissions in November 2013. In this role, Mr. Ness is responsible for all aspects of the Ashford Admissions department, including strategy, processes, recruitment, qualification, and early retention of students. He manages and oversees all shared services relationships associated with Admissions and is responsible for partnering, collaborating, and participating with all external federal, state, and local agencies associated with Admissions activities.


For more than 20 years, Mr. Ness has served in a variety of leadership and senior management positions for various companies spanning multiple industries. Most recently, he served as Vice President of the Contact Center for Bridgepoint Education, overseeing multiple student inquiry and contact center efforts. Prior to joining Bridgepoint Education, Mr. Ness served as President of Uniforms Express and as President and Chief Operating Officer of Road Runner Sports. At both organizations, Mr. Ness was responsible for overseeing all enterprise-wide initiatives, creating and fostering best in class organizations, and maintaining customer service efforts resulting in strong retention and customer satisfaction. Previously, he held positions as Vice President of Operations and Vice President of Customer Service for American Express, EADS, and MCI Communications.

Mr. Ness holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of North Carolina and was a member of two NCAA National Championship lacrosse teams.

 

Jim Smith

Vice President of Finance

Jim Smith joined Ashford University as Vice President of Finance in February 2014. In this role, Mr. Smith is responsible for managing the annual budget process, overseeing the quarterly forecasting process, and performing monthly and quarterly variance analyses and reports in support of Ashford’s objectives. 

Mr. Smith brings to Ashford more than 18 years of experience in finance. Most recently, he served as the Associate Vice President of Financial Planning & Analysis for Bridgepoint Education. Previously, he held several financial roles at Dresser Wayne and Wayne, GE Energy, both in the United States and in England. He also worked in the finance departments at Dell and Qualcomm.

Mr. Smith earned his BS in Business Administration with an emphasis in Finance from San Diego State University.