Lessner, Andrews promoted at TJC

Tyler Junior College President Dr. Mike Metke has announced two promotions within the college’s leadership, effective Jan. 1.

Kimberly Lessner, director of the Center for Earth & Space Science Education at TJC, has been named interim executive director of marketing, media and communications.

Mitch Andrews, TJC executive director of advancement and alumni affairs, has been named interim executive director of institutional advancement and the TJC Foundation.

The changes come following the departure of Dr. Kim Russell, formerly TJC vice president of advancement and external affairs, who was named chancellor of LSU-Eunice in September 2015.

“Since Dr. Russell left, her staff members have reported directly to me,” Metke said. “It has been very helpful to gain a better understanding of, and appreciation for, the great job they do to advance our college. We have exceptionally talented and dedicated people.

“As part of my assessment, it became clear that the foundation and the marketing/media areas have grown to the point that each area needs its own leader/champion to take TJC to a new level.”

Lessner joined the college as TJC science center director in May 2015, with primary responsibility for its overall leadership, management, planning and fundraising activities.

In addition to her continuing role as science center director, she takes the helm of TJC’s marketing, media and communications department, which includes an eight-member staff responsible for the college’s marketing, public relations, creative services, editorial and web development.

Before joining TJC, Lessner served as development director for PATH in Tyler. Prior to moving to Tyler, her corporate business experience focused on market strategy and business development, with more than 25 years of experience.

She was chief marketing officer at Protection One and vice president of marketing at Verizon Communications in New York. Her earlier experiences include strategic marketing and business development positions at Nissan Motor Corporation and Sears, Roebuck & Company.

Lessner is a graduate of the University of Missouri at Columbia, with a bachelor's degree in economics. She and her husband moved to the Tyler area in 2012 to be closer to family and friends.

Mitch Andrews joined TJC in 2002, as director of principal gifts; and in 2012, he was named executive director of advancement and alumni engagement.

In his new role at TJC, Andrews heads the college’s institutional advancement efforts and the TJC Foundation, which has more than $47 million in assets and more than $42 million in endowed funds.

Before joining TJC, he spent many years in Atlanta, Georgia, where he held arts administration positions for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the Alliance Theatre Company.

Andrews holds an Associate Degree in Arts from TJC, a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Mississippi, and a Master of Public Administration from The University of Texas at Tyler.

His professional and community affiliations include:

  • CASE Center for Community College Advancement, 2017 national conference chair and 2016 conference vice chair
  • Texas Association of Community College Foundations, 2015-16 vice president
  • East Texas Symphony Orchestra, board member
  • Leadership Tyler, past board president and 2011 distinguished alumnus 
  • Rotary Club of Tyler, member

“Last year, I announced that we would focus on ‘growing our own’ future leadership,” Metke said. “Kim Lessner and Mitch Andrews have demonstrated their special talents and abilities that can help take TJC to new heights during this year, which also marks our 90th anniversary.”

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