Maryland Higher Education Commission Appointments

​Appointments to the Maryland Higher Education Commission, includes Catherine “Cassie" Motz, who will serve as chair.

“The Maryland Higher Education Commission is poised to help make the necessary innovative changes to be a solid building block in my promise to build pathways to work, wages and wealth," said Gov. Moore. “The extensive knowledge and unwavering commitment that our new commissioners possess will drive the transformation of higher education in Maryland."

The Maryland Higher Education Commission is the state's higher education regulatory and coordinating board, responsible for establishing statewide policies for Maryland public and private colleges and universities, as well as for the for-profit career schools. The commission also administers $130 million in financial assistance to more than 65,000 Maryland students each year.

The commission consists of twelve members appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the Senate. One member is a student, serving a one-year term; all other members are appointed for five-year terms. 

“Each member of this diverse and inclusive commission brings significant expertise in academic, career, technical, educational, and workforce development to the table," said Maryland Higher Education Acting Secretary Dr. Sanjay Rai. "The guidance they provide will help align higher education with the state's emerging needs in academic programs, workforce, and research."

Catherine “Cassie" Motz, Chair
Motz is the executive director of the CollegeBound Foundation in Baltimore, serving since 2014. CollegeBound helps Baltimore City public school students realize their dreams of college education using a nationally-recognized advising model that has transformed the lives of more than 67,000 students. Prior to joining CollegeBound, Motz served as a deputy chief of staff and deputy legal counsel to Governor Martin O'Malley and as the interim director of the Governor's Office for Children.  

Dr. Charlene Mickens Dukes
As Interim President for Montgomery College, Dr. Dukes was responsible for leading one of the most diverse community colleges in the nation.  She is also the Founder of The Dukes Group LLC, which provides consulting services tailored to higher education, community nonprofits, and policy groups in support of organizational development and diversity, equity, and inclusion. As the first female president of Prince George's Community College, Dr. Dukes served thirteen years at its main campus in Largo, and five degree and extension locations. Under her leadership, the community college was the only college in Maryland to be chosen as one of the nation's sixteen White House Champions of Change in community colleges. 

Dr. Dukes celebrated 42 years of progressive leadership includes previous service as president of the Maryland State Board of Education, chair of the Council of Presidents of the Maryland Association of Community Colleges, service on the Board of Directors of the American Association of Community Colleges, service as secretary of the board of directors of the Institute for Higher Education Policy, as well as the secretary and convener of the Presidents Round Table of Black Community College CEOs including chancellors, system presidents, and campus presidents.

Chike Aguh
Most recently, Aguh was appointed by President Joseph R. Biden to serve as chief innovation officer at the U.S. Department of Labor, leading efforts to use data, emerging technologies, and innovative practice to advance and protect American workers. Previously, he was founding leader of the Community College Growth Engine Fund, a national multimillion dollar effort to support 41 community colleges in training thousands for good jobs. 

Dr. Sheila Thompson
Dr. Thompson most recently worked as a Mathematical Statistician with the U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics.  She served primarily as the National Research Coordinator and the United States representative for the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study, which involved daily coordination of the study and attendance at required international meetings before retiring in 2022.  She was also the Co-owner, Founder, and Chief Operating Officer of Precision Research & Evaluation, LLC working on methodologies for projects, along with preparing grant proposals and evaluations for private, federal, and local governmental clients. 

Dr. Thompson also was employed at the Maryland State Department of Education in research and evaluation, Furthermore, she worked at Howard University at the Center for Research on the Education of Students Placed At Risk where she was responsible for the implementation of projects related to research, evaluation, assessment, and school reform.  Dr. Thompson also has extensive consulting experience with private and public entities focused on all levels of education.  Additionally, she has taught at the higher education level as an adjunct professor at Anne Arundel Community College, Howard County Community College, George Mason University, and Strayer College.

Mickey Lynn Burnim 
Dr. Burnim has led four universities, including Elizabeth City State University, Bowie State University, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, and Coppin State University. He previously served as provost and chief academic officer at North Carolina Central University, assistant vice president for academic affairs in the University of North Carolina system, and economics faculty member at the Florida State University. 

Dr. Janet Wormack
Dr. Wormack most recently served as vice president for administration and finance at Salisbury University, providing vision and executive leadership to advance the university's commitment to diversity and inclusion. 

Prior to Salisbury, Dr. Womack served as senior vice chancellor for administration and finance and as chief financial officer at Houston Community College and as the senior vice president for administrative and fiscal services at Montgomery College. She also previously served as adjunct faculty at Morgan State University and as chief of procurement operations for Montgomery County government. 

Rebecca Taber Staehelin
Rebecca Taber Staehelin is the co-founder and co-chief executive officer of Merit America, a nonprofit organization that prepares low-income Americans for upwardly-mobile careers at scale. Prior to co-founding Merit America, Staehelin built and led Coursera's government and nonprofit team and served as education policy advisor to Delaware Governor Markell, as chief performance officer at the Delaware Department of Education, and as a consultant at McKinsey & Company.

For more information on the Maryland Higher Education Commission, go to and for more information on the Commission responsibilities, go to


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