Executive Leadership Council

Executive Leadership Council - The President's leadership team at Coconino Community College.

Sarah Benton

Faculty Senate President and American Sign Language Faculty

Sarah is a full-time faculty member and has been teaching American Sign Language Interpreting and American Sign Language since 2011.  She is also the statewide interpreter representative and Commissioner on the Arizona Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Sarah is also a Mediator for the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf Ethical Practices System and a community freelance interpreter.  Originally from New York, Sarah comes from a family with many Deaf and hard of hearing members.  She and her family have resided in Flagstaff since 2003.

Gonzalo Perez

Associate Provost

Gonzalo Perez, PhD, is a young educator, passionate about his mission of making higher education available to all minority students. Professionally, Gonzalo is the Associate Provost at Coconino Community College and teaches various courses in Computer Science, and Information Systems studies and his research interests include information security and biometrics.  Before his career in academia, Gonzalo worked as a project manager with Nielsen Media Research in New York City working closely with top media companies such as NBC, HBO, Univision, and Viacom.  He earned his Doctoral degree from Pace University (NY) in Applied Computing in 2015.  Gonzalo looks forward to leveraging his experience and passion for education to the community of Coconino County and beyond!

Steve Peru

Steve Peru

Chief External Affairs Officer/Executive Director, Coconino Community College Foundation

Steve Peru joined Coconino Community College in 2019 as Chief Development and Government Relations Officer.  Before CCC, Steve served as President/CEO of United Way of Northern Arizona covering the Coconino, Navajo and Apache county area.  Steve’s first career was in local government serving in a variety of roles at Coconino County, including Coconino County Manager, before leaving in 2011 to work in the private sector at W. L. Gore & Associates.  Steve is a product of Arizona community colleges, attending Eastern Arizona College before transferring to Northern Arizona University to earn a Bachelor's Degree in Applied Sociology with an emphasis in Social Work and a Master's in Public Administration.  

April Sandoval

April Sandoval

Assistant to the President

April manages the Office of the President and supports the District Governing Board and College Council.  After completing an associate's degree in Administration of Justice at Coconino Community College in 2004, April went on to complete a Bachelors Degree in Criminal Justice and a Bachelor's degree in Public Agency Service (emphasis in Public Administration) at Northern Arizona University in 2007. She also completed a Master's degree in Administration (emphasis in Professional Writing) in May of 2015.  All degrees were completed with the highest honors and April credits her success in education to the foundation she received from the amazing faculty and staff at Coconino Community College.  Before coming to CCC, April served as Graduate Admissions Coordinator for the Graduate College and Administrative Associate for the School of Forestry for Northern Arizona University.  

Dietrich Sauer

Dietrich Sauer

Executive Director of Human Resources

Dietrich Sauer joined Coconino Community College in 2017 as Executive Director of Human Resources and oversees the CCC Human Resources department. Prior to FUSD, Dietrich held positions in the private sector with several Fortune 500 organizations including Deckers Brands (the makers of Teva and Ugg Australia Footwear) as their E-commerce HR Leader; Deluxe Corporation (banking and small business services) as their Area Human Resources manager supporting manufacturing plants, distribution centers and customer service centers throughout North America; and Carson Industries (Plastics Manufacturer with seven global locations) as their Director of Human Resources.  His passion is championing positive employee relations and encouraging employee engagement to make the College a best place to work and an employer of choice.

Nathaniel Southerland

J. Nathaniel "Nate" Southerland


Nate joined Coconino Community College in May 2018. After earning his bachelor’s degree at Brigham Young University, Nate began his career teaching physics, chemistry, and jazz on the Navajo Nation and worked as a curriculum and content developer and an educational technologist after receiving a Master’s degree in International Rural & Community Development from Utah State University. He earned his PhD in Educational Leadership & Policy from the University of Utah, where he has taught courses in higher education governance, policy, and finance as an adjunct professor while working in academic and student affairs administration and teaching statistics at Salt Lake Community College for the last nine years. In addition to his love of teaching and learning and a graduate specialization in higher education leadership, Nate’s areas of research include adult learning theory, engagement and retention of adult students, and quantitative research methods. Although Nate was raised in Florida and his spouse in southern California, they both have deep ties to northern Arizona and New Mexico extending back several generations and are excited to be putting down roots in Flagstaff.

Jami Van Ess

Jami Van Ess

Executive Vice President

Jami oversees the operations of Accounting and Finance, Budgeting, Facilities and Security, Information Technology Services, Purchasing and Auxiliary Services, Registration and Enrollment Services, and Student Financial Aid and Veterans Services. Before joining the College in 1998, she was the Vice President for Administrative Services at Sauk Valley Community College in Dixon, Illinois. Jami received her Bachelor of Science degree in accountancy from Northern Arizona University, and a master’s in business administration from the University of Phoenix. Jami is currently pursuing her doctoral degree from Grand Canyon University and expects to complete her degree in the Spring of 2019.  She is a Certified Public Accountant in the State of Arizona.