President’s Cabinet

Weymouth Spence, President

Weymouth Spence is the nineteenth president of Washington Adventist University, located near the nation’s capital in Takoma Park, Maryland.  Washington Adventist University (WAU) is one of the fourteen higher education institutions in North America with an affiliation to the Seventh-day Adventist Church.  He began his presidency at WAU in January 2008 and during his tenure has put together a leadership team that elevated and transformed the former Columbia Union College (CUC) to university status and is continuing to build on the legacy of former presidents to elevate the University standing to one of international distinction. Read more here.

Cheryl Harris Kisunzu, Provost

Kisunzu holds a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from Andrews University Berrien Springs, MI; M.S. in Nursing as a Family Nurse Practitioner from Rush University, Chicago, IL and B.S. in Nursing, also from Andrews University. She has held senior-level positions of progressive academic and administrative leadership which include Vice President for Human Resources and Organizational Development as well as the Dean for the Life Science Human Services Division and Director of the Nursing Program at Harper College Palatine, IL.; Dean for Mountain View Arts and Sciences Department/Director of Nursing; and  Grant Administrator at Eastfield College Mesquite, Texas for its historic 1.4 million dollar Texas Workforce Commission Grant. Kisunzu also has over 14 years of teaching experience achieved through faculty appointments at Vanderbilt University/Nashville, TN; Loma Linda University/ Loma Linda, CA;St. Louis Community College/Meramec St. Louis, MO and Harper College/Palatine, IL. In addition, she is a reviewer for the Middle States Substantive Change Review Committee, a member of the Adventist Health Care Board, and certified as a performance excellence  Malcolm Baldrige Evaluator.

Patrick Farley, Executive Vice President for Finance

Patrick Farley earned his undergraduate degree in Business Administration from the University of Maryland and a Communications degree from Washington Adventist University. He also holds an M.S. in Finance from the University of Baltimore.

Farley has been in this position since July 2004. From 2002 to 2004, he served as controller at WAU. Prior to joining WAU, Farley worked in the communication and government contracting industry as controller, senior accountant, and staff accountant.

Dirk Whatley Jr., Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management

Dirk Whatley Jr., has over 10 years of experience in higher education. He holds a BA in International Affairs from the University of Cincinnati and an MBA from the University of Maryland. Within his career, he has held senior-level positions in admissions, academics, campus operations, and non-profit management. Dirk is best known for not just meeting but exceeding enrollment goals in small to mid-level markets and creating lifelong partnerships within the DC metro area and beyond.

Dirk joined is joined the University in May 2022 and is responsible for ensuring that every student that enters WAU’s Gateway to Service is prepared, engaged, and transformed. 

Dirk is a true servant leader who spends his free time serving the most vulnerable. He and his family volunteer regularly to feed the homeless and hungry in our nation’s capital.

Ricardo Flores, Chief of Institutional Effectiveness and Technology

Ricardo Flores is an experienced information technology officer overseeing large-scale information technology support services. Flores earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Information Systems from Columbia Union College, holds Master degrees in Healthcare Administration and Business Administration from Washington Adventist University and earned professional certifications in Management, Service Oriented Architecture and IT Infrastructure Modernization. Prior to his current role, he served as the Executive Director of Information Technology Services.

Before joining WAU, Flores served as an IT program manager, project manager, independent verification and validation consultant, and Sr. systems engineer for various Fortune 500 companies, including SAIC, Leidos, MACRO Intentional, and Technology Advancement Group, as well as supporting various government agencies including the IRS, Veterans Administration, Department of Defense and Department of Transportation. Flores joined the University in 2017 and is responsible for information technology, institutional effectiveness, institutional research, assessment, data integrity, accreditation and strategic planning.

Ralph E. Johnson, Vice President of the Center for Student Life

Ralph E. Johnson is a 1981 graduate of the University of Alabama, with a BS degree in Speech/Language Pathology. In 1982, he received his Master’s degree in Student Personnel Services from Florida State University. He received his Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from the University of South Carolina in May of 1993.  His dissertation, titled “Factors in the Academic Success of African American College Males,” garnered him the coveted Dissertation of the Year Award, given by the Southern Association for College Student Affairs (SACSA). His role as VP will encompass the Office of Ministry to create a greater synergy across the spectrum of student life on the WAU Campus. Dr. Johnson is the recipient of numerous honors to include his induction into Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society, the SACSA Melvene D. Hardee Award for Outstanding work as a student affairs professional, and the 1991 National Alumni Brother of the Year for Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. Dr. Johnson is a member of the Emmanuel-Brinklow Seventh-Day Adventist Church, where he serves as a deacon. He is married and the father of one son.

Everett Wiles, Vice President for Integrated Marketing & Communication

Everett Wiles is a media professional with almost 30 years experience in television production, higher education and media management. His media career started in the early nineteen nineties when he was an integral contributor to the establishment of a media department at West Indies College now Northern Caribbean University (NCU). He went to New York by the mid-nineties where he completed his Bachelor of Arts degree with Honors (1999) and a Master of Arts degree with distinction (2000) in Communication Arts from the New York Institute of Technology.

In 2000 he returned to NCU and rejoined the media team to continue building the media department there. In 2003 when the Department of English and Modern Languages was reshaped and the Department of Communication Studies was established, Mr. Wiles was asked to be the academic chair.

In 2009 Mr. Wiles was asked to serve as the General Manager of the NCU Media Group, a newly formed media entity set up to oversee the operations of the university’s all island radio station NCU FM, its all-island cable channel NCU TV and its media production unit. In 2017 he migrated to the USA where he served as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Visual Art Communication and Design at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan, overseeing the television specialization as well as supervising the television production studio.

Before joining the workforce at WAU, Mr. Wiles served as overall producer for the “3AM: Morning is Coming” production for the HOPE Channel International.

Jered Lyons, Athletics Director

Jered Lyons was recently named Director of Athletics after serving as Interim for one year. He enters his ninth season as Head Women’s Basketball Coach. He is the longest tenured and all-time winningest coach in women’s basketball program history. He has guided the program to four consecutive winning seasons and three semi-final appearances. Before being named Director of Athletics he served as the Sports Information Director & Compliance Coordinator for seven years.

Before coming to WAU, Lyons served as an Advisor for Multicultural & International Students, Assistant Fitness Coordinator, IEP Instructor, and Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach at Eastern Mennonite University. Prior to EMU, Lyons was a graduate assistant men’s basketball coach at Salisbury University under Josh Merkel, from 2011-2013. He served as recruiting coordinator, camp director for the Seagulls Day camp, assistant director for the Nike overnight camp, and facilitated with daily operations of the program. During his final season with the Seagulls, he helped the team reach a mark of 19-8 overall season record. He also earned his master’s degree in post-secondary education at Salisbury University in 2013.

Before arriving at Salisbury University, Lyons taught ESL at N-Kids Academy in Icheon-si, South Korea in 2010-2011. He graduated from Eastern Mennonite University with a degree in Communications.

He currently resides in Silver Spring, MD with his wife Shari and their twins Mazin & Maya.

Chloe Parks, Executive Administrative Assistant

Chloe Parks joined Washington Adventist University as the Executive Administrative Assistant in the Office of the President in October 2022 with administrative professional experience working in non-profit organizations.

She graduated from Andrews University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Visual Art. In 2018 she served as the Administrative Assistant to the Department of Visual Art, Communication & Design at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, MI.

In 2020, Ms. Parks relocated to New York and served as the Administrative Assistant to the Departments of Human Resources and Quality Assurance at Unique People Services in Bronx, NY. She monitored incident trend analysis, quality improvement and provided support to staff working with individuals diagnosed with mental illness, developmental disabilities.