Chancellor’s Executive Team

Sandra Haynes

Chancellor Sandra Haynes provides overall leadership for WSU Tri‑Cities, represents the campus within the University system, and serves as a liaison with local communities, organizations and industries.

Her Executive Team provides leadership in the primary areas across campus to support faculty, staff and student success.

Chief of Staff and Operations

John Mancinelli
John MancinelliChief of Staff and OperationsEast 225509-372-7237

John Mancinelli, Ed.D., joined Washington State University Tri-Cities as Chief of Staff and Operations in July 2014. Dr. Mancinelli has 23 years of experience in education and educational leadership. Dr. Mancinelli brings a deep understanding of Washington State’s educational system, organizational structures and management best practices. His experience and positive relationships contribute to the advancement of the Tri-Cities campus.

Dr. Mancinelli serves as Educational Leadership faculty to the College of Education and to the International Principal Certification Program. He teaches educational leadership courses to masters and doctoral students on the Tri-Cities campus. Additionally, Dr. Mancinelli advises, mentors and sits on committees for masters and doctoral students. Dr. Mancinelli’s area of research focus includes educational leadership and role theory as it relates to building academic capacity.

Dr. Mancinelli functions in the role of “ambassador” for the Chancellor and works with strategic partners to advance campus and systems initiatives. As Chief of Staff, Dr. Mancinelli assists the Chancellor to advance his initiatives and oversees the Chancellor’s Executive Office. He supports all aspects of the campus by integrating and coordinating campus executive units of Student Affairs, Academic Affairs, Research, Advancement and Community Engagement, Finance and Administration, Human Resources, Safety, Diversity and Outreach. Dr. Mancinelli consults and coordinates with WSU Attorney General, Human Resources, Finance and Administration, Student Affairs, Government Relations, and Research offices. Dr. Mancinelli plays both a management and advisory role to the Chancellor.

Nationally, Dr. Mancinelli participates in the American Association of Colleges & Universities group and The Creativity Commonwealth: Building Institutional Capacity for Transformation.

Dr. Mancinelli obtained an Associate of Arts degree from Columbia Basin College, a Bachelor of Arts degree from Central Washington University, a Master of Science degree from Southern Oregon University and a Doctorate of Educational Leadership from Washington State University.


Karina Barajas-Garibay, M.Ed.

Principal Assistant

Vice Chancellor of Finance and Administration

photo of Ray White
Ray WhiteVice ChancellorEast 237509-372-7025
photo of Teresa Tritt
Teresa TrittExecutive Assistant, Finance & AdministrationEast 235509-372-7253
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Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

photo of Kathleen McAteer
Kathleen McAteerVice Chancellor for Academic Affairs; Clinical Assistant Professor, BiologyFloyd 263E509-372-7371
Jensen Cheryl
Cheryl JensenPrincipal Assistant, Academic AffairsFloyd 263F509-372-7217

Kathleen McAteer earned her Ph.D. from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of South Carolina. Before she came to WSU Tri-Cities as a clinical assistant professor of biological sciences, she worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. 

Her research has three focus areas: 

1) Analysis of metabolism in pathogen bacteria to gain a better understanding of the infection process, 2) Analyzing metabolic changes in filamentous fungi mutants to determine their utility in bioprocessing, and 3) Characterization of immobilized enzymes in hydrogels to determine the optimal properties for these solutions as threat-detection agents. 

As the vice chancellor for academic affairs, Dr. McAteer is the chief academic officer for the campus and leads the AVID for Higher Education student success initiative. She received the President’s Distinguished Teaching Award for non-tenure track faculty at Washington State University in 2015.

Acting Assistant Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

Paul Strand
Paul StrandActing Assistant Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Professor, PsychologyCIC 202A509-372-7177
Jensen Cheryl
Cheryl JensenPrincipal Assistant, Academic AffairsFloyd 263F509-372-7217

Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Outreach

photo of Chris Meiers
Chris MeiersVice Chancellor for Student AffairsFloyd 269F509-372-7381

Dr. Chris Meiers previously served as Associate Vice Chancellor of Student Services at the University of Kansas Medical Center. His experience in higher education includes positions as a registrar, admissions counselor, financial aid director, fitness center director, ombudsman, and clinical assistant professor.

He earned his Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and Research from the University of Kansas in 2010 with a dissertation on “Item Response Theory Scaling of an Academic Medical Center Student Satisfaction Survey.” Dr. Meiers received his Master of Science in Educational Administration and his Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry at Fort Hays State University.

As the Vice Chancellor, Dr. Meiers provides visionary leadership and strategic direction to our comprehensive services and programs in enrollment management and student affairs, including recruitment, retention, financial aid, registration, career services, counseling services, and student involvement.

Director of Marketing & Communication

Jeffrey Dennison
Jeffrey DennisonDirector, Marketing and CommunicationEast 220509-372-7319

Jeffrey Dennison, M.A., provides leadership in producing and managing WSU Tri-Cities internal and external communications, social media, marketing, public relations, public affairs outreach and branding. Under Jeff’s leadership the WSU Tri-Cities Marketing and Communications department has won numerous awards, including AVA Gold, Hermes Gold and Marcom Awards gold for writing, photography, graphic design, videography and project planning.

Prior to joining WSU Tri-Cities, Jeff worked in communications and external affairs for the Mission Support Alliance, where Jeff facilitated communications activities for the US Department of Energy (DOE) on the Hanford Site. While at Hanford, Jeff launched the Hanford Speakers’ Bureau program, Hanford Forward e-magazine, and worked in various other roles.

Jeff is a graduate of Santa Clara University with a B.S. in Political Science and a M.A. from Gonzaga University in Communication and Leadership Studies. He is a Certified Crisis Communicator and holds various other DOE certifications.

Jeff attained the rank of Eagle Scout from Troop 539 in Los Gatos, California, one of the oldest Boy Scout troops in the nation.  In 2006, the Association of Washington Business awarded Jeff their Community Service Award for education work on literacy projects in rural Washington. In 2008, the Kitsap Peninsula Business Journal named Jeff “One of the 40 most outstanding young individuals on the Kitsap Peninsula.”

Area Human Resource Administrator

photo of Debra McCormick
Debra McCormickArea HR AdministratorEast 242509-372-7302
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