Leadership Team

Shannon Beets

Interim President and Provost

Shannon Beets brings twenty years of experience in higher education as a senior administrator and faculty member. Immediately prior to assuming the role of Interim President of the College, Ms. Beets served for three years as Executive Vice President and Provost. She joined Sierra Nevada College in 2006 and has held a variety of positions across key academic areas, including as Vice President for Assessment and Institutional Effectiveness, as Associate Provost, as the Dean of Education for the Teacher Education Department, and as Dean of Enrollment Services.

During her tenure she has worked closely with faculty, the executive leadership, and the Board to create high impact academic programs, measure student learning outcomes, and assess institutional effectiveness. She successfully led the College’s most recent reaccreditation process; and she has launched three successful Master’s degree programs, including the Master of Arts in Education (M.Ed.), and two innovative, low-residency programs: the Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) in Creative Writing and the MFA in Interdisciplinary Art. Most recently she spearheaded development of the College’s Strategic Plan for 2014-2021 through a process that engaged all sectors of the College community, as well as key external stakeholders.

As an innovative educator, she has passionately advocated for active learning, leading and collaborating with SNC faculty to create significant new initiatives to increase high impact practices in the classroom – a distinguishing hallmark of Sierra Nevada College. In addition to her administrative responsibilities and her work in designing innovative curriculum, she continues to teach, both in the landmark freshman year experience course, CORE 101, and in senior level courses in a variety of areas.

Beets is a frequent presenter on academic innovation and student engagement both nationally and internationally, recently representing the College in China during a multi-university tour to collaborate on the teaching of entrepreneurial thinking to Chinese youth. In keeping with her strong commitment to the community, Beets serves as the facilitator for the North Lake Tahoe-Truckee Leadership Program, which trains, informs and engages accomplished professionals throughout the region in preparation for leadership roles in the community.

Beets received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Religion and Philosophy from the University of La Verne, Las Verne, California; and her Master of Arts in Women’s Studies in Religion from Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, California.

Dan O’Bryan

Associate Provost

A Reno native, Dr. O’Bryan earned his B.A.in English Literature at the University of Nevada, Reno; his M.A. in English Literature at the University of California, Berkeley; and his Ph.D. in English Literature at the University of Washington. He taught philosophy at Truckee Meadows Community College and literature, history, philosophy and religious studies at Old College in Reno, Nevada before coming to Sierra Nevada College in 1992. Currently, he teaches the Nevada Constitution, the Senior Course on Ethics, American Literature and Masterpieces of World Literature.

O’Bryan became the Associate Provost in 2007, assisting in the daily functions of the academic dimensions of the college.  He is the chair of the Curriculum Committee, works with department chairs and faculty to create annual goals and is an arbiter in any academic conflicts. His interests include historiography and the challenges that new perspectives such as postmodernism offer to traditional historical understanding; philosophy in terms of the intersections between Asian and Western thought; the psychological and sociological dimensions of religion; and the role of literature as the most sensitive reflection of any historical epoch.

In his role as Humanities Chair and Associate Provost, he has altered the direction and intellectual content of Senior Projects to raise the level of intellectual rigor while standardizing the approach; Senior Projects are carefully assessed on the basis of approach and application, content and knowledge of the topic, connections between the discipline and other areas of study and the disciplines as generally understood in the current academic world. The Senior Projects, together with the Junior Art Portfolio Review, the Business Plan Competition and the Governor’s Cup in the Business Department and the independent research typical of the Science Department now lead to the Senior Symposium, an active demonstration of the emphasis on a culture of excellence and academic achievement at the college.

Sue Johnson

Chief Financial Officer

Sue Johnson has brought over 25 years of progressive executive management experience to SNC. She began her career as a Senior Staff Accountant at Grant Thornton, one of the top account firms in the nation. She subsequently served for over 9 years as the Chief Financial Officer for Harrah’s Lake Tahoe, overseeing a $160 million budget and directing the functions of accounting, finance, purchasing, credit, regulatory compliance and strategic planning/analysis, among others.

Following her time at Harrah’s, Sue served as the Acting Chief Financial Officer for Carson City where she coordinated the operations of finance, risk management and purchasing; worked with bond counsel to coordinate bond sales; and directed the annual comprehensive financial report. She subsequently served for two separate one year periods as Carson City’s Internal Auditor. Prior to coming to SNC, she worked for Freeman & Williams, LLP, a Carson City based accounting practice where she developed and managed their internal control review services for a widely diversified clientele.

Sue has a comprehensive understanding and deep appreciation for the meaning of the liberal arts and has a passion for providing financial direction to Sierra Nevada College.

Nicole Ferguson

Vice President of Marketing & Enrollment Services

Nicole Ferguson received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Sierra Nevada College in 2002, and worked for a number of years in the financial aid industry before coming to SNC in 2007 as Director of Financial Aid. During 7 successful years in this position her accomplishments included completing unqualified single audits each year, working on numerous committees to improve the state of the college, and acquiring progressively expanding responsibilities as she honed her change management skills. She was promoted to Vice President in 2014, and currently oversees Admissions, Financial Aid, Marketing, IT, the SNC website and the Campus Store.