Michele L. Johnson, Ph.D.

michele johnson

Chancellor, Pierce College

Michele L. Johnson, Ph.D., has served as Chancellor and CEO of Pierce College since 2005. She began her career at Pierce College in 1977 as an adjunct professor, then became a full-time professor in 1978, teaching criminal justice and sociology at what was then Fort Steilacoom Community College. 

For many years, Dr. Johnson also coached women’s softball and basketball at the college and was twice named Northwest Athletic Conference Coach of the Year.

She was appointed president of Pierce College Fort Steilacoom in 1999 when the Puyallup campus became a formal college.

A first-generation college student, Dr. Johnson holds B.S. and M.A. degrees in Police Science and Administration from Washington State University. She earned her Ph.D. in Educational Policy and Management from the University of Oregon and attended the Institute for Educational Management at Harvard University.

Under Dr. Johnson’s leadership, Pierce College has garnered national awards for improving student graduation rates, fostering equity, diversity, and inclusion, and serving veterans. In 2016, Dr. Johnson received the Association of Community Colleges Trustees CEO of the Year Award for the Pacific Region.

Dr. Johnson is active in the community. She currently serves on the boards of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Metro Parks Foundation, the Gottfried and Mary Fuchs Foundation, and Lakewood’s Promise, an organization dedicated to improving opportunities for Lakewood area youth. She is also a member of Tacoma Rotary 8.

Darrell L. Cain, Ph.D.

darrell cain

President, Pierce College Puyallup

Darrell L. Cain, Ph.D., President of Pierce College Puyallup, leads the staff and faculty of the Puyallup campus, serving 7,000 students annually.

Before joining Pierce College in July 2018, Dr. Cain served as vice chancellor for student affairs at Ivy Tech Community College in Indianapolis. He previously was the vice president for academic affairs at Eastfield College in Dallas, and was dean for academic affairs at Atlanta Technical College.

A first-generation college student, Dr. Cain attended Pasadena City College and earned a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University Bloomington, and a master’s degree from Ball State University. He attained his Ph.D. in education leadership and policy studies from Virginia Tech University.

A collaborative leader, Dr. Cain is committed to working with the Pierce College team and the larger community to support student success. 

Julie A. White, Ph.D.

julie white

President, Pierce College Fort Steilacoom

Julie A. White, Ph.D., president of Pierce College Fort Steilacoom, leads the staff and faculty of the Fort Steilacoom campus, serving more than 6,000 students annually.

Prior to joining Pierce College in July 2019, Dr. White served as senior vice president of student engagement and learning support at Onondaga Community College in Syracuse, New York. She has also served at a variety of institutions, including community colleges, liberal arts colleges and research universities, with roles in student services, academic administration, research administration, health education and women’s services.

Dr. White earned a Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Leadership from the University of Rochester, a Master in Education in Counseling from Xavier University, and a Bachelor of Science in Education in English Literature from Miami University.

A first-generation college student, Dr. White looks forward to helping Pierce College continue its work in helping all students be successful.