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

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. 

Deidre Soileau

deidre soileau

Interim President, Pierce College Fort Steilacoom

Deidre Soileau is the Interim President, Pierce College Fort Steilacoom. She was appointed in Jan. 2019 by Chancellor Michele L. Johnson and serves in the position while the college conducts a national search for a permanent president.

Previously, Soileau served for more than five years as Vice President of Strategic Advancement and the Executive Director of the Foundation at Pierce College. She joined Pierce College in 2013 after many years working in marketing, strategic communications, development, governmental relations and institutional research. She has held executive level positions at several community colleges.

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Soileau earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Cleveland Institute of Art and a Master of Business of Administration from Virginia Tech.

The new president is expected to be hired by July 1, 2019.