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Author: BHSU Communications/Tuesday, September 22, 2020/Categories: Academic Affairs, Campus Currents, Faculty, Staff, 2020, 2021

Dr. John Allred, Vice President for Enrollment at Black Hills State University, announced the appointment of two leadership positions on campus. Gail Johnson is the new Director of Student Financial Aid and Kathleen Fitzgerald-Ellis has been selected as the Director of the Student Success Center.

“I’m pleased to announce the selection of two exceptional leaders for these key positons,” Allred said. “Both bring impressive records of experience and accomplishments to Black Hills State University. I look forward to working with them as we move forward with the University’s goals.”
Gail Johnson
 Gail Johnson, Director of Student Financial Aid
Johnson, who begins her role leading the financial services for BHSU today, has held a number of administrative positions including serving as a Dean, Director of Financial Aid, and Director of Compliance and Systems in Texas and Wisconsin. She most recently has been serving as working as an independent consultant developing solutions for financial aid compliance, analysis for automation of awarding student financial aid, and improvement of student services.

Johnson is excited by the potential she sees at BHSU and the opportunity to utilize her knowledge, experience, and expertise with financial aid related technology in this new role.
“I see the growth potential at Black Hill State University. My ability to apply rapid changing technology has always yielded results,” Johnson said. “Black Hill State University's core values are all directly in alignment with my own personal and professional ethical standards. This seems to be a perfect fit.”

Johnson has more than 21 years of experience working in higher education. She has a Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership and a Bachelor of Business Studies in Management Information Systems from Dallas Baptist University; an Associate of Science in Computer Information Systems from Mountain View College in Dallas, Texas; and is currently pursuing a Doctoral Degree in Education.
Kathleen Fitzgerald-Ellis, Director of the Student Success Center
Fitzgerald-Ellis, who is currently a Senior Marketing Specialist with Monument Health and previously worked as an Assistant Director of Nursing Student Services for South Dakota State University, and as a Student Success Advisor at BHSU, begins her new position on Oct. 1.

She noted that she’s looking forward to joining the team of advisors at BHSU who work with faculty and staff to support students’ unique journeys at BHSU and ensure that the University is an inclusive, supportive and engaging place for students.

“I have a passion for working with college students and for helping them reach their goals.  I have experience working with many different student groups, including first year students, dual credit students, those deciding on a career path, nontraditional students, students admitted to a professional program, and first generation college students,” Fitzgerald-Ellis said. She noted that her master's degree in college counseling provides a strong foundation to understand the varied experiences of college students and how the campus environment impacts those experiences.

Fitzgerald-Ellis has a wide range of experiences in higher education, specifically in western South Dakota, which includes the areas of recruiting, admissions, marketing, advising, retention, career development and program development. She has a Master’s of Science in College Counseling from South Dakota State University and a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations from Illinois State University.

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