Moore Boardroom

Cabinet & Leadership


Ana Patterson, MBA

President Ana Patterson is a native of New York City who arrived in Texas to attend Southwestern Adventist University in 1995, where she received both her BBA and MBA in Management and Leadership. She began teaching in the Department of Business Administration in 2012. For seven years, she served as faculty advisor for Enactus, connecting students and business leaders through entrepreneurial-based service projects.  In July 2020, Mrs. Patterson was selected to serve as Special Assistant to the President, where she coordinated the campus response to COVID-19 and assisted with various marketing projects. Mrs. Patterson has served on several community boards, including the Johnson County Children’s Advocacy Center, Keene Adventist Elementary School Board, and the Johnson County Hunger Coalition. She is married to her high school sweetheart, and they have three children. She enjoys traveling with her family and anything that takes her outdoors.  At home, you will find her in the kitchen cooking for her family and friends.     

President Ana Patterson

Carlos Charnichart, PhD

Dr. Carlos Charnichart is currently the Vice President for Financial Administration. He came to Southwestern Adventist University in August 2022. Prior to Southwestern Adventist University, he served as Chief Financial Officer for the Pennsylvania Conference of SDA for five years. He was also the General Accountant for Hope Channel for three years. He has a B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. in Business Administration from Montemorelos University. Carlos and his wife Liz have two children. 

Dr. Carlos Charnichart

Donna Berkner, EdD

Dr. Donna Berkner has a long history with Southwestern Adventist University. In 1992, she received her B.S. in Elementary Education from the University, followed by an M.Ed. in Education Leadership (1996). She earned an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership in 2012. After teaching in the elementary classroom for a number of years and serving as principal at Keene Adventist Elementary School, she began her career at the University as an Associate Professor in Education and Psychology in 2012. Following two years of service as chair of the Department of Education & Psychology, she was chosen in 2020 to join the administrative team as Vice President for Academic Administration. 

Dr. Berkner brings a decorated track record. She is a published author, holds Texas State and North American Division of Seventh-day Adventist teaching licenses, has served on numerous boards, and was Vice President for Higher Education with the North American Division Office of Education. Students who have been advised by or work closely with Dr. Berkner affectionately refer to her as “Dr. B.” Outside the office, she enjoys reading a stack of books or planning her next travel adventure. She has two children and delights in being a grandmother of three. 

VP of Academic Administration Donna Berkner

Rahneeka Hazelton, MA

Ms. Rahneeka Hazelton came to Southwestern Adventist University as Director of Admissions in 2012. In June 2020, Ms. Hazelton was appointed Assistant Vice President of Enrollment and assumed the position of Vice President of Enrollment in September of the same year. Prior to coming to Southwestern Adventist University, she served as the Program Coordinator for the School of Graduate and Professional Studies at Washington Adventist University for six years.  She has a B.S. in Social Work and an M.A. in Public Administration from Washington Adventist University.  She enjoys working with young adults and helping them succeed to their fullest potential.  In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, reading, and exploring the great state of Texas. 

VP of Enrollment Rahneeka Hazelton

Russ Laughlin, MDiv

Pastor Russ Laughlin joined Southwestern Adventist University in 2012 as Vice President for Spiritual Development.  Prior to that, he worked as an associate pastor, pastor, and youth pastor from 1986 to1995. In 1995, he became the Pastor for Youth Ministry at the Keene Seventh-day Adventist Church, where he remained until he came to the University. Pastor Russ has a B.A. in Theology from Southern Adventist University (1984) and a M.Div. from Andrews University (1987). He was ordained by the Florida Conference of Seventh-day Adventists in 1989 and received certification as a university chaplain in 2014 from the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists. He is active in the community, serving on church, city, and county boards.  A seasoned speaker, presenter, and trainer in youth leadership, Pastor Russ also participates in several community service projects.  Pastor Russ and his wife, Jeanne, have two children. He enjoys wakesurfing, motorcycle riding, and woodworking. 

VP of Spiritual Life Russ Laughlin

James The, MEd

Mr. James The is currently the Vice President for Student Services.  He began his service at Southwestern Adventist University during the summer of 2001 as Dean of Men, where he served for 11 years. His prior employment includes Campus Chaplain and Religion Teacher at Highland View Academy, Principal of Modesto Adventist Academy, and principal and teacher at Foothill Elementary School. Dean The has an M.Ed. in Educational Administration with an Emphasis in Educational Leadership from Southwestern Adventist University, and a B.S. in Physical Education (1983) from Pacific Union College. During his 38 years of experience in the field of education, Dean The has had a consistent goal of working to create a positive learning environment, a keen sense of school community, and a passion for service with students.  His administrative roles, as well as his teaching and coaching experiences, residence hall leadership, and involvement in student life, have prepared him to deal with the varied aspects of leading the department of Student Services.  He and his wife, Cheryl, are the parents of two children and the proud grandparents of three grandchildren. 

VP of Student Services James The

Tony Reyes, CFRE/BBA

For the past 13 years, Mr. Tony Reyes has served in a variety of advancement and business roles in K-12 and higher educational institutions, both domestic and abroad. Prior to joining Southwestern Adventist University, Mr. Reyes served as Stewardship & Planned Giving Director for the Potomac Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. There he had the privilege and opportunity to encourage and work alongside many committed Christians whose faithful and earnest desire is to advance God’s Kingdom on earth. 

VP of Advancement Tony Reyes

Marcel Sargeant, PhD

Dr. Marcel Sargeant is currently serving as the Vice President for Institutional Research and Effectiveness. He began working at Southwestern Adventist University in 2002 and has served as a professor and chair, and is currently serving as an administrator. In addition, he has served on several committees at all levels of the Seventh-day Adventist organization and has presented at numerous conferences nationally and internationally. He also serves as a site visitor for several programs and regional accreditation organizations. Before coming to Southwestern Adventist University, he served as an educator in Illinois, a curriculum writer and teacher, a consultant for the Federal Department of Education on St. Maarten, and a science instructor at the University of St. Martin for 15 years. 

In addition, Dr. Sargeant enjoys research and has written articles on science and mathematics education and higher education. He has co-authored textbooks in general psychology and science education. He enjoys working with organizations worldwide on research for underrepresented groups. His lifelong motto is “to lead is to serve and strive to make a difference in those you serve.” 
 

Marcel Sargeant

Austen Powell, MDiv

Mr. Austen Powell is currently the Special Assistant to the President for Strategic Initiatives. He is a proud alum of Southwestern Adventist University. In 2015, Austen received his B.A. in Theology from Southwestern Adventist University. He served as a youth pastor for three years in Cleburne, Texas, before earning his M.Div. with a concentration on youth and young adult ministry. In 2020, he returned to Southwestern Adventist University as the Project Director of Pathways to Success. During his time at Southwestern Adventist University, he has developed the Pathways to Success department, which supports students from their first-year college experience to their careers. He is active in the community by being involved in local chambers of commerce, churches, and community services. Austen Powell has a passion for coaching students to find their full potential. He is also a Regional Director of the Success Coaching Knowledge Community. Outside of the office, he enjoys reading, hiking, sports, and enjoying time with family and friends. 

Special Assistant to President  Austen Powell