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Citizens High School Leadership Team

Dr. James P. Etter

Chief Executive Officer

Andrew J. Herd

Chief Operations Officer

Dr. Jennifer Blalock

Chief of Academics

Brian Morris

Director of Strategic Initiatives

Justin Hodges

Director of Administration and Job Corps Initiatives

Ryan Dallas

Director of Information Technology
Karen Blesch_HS Edited expanded

Karen Blesch

Financial Controller

Emilie Wojtowicz

Chief Administration Office

Harmony Salvatore

Director of Admissions

Dr. Taylor Croot

Director of Faculty & Instruction

Bryan Hensley

Education Project Manager

Margo DeKoch

Assistant Director of Academic Partnerships and Pathways

Julie El-Chaer

Manager, Digital Marketing Media

Grace Theriault - Human Resources Director

Grace Theriault is the Manager of Accounting and Human Resources.  She has worked for over 40 years in various stages of accounting for both private businesses and public accounting firms.  She brings the knowledge to prepare the financial reports for the management of Citizens High School and for the firms who complete the audits and tax returns.

In Human Resources, she coordinates the benefits for all the employees of Citizens High School and runs the payroll. Grace and her husband are proud of their four children, their four grandchildren and getting to spend time with them regularly.

Her words of wisdom are “The number one person looking out for you and your future, is you.”

Margo DeKoch, Academics Pathways Coordinator

Margo DeKoch is the Academic Pathways Coordinator at Citizens High School, managing our affiliations and global learning initiatives. Prior to joining CHS, she spent a year working as a TEFL instructor in Morocco. She is extremely passionate about international education and recently wrote and self-published an e-book which raised over $1,200 for students in Afghanistan. In her free time, she enjoys film photography, surfing, and playing with her dog

Dr. Jennifer Blalock, Chief of Academics

Dr. Blalock is the former Chief Strategy Officer for Kids Hope Alliance; has also held executive level higher education leadership positions, including VP Workforce & Economic Development Collin College; Chief Student Officer Phi Theta Kappa.  Blalock earned a Doctorate of Education in Higher Education Leadership at Nova Southeastern University and a Masters of Education in Adult Education University of Southern Mississippi. She speaks nationally about college readiness; first generation college access, success and completion; change leadership; and organizational effectiveness

Brian Morris, Director of Strategic Initiatives

Mr. Morris joined CHS in November of 2017, having served as an educator for 10 years and the founder of the PGA Tour Junior Golf Academy, CASE Hybrid Academy as well as Coast 2 Coast Golf, LLC. His most rewarding experience in education is seeing students finding a greater amount of success than they expected from themselves. 

One piece of advice he would give to his students is to “believe in yourself, advocate for yourself, and there is nothing that can come in between you and your goals.” 

Mr. Morris enjoys spending time with his daughters, golfing, watching football, cooking, and genealogy. The proudest moment of his life was seeing his daughters grow up to the girls they are today.

Curtis Hazel, Director of Marketing

Curtis joins CEO and pioneer in distance learning Dr. Jim Etter, and the most compassionate and effective staff in online learning systems in deploying accredited high school diplomas to students enrolled with CHS. “We are undergoing a sea-change in how education is delivered around the world and it’s a thrill to be leading our marketing efforts in reaching high-desire learners who seek choice and independence in their education credentialing”, says Curtis. Citizens Education, Inc, the parent organization to CHS, plans to include accredited college degrees and career credentials to its suite of solutions in the near future. 

Prior to joining the Citizens High School staff, Mr. Hazel served as Community Engagement Director for Operation New Hope, a nonprofit that provides job training and placement services to returning citizens in the nationally-acclaimed Ready4Work program. Mr. Hazel is a 20 year veteran of the business consulting industry, specializing in digital marketing, risk management and revenue generation.  

Mr. Hazel is a member of the Honorable Company of Past Chairmen, also known as the Red Coats, a distinction received after serving as Tournament Chairman of THE PLAYERS Championship in 2012. During his term as Tournament Chairman, Curtis led more than 2,200 volunteers and raised over $6.5 million in hosting the PGA TOUR’s major championship at TPC Sawgrass. 

Curtis and his wife, Jenny Hazel, reside in St Augustine, Florida with their two children, McKenna and Jackson.

Emilie Wojtowicz, Chief Administration Officer

Emilie Wojtowicz joined CHS in 2018 and serves as the  Chief Administrative Officer, overseeing the administrative offices of CHS.  Emilie has over 20 years of administrative experience along with 15 years of registration and records management knowledge. Before moving to her current role, she served CHS as the Director of Student Services / Registrar.  Emilie believes that every day is a brand new chance to reach your goals. 

Emilie enjoys spending time with her husband and their six children, loving on her dog, and spoiling her grandchildren.

Karen Blesch, Financial Controller

Karen Blesch is a Certified Public Accountant and Certified Financial Planner who has experience  in multiple industries.  Her prior experience in public accounting, financial services, and management accounting allow her to apply her skills in many professional settings.

Prior to joining Citizens Education, she was the Controller for Meyer Distributing Inc. in Jasper, IN and co-owner of the accounting firm of Murphy & Blesch, LLP in Huntingburg, IN.  Her previous background included controllership and CFO roles iin many industries including, manufacturing, medical group practice, banking and investment services, service industries, and charitable planned giving.

Education:  Graduated summa cum laude with a BS with a double major in Accounting and Business Administration from St. Mary of the Woods College in Indiana.

She is a founding member of Women Empowering Women, a local women in business group in Jasper, IN.  She also served on the Board of Directors of the Institute of Management Accountants Chapter in Evansville, IN for 15 years.

Karen’s passion is volunteering for St. Mary of the Woods College (founded in 1840), especially in their distance education programs which were founded in 1973.   She served on the St. Mary of the Woods National Alumni Board of Directors for 10 years.  She serves as a Providence Associate with the Sisters of Providence of St. Mary of the Woods. 

 She enjoys general aviation and RV camping with her husband who is a private pilot.

Bryan Hensley, Education Project Manager

Bryan Hensley is Citizens High School’s Education Project Manager and provides analysis and solutions on how to boost our students’ outcomes. A successful business professional and consultant, Bryan has a storied history of improving performance and leading award-winning initiatives. He is a graduate of Leadership Jacksonville, an alumnus of the University of Florida and is long-time community activist in Northeast Florida.

Frances Hogas, Student Services Specialist

Frances Hogas is our focused and dedicated Student Services Assistant. As part of the Student Services team, she answers calls from students and parents and helps them by taking payments, transcripts requests and enrollment verification requests. She also maintains our Bookstore here at Citizens High School.

In her spare time, Frances is a foodie! She enjoys experimenting with foods from around the world. She also loves spending time with her family, friends, going to the beach, reading, and cooking.

Justin Hodges, Director of Administration and Job Corps Initiatives


Harmony Salvatore, Director of Admissions

Harmony Salvatore is the Director of Admissions at CHS who has an immense passion for education and a strong desire to lead students toward the success of acquiring a high school diploma. With an extensive background in education and 20 years of customer service experience, she knows what it takes to be successful. Hard work, all while maintaining a smile!

Ryan Dallas, Director of Information Technology

Mr. Dallas joined CHS in October of 1998. Having spent nearly 22 years at CHS he has seen a complete transformation in the school and the education industry as a whole. Seeing students succeed and knowing you have made a difference in the world has given him the most benefit of working in the education field. One piece of advice he gives our students is “while the world is at your fingertips, don’t forget to use your feet. Get out and see the world.” For the past eight years, Mr. Dallas has been keeping saltwater fish and reef aquariums. Keeping fish and growing live coral has been a very rewarding and interesting hobby for him. Being the first in his family to earn a college degree was his most special accomplishment.

Dr. James P. Etter, Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Etter is the founder of American Military University, American Public University, and the American Public University System (“APUS”).  Dr. Etter started the University in his basement in Stafford, Virginia in 1993 with 18 students, and shepherded its development through its initial accreditation with the Distance Education and Training Council in 1995 and further accreditation with the Higher Learning Commission of the Northern Central Association in 2004.  APUS is currently a public traded company (NASDAQ: APEI) with over 120,000 students majoring in over 80 degree programs.  Dr. Etter was President and Chairman of the APUS Board from 1991 until 2004, when Dr. Etter left APUS.

Prior to founding APUS, Dr. Etter was commissioned in the United States Marine Corps (“USMC”).  Highlights of his military operations include a combat tour of service in the Vietnam War and several tours of duty as a Naval Flight Officer.  Mr. Etter has participated in a number of military education and training programs, is a graduate of the Naval Fighter Weapons School (Top Gun), and served as primary instructor at the USMC Amphibious Warfare School.  

Dr. Etter holds an honorary doctorate from American Military University, an M.A. in History from George Mason University and a B.A. in History from Virginia Commonwealth University and is a graduate of the United States Naval War College and the USMC Amphibious Warfare School.

Rich McCoy, Vice President of Administration and Systems

Rich McCoy comes to CHS with 25 years of experience starting and directing global Application Management and Customer Service teams at IBM, AT&T and Accenture as well as a successful start-up company, CoreHarbor.  He has extensive experience taking Customer Service practices from zero customers/revenue/staff and building them into global teams providing 24/7 support in cost effective models leveraging automation and best practices. In his most recent position, he led a team of Sr. Business Analysts and Architects managing spend for an IBM Cloud offering.

He graduated with a B.A. in Economics and Russian Language from Florida State University. He is passionate about helping people level up their skills to stay competitive in the ever-changing global economy.

Dr. Taylor Croot, Director of Faculty & Instruction

Dr.Taylor Croot is a passionate educator who believes that in today’s society, education is a top priority. The fundamental purpose of schooling is student learning, and all individuals have the right to a quality education. Here at COHS she leads all of our faculty members, curriculum projects, and special accommodations for students. She comes from a background of beliefs that an ideal school consists of a community of learners whose main focus is student achievement. High standards are set, and high achievement is attained. Staff members establish high expectations for all students, and provide the support necessary for them to achieve their goals. Dr. Croot obtained her doctorate degree from Arizona State University in Clinical Behavioral Health, a masters degree in behavior analysis from Saint Joseph’s University, and a masters degree in Educational Leadership from Stetson University.

Yvonne Rexach, Director of School Operations

Yvonne Rexach is the Director of Español Pathway at Citizens High School. Originally from Puerto Rico she and her family moved to Jacksonville in 2007. She joined CHS in February 2019. She began working as an assistant in Student Services and immediately fell in love speaking with prospects, parents, and the impact that she could have in the Spanish community. With over 20+ years’ experience in customer service, 10 years in business management, and 12 years in higher ed, Yvonne’s passion in helping students, parents, and the Spanish community continues to grow each day. Yvonne means when she says: “Estamos aquí para ustedes” meaning we are here for you.

Yvonne enjoys spending time with her husband, family, and traveling to visit their son. She is a proud Navy mom!

Julie El-Chaer, Manager, Digital Marketing Media

Julie El-Chaer is the Manager, Digital Marketing Media at Citizens High School and joined the company in March 2020. She spends her days curating strategies to help promote, implement, and grow engagement within CHS through social media and other digital platforms. Working within marketing for a decade, Julie has helped companies build rapport between themselves and their clients, analyzing the best practices to build relationships between business and consumer.  

Julie finds interest in learning about various cultures, from watching foreign films to creating ethnic dishes from recipes she finds online.  

Michael Dunsmore, Director of Business Development & Strategic Outreach for Public / Private School Sector

Dr. Dunsmore graduated from Mansfield State College in Mansfield, Pennsylvania, in 1983 with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. After graduation he served as an Intensive Juvenile Probation Officer for seven years, until he transitioned from the justice system to counseling and education.

In 1997, Dr. Dunsmore earned a master’s degree in Counseling from Shippensburg University in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania. The following year he became an Emotional Support/Life Skills Teacher at an intermediate school in Summerdale, Pennsylvania. In 2003, Dr. Dunsmore earned a master’s degree in Special Education from Shippensburg University.

He served two years as Director of Special Education at Mount Union Area School District. In 2006, he became the Supervisor of Special Education at Palmyra Area School District, outside of Hershey, Pa. In 2008, he earned a doctorate degree in Educational Leadership from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The following year, he left Pennsylvania and moved to North Carolina to become the Superintendent of Tyrrell County Schools. After serving six years in this position, on July 1, 2015, he became the Superintendent of Wayne County Public Schools. While at the helm at Wayne County, he actively worked to develop a five year Strategic Plan for the district with a focus on technology, facilities and instructional reform.

Dr. Dunsmore and his wife Diane have three grown sons and two grandaughters.

Richard Williamson, Chief Marketing Strategist

Richard comes to CHS with thirty years of experience in marketing, public relations, graphic design, and content development in the education, technology, and healthcare sectors. He was the founding Director of Marketing and Media at Florida Gulf Coast University, where he oversaw institutional marketing and publications as well as distance learning technologies and digital course development. He was most recently CMO for a retail tech startup in Colorado and VP of Marketing in a healthcare technology company in Florida.

Previously, he worked in public relations at the University at Buffalo and has consulted with a range of clients, including colleges and universities, on marketing and brand development. He has served as a creative director and senior manager in digital marketing in both corporate and agency settings, and has won a collection of national, regional, and local awards for marketing, graphic design, and copywriting. He teaches digital marketing to business owners and was once a high school art and design teacher. 

Richard is an avid outdoorsman and former national-level cyclist and speed skater. He has twice been named Lacrosse Coach of the Year in Southwest Florida, where he lives on a river with his wife, son, and two Dutch Shepherds.

Andrew J. Herd, Chief Operations Officer

Andrew Herd is a successful executive with over 25 years’ senior management experience in both domestic and international education environments with a key focus on institutional management, learning technology and  publisher content solutions in both the higher education and K-12 sectors.  

Prior to joining Citizens Education, Mr. Herd was a co-founder of EdMap Inc, a content strategy and logistics company providing custom solutions to over 200 higher education campus locations supporting over one million students through content technology and logistics solutions. Mr. Herd helped direct EdMap’s  strategic  growth from a technology start-up phase to that of a successful education resource company with $70 million in annual sales.

From 2012 to 2014, Mr. Herd was Chairman and Operations Officer of the prestigious London College of International Business Studies where he worked with the British Accrediting Council and positioned the college for international growth. 

From 2000 to 2006, Mr. Herd served as Vice President of Business Development for a division of the NBC Corporation which operates independent college bookstores, and provides technology platforms and e-commerce solutions to virtual colleges and universities.

Education:  Chartered Institute of Management and Royal Society of Arts  London, England  ( BA Degree in Management)

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