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Karen Thomas Karen Thomas
Director of Academic Advising Karen Thomas more copy arrow

Ms. Thomas is a St. Augustine native who earned her Associate in Arts degree from St. Johns River State College, Bachelor of Science degree in Advertising from the University of Florida and a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from the University of North Florida where she began her career in higher education. Ms. Thomas has worked in the education field for many years dedicating her efforts to creating an environment where students receive high quality customer service, understand their role in the education process and are connected with opportunities to reach their personal academic goals. She appreciates spending time at the beach, reading a great book and traveling to new places and can often be found spending quality time with friends and family.


Ginger Bernal Ginger Bernal
Career & Technical Education Advisor Ginger Bernal more copy arrow

Ms. Bernal earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminology with a focus in Underwater Crime Scene Investigation from Florida State University, and a Master of Science degree in Counseling and Psychology, specializing in clinical mental health from Troy University. Prior to working in education, Ms. Bernal served as an Outreach Manager for a nonresidential individual/group/family counseling program for the 14th Judicial Circuit. In 2007, she brought her years of experience in nonresidential counseling to the field of public education and has woven her professional counseling experience and skills into education, to better serve the diverse needs of the student population. She and her husband welcomed their first child in May 2018, so hanging out and exploring new adventures with family is her favorite hobby.

Angeline Cloud Angeline Cloud
Career & Technical Education Advisor Angeline Cloud more copy arrow

Ms. Cloud provides recruitment, academic advising and case management services for students enrolled in Career and Technical Education clock-hour programs. It is her mission to assist students of all ages to create a path toward academic success and rewarding career options that lead to self-sufficiency. Ms. Cloud earned a Bachelor’s degree in Child Psychology and American Indian Studies from the University of Minnesota. Prior to working in higher education, she worked in the non-profit social service profession in the areas of child abuse/neglect, homelessness, domestic violence, parent education and early childhood education. Ms. Cloud and her family moved to St. Augustine in 2010 and she began working at SJR State as a Student Support Representative. She is a native of Wisconsin and a proud member of the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe Tribe. Her interests include traveling, learning about holistic self-care and wellness practices of various cultures, and spending as much time as she can with her family near and far.

Gina Denning
Advising Secretary Gina Denning more copy arrow

Ms. Denning has been employed at St Johns River State College since February, 1995. She started at the College first working in the Adult Education Department as a Secretary III. Ms. Denning loved helping students complete their high school diplomas and has continued this helping role in the Advising Department as the Counseling Secretary for the Palatka Campus. She sees the amazing changes in students as they pursue a college degree and follow their goals for life changing careers.

Shyla Joy Shyla Joy
Academic Advisor, Disability Coordinator Shyla Joy more copy arrow

Ms. Joy is a native of Ohio, and served in the United States Navy as a Hospital Corpsman. She was stationed on the USS Mount Baker (AE 34), and at the Naval Hospital in Charleston, South Carolina. Ms. Joy began her education at Leeward Community College, in Pearl City, Hawaii where she received her Associates in Arts, and is also a proud alumnus of the University of Hawaii at Mānoa, where she received her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work. Ms. Joy is honored to have served students for 18 years at SJR State, and is looking forward to serving students for many more years. She enjoys spending time with her two children, and is an avid collector of Fiesta ware.

Renee Ruffalo Renee Ruffalo
Senior Academic Advisor Renee Ruffalo more copy arrow

Ms. Ruffalo is a native of Western Pennsylvania who started her career in Education at the Art Institutes of Pittsburgh. Beginning in Admissions and then transitioning to a Student Success Advisor at Argosy University, she worked with students from their first step in the door until their last steps across the stage to accept their degrees. With her background in business and years of experience in sales and marketing, Ms. Ruffalo was drawn to Higher Education for the rewarding nature of working with students. Ms. Ruffalo earned her Bachelor's degree in Business Management with a specialization in Finance and a Master’s degree in Leadership from South University. She has interests in landscaping and interior design, and loves spending time with family and friends.

For general questions or to make an appointment contact Gina Denning, Advising Assistant at 386-312-4035 or at .


Dr. Parick O. Arnwine Dr. Patrick Arnwine
Assistant Director, Disability Coordinator Dr. Parick O. Arnwine more copy arrow

Dr. Arnwine earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Vocational Education from Southern Illinois University, a Master of Science degree in Administration from Central Michigan University, and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of North Florida. Dr. Arnwine has been with SJR State College since 2001 and in Academic Advising since 2009. He has also taught various college level and vocational courses. In his spare time, Dr. Arnwine enjoys watching movies.

Doreen Lund Doreen Lund
Career and Technical Education Advisor Doreen Lund more copy arrow

Ms. Lund grew up in New York, but has lived and worked in several states and abroad. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from SUNY Geneseo and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Florida. She has a background in human resources, marketing and community relations. Prior to coming to SJR State, Ms. Lund worked in university career services where she helped students find high potential internships and full time positions. Ms. Lund is excited to help SJR State students accomplish their educational and career goals! She enjoys travelling, reading books and trying new restaurants with her family.

Stephan Morrison Stephan Morrison
Senior Academic Advisor Stephan Morrison more copy arrow

Mr. Morrison retired from the U.S. Army in 2005, after serving 21 years on active duty and 6 years in the Reserves. His military background includes supply, military intelligence, assistant inspector general, and personnel. In 2005, he began working for Huizenga School of Business, Nova Southeastern University, as an Academic Advisor until 2015. His education includes a Bachelor’s degree in Professional Management and a Master of Science degree in Leadership. He is a member of the Sigma Beta Delta Honor Society and believes in lifelong learning and being student centered. His favorite hobby is riding his Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

Paula Shepherd Paula Shepherd
Senior Academic Advisor Paula Shepherd more copy arrow

Ms. Shepherd earned a Bachelor’s degree in Education and a Master’s degree in Counseling Education, both from Jacksonville University. In addition, she has an Educational Specialist degree from the University of Florida in Counseling Education and has completed all but dissertation in a doctoral degree program at the University of North Florida. Ms. Shepherd began working in Education in 1978 and joined the Academic Advising team at SJR State College in 2003. She enjoys boating, swimming and going to the mountains in Colorado.

Joanna Simpson Joanna Simpson
Academic Advisor Joanna Simpson more copy arrow

Ms. Simpson is a proud alumnus of the University of North Florida where she graduated with her Bachelor of Health Science degree with a concentration in Public Health and is currently obtaining her Master of Science degree in Higher Education Administration at UNF. Ms. Simpson enjoys assisting students on their educational journey and watching them succeed. She loves to travel, spend time with her family and friends, and try new recipes.

Heather Smith
Student Support Representative heather Smith more copy arrow

Ms. Smith is a Veteran, who after being discharged from the US Army, started taking classes here at St Johns River State College. She started out as a note taker, then was a student worker for three years, and now works full time as a Student Support Representative for Academic Advising at the Orange Park campus. Ms. Smith loves helping people and this job allows her to do that daily. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering in her community, reading, researching her genealogy and spending time with her kids.

For general questions or to make an appointment, contact Heather Smith, One-Stop Student Support Representative Academic Advising at 904-276-6800 or at .


Mark Breidenstein Mark Breidenstein
Academic Advisor, Disability Services Coordinator Mark Breidenstein more copy arrow

Mr. Breidenstein grew up in the Washington D.C. area and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from George Mason University. As well, Mr. “B” completed graduate work in Education before moving to Palm Coast in 1984. He has been employed at SJR State College for the last 24 years and will retire in 2020. Prior to his work at SJR State College, Mr. B has worked at various organizations specializing in Emotional Disabilities, and was in charge of a center for emotionally disturbed students for the Volusia County School District. He has served on several 501c boards over the years, including ARC of Volusia County and as President of the Family Life Center. He has three grandchildren, one whom was born in New Zealand.

George Brownett George Brownett
Career Transition Specialist George Brownett more copy arrow

Mr. Brownett earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Science and a Master’s Degree in Counselor Education from the University of North Florida. His career has been focused on helping students achieve their personal, academic and career goals. Mr. Brownett worked as a middle school counselor and educator for many years before entering higher education as an academic advisor and counselor. At SJR State College, he has been involved in grant projects that promote both academic and career development for SJR State students, and now continues these services through the Academic Advising Department. His favorite hobby is drawing cartoons and digital graphics.

Peter Morgan Peter Morgan
Senior Academic Advisor Peter Morgan more copy arrow

Mr. Morgan earned his Master’s degree in Education and Educational Specialist degree in Student Affairs from the University of Florida where he worked as a Residence Hall Director and interned with the International Student Center, Career Resource Center, Campus Ministry Cooperative, and Learning Skills Center. He served Florida Institute of Technology, the University of North Florida, and Jacksonville University students before serving SJR State College students as a Faculty/Senior Academic Advisor since 2011. Three generations of Morgan family women have all served the College including his mother, Frances, a SJR Junior College founder and Clay County School Board member; wife Jeannine, 28 years as an English professor and department chair; and four daughters, SJR State College graduates, Anna (2012), Brigid (2014), Dorothy (2018) and Josephine currently Dual Enrolled. He enjoys playing tennis.

Laura Rogers Laura Rogers
Career & Technical Education Advisor Laura Rogers more copy arrow

Mrs. Rogers is a proud alumnus of the University of Florida (GO GATORS!) where she graduated with a Bachelor of Health Science degree and a Master’s degree in Health Science with a major in Rehabilitation Counseling. She is passionate about steering students in the right direction, especially in the Health Science fields. Ms. Rogers has a background in working within Disability Services and Mental Health, and is also an adjunct instructor for the Nursing Department at SJR State College. She enjoys singing and making people smile as well as going to Disney as often as possible!

Lynne Smith Lynne Smith
Senior Academic Advisor Lynne Smith more copy arrow

Ms. Smith earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications at Bethany College and a Master’s degree in Education at Harvard University. She has worked in both nonprofit and government sectors, primarily as a grants administrator for educational and health promotion programs before coming to SJR State College in 2012. Here at SJR State, Ms. Smith has worked on two Career & Technical Education grant projects and now advises AA/transfer and AS students about strategies for attaining their educational goals. Her favorite activities include biking, exploring and cooking.

Rebekah Wilson
Academic Advising Assistant Rebekah Wilson more copy arrow

Mrs. Wilson became a member of the SJR State family in 2013. She began first as a student, and later became a student-worker in Advising. She is now the Academic Advising Assistant at the St. Augustine campus. Mrs. Wilson and her husband of 26 years, and two adult children, have lived in the area since 2009. She loves taking Cruises, and is a self-proclaimed Christmas fanatic. Mrs. Wilson is thrilled to be a member of the SJR State team!

For general questions or to make an appointment call Rebekah Wilson, Advising Assistant 904-808-7402 or at .