Administrative Leadership

Administrative Leadership

Anthony Lee, Ed.D., M.B.A.

Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Anthony Lee is the Chief Executive Officer and President of Westcliff University in Irvine, California. He has experience working in and leading many key areas in higher education including admissions, marketing, finance, operations, compliance, accreditation, and student services.  Dr. Lee has served in many leadership positions across numerous universities, colleges, and schools in the US and internationally.  He has lead several schools through initial accreditation at the university and K-12 levels.  With expertise in innovative online and hybrid programs, Dr. Lee has launched new campuses and created new programs that are delivered through distance education, combining technology with campus-based classes.

Dr. Lee earned his Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership from the University of Southern California Rossier School of Education with a concentration in Higher Education Administration.  He earned his Master of Business Administration from the University of California, Los Angeles Anderson School of Management, where he focused on strategy and marketing. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from University of California, Irvine, where he majored in economics and minored in management.

David C. McKinney, Ph.D.

Chief Academic Officer

Dr. McKinney received his Doctorate in City and Regional Planning in 1976 and his Master of Science in Planning in 1968, as well as his Bachelor of Architecture in 1967 from the Illinois Institute of Technology.

With more than 30 years of teaching experience, he has previously taught at such schools as: National University, Western International University, College for Financial Planning, the GIA School of Business, Santa Fe Community College, Arizona State University and Butler University.  He has conducted seminars and management training programs throughout the world in such locations as: London, Hong Kong, Dubai, Tokyo, Mumbai, and Johannesburg.

Dr. McKinney has accumulated more than 35 years of practical business experience in both the public and private sectors. He was the managing CEO of 26 businesses simultaneously which he had started. He has had international assignments in Italy, the UK, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Poland, Indonesia, Mexico, Iran, China and India.

His expertise in business management, economics, entrepreneurship, leadership, marketing and finance is globally respected and has been utilized by several U.S state legislatures, the Hudson Institute think tank and hundreds of various corporate clients.

George Sayegh, D.B.A.

Dean of College of Business

Dr. Sayegh holds a Doctor of Business Administration & Information Systems degree, a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership & Business Management degree, a Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree, an Associate of Science in Engineering degree, and an Associate of Science in Electronics Technology & Computers degree.

Prof. Sayegh has conducted postgraduate research in speech recognition for improving medical productivity among physicians, and has co-authored 2 published papers in the areas of Information Systems & Applications in the Medical Field, and Mobile Work and Wireless Companies.

In addition to owning and operating a Computer Retail & Consulting company, Prof. Sayegh has been employed and/or contracted by such organizations as NASA at JPL, Wangtek Drive Systems, Ferranti Aerospace Missile Systems, Hewlett Packard, Computer City, Micropolis Drive Systems, Mercy College, National University, Hope International University, UEI College, Irvine University, Westcliff University, Hancock College, and Argosy University.

Prof. Sayegh has served as an adjunct faculty member, Associate Professor, Professor, Professor of Practice, Program Chair, Associate Dean, and Dean. Prof. Sayegh has taught classes in Computer Science and Information Systems (including capstone), Management Information Systems, Technology & Business, Mathematics, Business, Critical Thinking & Planning, Management & Leadership, and capstone courses in business and information technology. Prof. Sayegh has also developed business and information systems curriculum at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Prof. Sayegh has also developed curriculum in Business and Information Systems at the graduate and doctoral levels.

Julie Ciancio, Ph.D.

Dean of the College of Education

Dr. Julie Ciancio is the Dean of the College of Education at Westcliff University, where she oversees the MA TESOL, TESOL Certificate, and Bachelor’s in Education programs. Recently, she was a Fulbright Scholar in Madrid, where she helped to create a MOOC for English for Spanish Speakers and an English for Tourism course. Previously, she was the TESOL program administrator at California State University, San Bernardino, where she managed the TESOL master’s program, several TESOL certificate programs, and Intensive TESOL Teacher Training programs for the College of Extended Learning. She is adjunct faculty for the CSUSB College of Education, where she has taught and developed many courses. She has published numerous articles, conducted professional development workshops, and teacher training workshops on TESOL around the world.

Periodically, she serves as an English Language Specialist, and previously was a Senior English Language Fellow for the US State Department, Bureau of Educational Affairs. Prior to that, she was an EFL teacher, teacher trainer, and university professor in Brasilia, while she lived in Brazil for 13 years.

As the Director of International Development at Westcliff University, Dr. Julie travels around the world to establish international educational partnerships and to promote transnational education specifically for underserved regions on the globe.

She has a Master’s in Applied Linguistics and a Ph.D. in Social Psychology from the University of Brasilia (UnB), Brazil, where she conducted research on the influence of acculturation on second language acquisition. She also holds an MBA in International Business from California State University.

Rebeca Zarate-Cervantes

Registrar / HR Director

Rebeca Zarate-Cervantes has extensive management experience, having served as a Division Director and Compliance Officer at The Center for Employment Training (CET), a nationally recognized non-profit employment training agency, for over 25 years. She is also a former member of the Workforce Investment Boards (WIB) of Ventura County, Orange County, Santa Ana, and Anaheim.

Ms. Cervantes obtained a Certificate in Nonprofit Management, from California State University, Los Angeles in 2002. In addition, she completed the Latino Leadership Program from the Center for Nonprofit Management from Cal State LA, also in 2002.

Sean Murray, B.S.

Chief Financial Officer 

Sean Murray is the Chief Financial Officer for Westcliff University.  He has over 20 years of experience in finance and accounting.  Prior to joining Westcliff, Sean worked for Fortune 500 Companies including Price Waterhouse and Boeing in various areas including Audit, Asset Management, Quantitative Analysis, Strategy and Project Management. In addition, he has assisted smaller businesses plan and manage for growth. Sean holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Loyola Marymount University.

April Vuong, Ed. D.

Director of  International Affairs

April Vuong received her Ed.D in Educational Leadership with a concentration in Higher Education Administration in 2016. Dr. Vuong also received her Master of Arts in TESOL from Westcliff University in 2013 and her Masters of Arts in International Studies from Concordia University in 2008.

She lived in Shanghai, China for 2 years teaching English as a foreign language and continues to travel abroad for leisure and business. Through her overseas experience, she found her passion working with international students to help them embark on a unique journey of cultural exchange. As the Director of International Affairs for Westcliff University, she works directly with faculty and students both domestically and internationally. She is currently developing study abroad programs for domestic and international students for Westcliff University.

Victor Nguyen, M. Eng.

Director of Technology

Victor Nguyen received both his Bachelor and Master degrees in Civil Engineering from the University of Technology, Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam. He has extensive experience as a technical adviser and consultant for various companies, charged with multiple projects in designing structural roads and infrastructure. He had taught courses in Civil Engineering for universities while in Vietnam for 7 years.

In addition to his passion for civil engineering, Victor Nguyen also has been working in Information Technology and Computer Science more than 10 years. Director of Technology at Westcliff University enables him to work on various projects simultaneously as he oversees all the technical aspects at the University. He supports other departments, and manages all aspects of educational online platforms utilized to deliver curriculum.  His technological acumen spans a variety of resources including hardware, software, E-Learning, Moodle, teleconferencing applications, and library resources. He is ultimately responsible for the seamless integration of all these technologies and to ensure that they operate smoothly and efficiently in an effort to meet the needs of students, faculty, and staff alike.