2018-2019 CCI Board of Directors

BOD Group Picture_Spring, 2018_Picture Number 7271

CCI's Board of Directors manages all of the affairs of the Competency & Credentialing Institute (CCI).

The Board consists of eight directors who hold at least one of the CNOR, CRNFA, CSN-CP, or CSSM credentials, as well as two public members. Directors are elected by the CNOR, CRNFA, CNS-CP, and CSSM certificants for a three-year term.

The directors' terms are staggered, allowing for only a small number of directors to be elected each year. Each director has read and understands the job description and signed a Leadership Agreement.


Marie Paulson, MS, BSN, RN, CNOR
Kaiser Permanente, Pasadena, CA
Email: mpaulson@cc-institute.org

Vice President
Heather Burrell, MSN, RN, CNOR
Jamestown Community College, Olean, New York

Antoinette (Toni) Manning, BSN, RN, CRNFA
James Lawrence Kernan Hospital, Baltimore, MD


Debra Dunn, MBA, MSN, RN, CNOR
Holy Name Medical Center, Teaneck, NJ

Gretchen Gemeinhardt, PhD, MBA, FACHE
University of Texas School of Public Health, Houston, TX

Elaine D. Geroski, MSN, RN, CNOR, CSSM
Winchester Medical Center, Winchester, VA

Tabitha S. Kinlaw, MBA, MSN, RN-BC, CNOR, ONC
FirstHealth of the Carolinas Moore Regional Hospital, Pinehurst, NC

Marian McCann Kleinman, MBA, BSN, RN, CNOR, CSSM 
Providence St. Joseph Medical Center, Burbank, CA

William Paco, MBA
Microsoft Corporation, Redmond, WA

Julie Thompson, PhD, RN, CNS-CP(E), CNOR
Harris Health System, Houston, TX

Board Bios

Marie PaulsonPresident Marie Paulson, MS, BSN, RN, CNOR, CSSM, CPPS, is the President of the Board of Directors of CCI, past Vice President and Secretary/Treasurer, and served on numerous CCI committees. She is currently the Director of Quality, Risk, Patient Safety and AR&L for Kaiser Permanente San Rafael. Marie was the immediate past Regional Director of Perioperative Services for the Southern California Region of Kaiser Permanente in Pasadena, California, for 10 years. Marie has 40 years of nursing experiences in which 35 of those years are in Perioperative nursing. The majority of those Perioperative years were spent as a Perioperative Educator and Director in both main hospital operating rooms and in the Ambulatory Specialty of Perioperative surgery. Marie is a strong perioperative patient safety advocate, leading the Culture of Safety work for Kaiser Permanente in Southern California, responsible for the “Safety Check” process and helped to redesign the Highly Reliable Safety Team.  She has a certification in Health Science Education as a teacher for California community colleges in which Marie has taught Perioperative Nursing for over 15 years. Marie is a member of AORN, ACNL, ASPPS and AONE. She has presented at numerous professional conferences and authored several articles for OR Manager.  Marie has worked with CCI several times over the years as a CNOR test development committee member, authored the Human Resource module for the Surgical Services Management Certificate Program and has been certified since 1989.

Heather BurrellVice President Heather Burrell, MSN, RN, CNOR  is currently a full time Assistant Professor of Nursing at Jamestown Community College in Olean, New York and works perdiem as a staff nurse at Olean General Hospital. She has 20 years of nursing experience with 18 of those years being perioperative. Her perioperative background ranges from staff roles of circulator, scrub, pre/post-op, recovery room, endoscopy and charge. She spent 6 years in the role of Surgical Services Nurse Educator. Heather is a member of AORN and ANA. She has participated on several volunteer committees with CCI including job analysis task force and CNOR test plan development. Heather has worked as a reviewer on several of CCI's publications including the Certificate Program for Surgical Services Educators and the Certificate Program for Surgical Services Management. Heather is also a peer reviewer for the AORN Journal. She remains active in her local AORN chapter holding a current role of vice president and several past roles such as past president and board of directors.

Toni ManningSecretary/Treasurer Antoinette (Toni) Manning, BSN, RN, CRNFA, has more than twenty years in perioperative nursing first as staff nurse, then CRNFA. Toni is a member of AORN and Sigma Theta Tau National honor society for nurses, and she currently works as a CRNFA at the University of Maryland Rehabilitation and Orthopedic Institute in Baltimore Maryland. She was selected by that hospital as Nurse of the year in 1996. Prior to her work at University of Maryland, Toni worked for twenty five years in long term care and hospice care. Toni’s prior experience with CCI has been in test item review, cut score committee, and CRNFA job analysis committee.

Debra DunnDebra Dunn, MBA, MSN, RN, CNOR, is currently the Education Specialist for the Operating Room at Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck, NJ. She previously was the Perioperative Director at East Orange General Hospital in NJ, OR Nurse Educator at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in NYC, and previously spent 18 years at St. Joseph’s Wayne Hospital as staff nurse, OR Educator, and OR Nurse Manager. Debra is on the AORN Journal Editorial Board, serves as a Peer Reviewer for perioperative nursing journals, has published over 35 articles related to perioperative practice and management issues, and has presented at the AORN Surgical Conference and EXPO. Previously, Debra was awarded First Place, Clinical Category in the AORN Journal and the Mary Hanna Memorial Journalism Award, First Place, Clinical Category, in the Journal of PeriAnesthesia Nursing. Debra also won the New Jersey Governor’s 1999 Nursing Merit Award, Acute Care/RN Category, and the Francis Black Humanitarian Award in Healthcare for a recycling program she initiated while at St. Joseph’s Wayne Hospital. Debra served on the AORN Syntegrity Task Force and spends a week abroad every year circulating and scrubbing on surgical missions with Healing the Children, New Jersey, (ENT, Ophthalmology, Urology, and General). Lifelong learning through formal and informal education programs is a major theme in Debra’s life, and she enjoys “paying it forward.” Debra has volunteered on CCI’s CNOR Item Review and Cut Score Committee, CNOR Item Writing Committee, and the CNOR Survey Task Force. Since she has served as the Secretary/Treasurer, Vice President, and President on CCI's Board of Directors.

bio_gretchen_gemeinhardtGretchen Gemeinhardt, PhD, MBA, FACHE is an Associate Professor in the Department of Management, Policy and Community Health of the UT School of Public Health. Prior to joining the faculty in 2012, Dr. Gemeinhardt spent a year as a director in corporate compliance and three years as director of leadership development for Harris Health System, building a leadership development program where she fulfilled her passion to help leaders see and achieve their leadership potential. Prior to joining Harris Health System in 2008, Dr. Gemeinhardt was responsible for education at Memorial Hermann Hospital. The opportunity to develop leadership and education programs for hospitals was a natural transition for Dr. Gemeinhardt who for six years developed future healthcare administrators as an assistant professor at Texas Woman’s University’s Master’s in Healthcare Administration program. Dr. Gemeinhardt has over 20 years experience as a management consultant serving K-12 and higher education, health care and nonprofit organizations. Dr. Gemeinhardt has been a member of the business faculties of Rice University, University of St. Thomas and the University of Houston. She has authored numerous articles and book chapters and regularly presents at national conferences such as American Society for Training & Development, Association of University Programs in Health Administration, National American College of Healthcare Administrators, American College of Healthcare Executives and National Academy of Management. She has served as an examiner for Baldrige Performance Excellence Program for ten years. Ms. Gemeinhardt received her Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior and Management and MBA from the University of Houston and a Bachelor of Art from Hamilton College in Psychology and English. 

Elaine Geroski_Spring, 2018Elaine D. Geroski, MSN, RN, CNOR, CSSM, has chosen perioperative nursing as her career for over 13 years. She had over 24 years of nursing experience in medical-surgical, geriatric, intensive care, office, and post-anesthesia care before moving on to her final love: perioperative nursing. Her passion for continuing education is evident throughout her nursing career. She began her nursing education with an Associate of Science degree, later advancing to a Bachelor of Science degree, and recently obtaining a Master of Science in Nursing with a specialization in leadership. None of this would have been possible without the support of her husband Erik and daughters, Vivian and Kristen. She is currently employed by Valley Health at Winchester Medical Center in Winchester, Virginia, as a Clinical Manager of Perioperative Services. She holds two certifications, CNOR for the past seven years and CSSM for two. Her current role as Clinical Manager of Perioperative Services involves the management of three departments within Surgical Services: Am Admissions, the Infusion Center, and the Start Clinic. Her former role as a Clinical Nurse Educator in Surgical Services was within the same organization, Valley Health. Before her employment at Valley Health, she was the Director of Perioperative Services at Paris Regional Medical Center in Paris, Texas and at Garrett Regional Medical Center in Oakland, Maryland. She has over nine years of experience in perioperative nurse leadership.

Tabitha Stewart- KinlawTabitha S. Kinlaw, MBA, MSN, RN-BC, CNOR, ONC, is a member of the CCI Board of Directors. She is also a member of the True North Committee as well as the Governance Committee. Tabitha currently serves as a Nursing Professional Development Specialist as well as the Primary Nurse Planner/Administrator of the Approved Provider Unit at FirstHealth of the Carolinas Moore Regional Hospital located in Pinehurst, NC. She also serves as their AORN Periop 101 Administrator. A perioperative nurse for 26 years and certified as a CNOR since 1995, Tabitha has practiced as a staff nurse, orthopaedic surgery coordinator, charge nurse, assistant director, and educator in the operating room. She holds a BSN from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she was inducted into Sigma Theta Tau International - Alpha Alpha Chapter. She also holds a master’s in nursing with a concentration in nursing education from East Carolina University in Greenville NC. Tabitha also volunteers as a nurse peer reviewer for the Accredited Approver Unit of the North Carolina Nurse’s Association (NCNA). Tabitha previously served as a site coordinator for the National Council State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) Randomized Study of the Transition to Practice (TTP) Model on Patient Safety and Quality Outcomes in the Hospital Setting. She is a member of AORN, the Association of Nursing Professional Development (ANPD), the ANA, and the North Carolina Nurses Association (NCNA). Tabitha has previously been active in local AORN chapters holding several positions such as president and vice-president. Her CCI experience includes service as an item writer for the Certified Surgical Services Manager (CSSM) exam (2015), as an item writer for the Operational Management Module (2014), as a member of the CNOR Cut Score Committee (2007), and as a member of the CNOR Item/Test Form Review Committee (2006). She also currently serves as a CCI coach.

Marian McCann Kleinman _Spring, 2018Marian McCann Kleinman, MBA, BSN, RN, CNOR, CSSM, has more than thirty years experience in healthcare as a RN, her clinical expertise is in perioperative nursing where she has scrubbed and circulated in all specialties. She has served large portion of her career in a variety of leadership roles in hospital and clinic settings, including at the executive level. Her career has taken her from Southern California to Minnesota to Hawaii and back home to Los Angeles. Her passion is patient safety, infection prevention, the role of the professional RN and physician partnerships. She has lead several teams to CNOR Strong over several years. She has served CCI in cut score and item review committees. Additionally she is a member of AORN, AAOE (Association of Orthopaedic Executives), ACNL (Association of California Nurse Leaders) and AONE (American Organization of Nurse Executives), where she has served on many committees and initiatives and been a presenter. She was the coordinator for the over 1,000 volunteers who help to build the Nurses’ Float for the 2013 Rose Parade and is an active community volunteer.

Will PacoWill Paco, MBA is a Public Member of the board. He is currently the Sr. Talent Management Consultant with Microsoft Corporation in Redmond, WA. Will leads efforts to develop an integrated, multi-year talent management vision and strategy based on strategic priorities, in partnership with HR and business leadership for the Enterprise Partner, Worldwide Licensing, Public Sector and Dynamics businesses. Will is also working to evolve their talent management infrastructure to develop and implement simple but effective processes, materials, and cadence for talent discussions. Will says the goal is to have deliberate development and talent actions. Will formerly led the Learning and Development function at Zulily, Inc. and is an established professional with over 10 years of experience working with corporations such as E*TRADE, Starbucks, and Time Warner Cable, to develop high impact learning/training programs that drive business results. He has led multiple teams with varied responsibilities including instructional design, training delivery, and learning technologies. Will is passionate about finding the right mix of learning and resources/support that enable individuals (and ultimately organizations) to succeed. Will earned a B.S. in Information Systems Management from CSU Sacramento and an M.B.A. from Queens University of Charlotte concentrated in executive coaching. To support his continued growth, Will serves with industry organizations such as the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) whose goal is to develop successful learning professionals and move the learning industry forward.

Julie ThompsonJulie Thompson, PhD, RN, CNS-CP(E), CNOR, serves as the Administrative Director of Research & Sponsored Programs at the Harris Health System in Houston, Texas and faculty at the University of St. Thomas School of Nursing in Houston in a unique innovation where perioperative nursing is the site for the required clinical experience in the first nursing course in the BSN curriculum. A perioperative nurse for over 30 years and certified as a CNOR since 1990, Dr. Thompson has practiced as a staff nurse, manager, assistant director, educator, Clinical Nurse Specialist, consultant, and researcher in surgical services. She holds a BSN from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston; a master’s in perioperative nursing from the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio; and an earned doctorate in nursing research from Texas Women’s University. Dr. Thompson serves as a Peer Reviewer for the AORN Journal and has published many articles and presented at health care conferences locally, regionally, and nationally on various perioperative nursing and research topics. Previously, Dr. Thompson was Chair of AORN’s National Research Committee and worked at the Center for Nursing Practice at AORN Headquarters as a Clinical Nursing Specialist. Dr. Thompson research interests include perioperative nursing recruitment and retention including the effects of the work environment and culture. She is a member of nursing’s national honor society, Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI), AORN, American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE), Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research (PRIM&R), American Nurses Association (ANA), and Texas Nurses Association (TNA). Julie has been active in local AORN chapters holding positions of president, vice president, and treasurer. She is an inductee of the University of Texas Medical Branch School of Nursing Alumni Hall of Fame. Dr. Thompson was honored as one of 20 Outstanding Nurses in Houston by TNA District 9 in 2010. She received a bronze medal from the Good Samaritan Foundation of Texas in 2011 and 2012 for Excellence in Nursing. Her CCI experience includes service on the APRN Task Force (2009 – 2010), APRN Job Analysis Task Force (2011), CNS Advisory Council (2013-2014), CNS-CP Item Writing Committee (2013-2014), and authored and presented the Leadership Module for the Surgical Services Management Certificate Program, authored the Evaluation and Outcomes Module for the Certificate Program for Surgical Services Educator Certificate Program and the Cultural Diversity Reference Book. She has been on the CCI Board of Directors since 2012 and has served as the Vice President and President of the Board, as well as serving on multiple committees as a board member.