Rafael (Rafo) Saldaña Dean, School of Business Miami Dade College
Mr. Rafael (Rafo) Saldaña is the Dean of the School of Business at Miami Dade College.
Mr. Saldaña has an extensive background as a business manager and banker, with diverse market experience in the United States, Latin American and European institutions. He has an array of hands-on expertise in establishing new markets, tackling difficult projects and turning around business franchises in multiple cities, including Boston, Minneapolis, Winston-Salem NC, Tampa, Orlando, and San Juan, PR. His passion for education has led him to Miami Dade College.
Mr. Saldaña holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics (Magna Cum Laude) from the University of Puerto Rico and a master’s degree in Management (MBA) with majors in Accounting, Finance, Operations, and Industrial Relations from the J.L.Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois. In addition, he has completed executive graduate programs at Duke University, Yale University, the University of California- Berkley, and the University of Chicago.
He is an Executive Committee Board Member of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce; Director of the Commercial & Industrial Association of South Florida; Trustee of The Miami Foundation, and former Chairman, Audit Committee, of The Community Foundation of Central Florida.
Thania Rios, Associate Dean of the School of Business
Ms. Thania M. Rios began her career at Miami Dade College as a full-time professor teaching financial and managerial accounting courses at the InterAmerican Campus in 2003. She later became chairperson of the School of Business and the School of Technology and Engineering at the InterAmerican Campus, and, in 2006, transferred to the Homestead Campus where she also chaired the Community Education department and launched the Electrical Power Technology program in partnership with Florida Power & Light Turkey Point.
Before working for the College, Ms. Rios was a controller at J.C. Toys Group and a public accountant with the firm of Morrison, Brown, Argiz, & Farra, LLC. She is a Florida licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA).
Ms. Rios holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Miami and a master’s degree in Accounting from Florida International University. Ms. Rios is also a Registered Respiratory Therapist and a Certified Pulmonary Technologist.
Ms. Rios is a member of Leadership Miami, Chamber South, Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, and the West Kendall Business Association.
Teddie Laing, North Campus Chairperson
Ms. Teddie Laing oversees degree and certificate programs at the North Campus, ranging from Accounting to Business Administration, to Marketing and Management including the new Bachelor of Applied Science in Supervision and Management.
Ms. Laing was director of the College's Mortgage Finance Program for five years prior to joining the School of Business and also director of the College's computer training and job placement program for students with disabilities (MEED Program) for three of the five years. Ms. Laing has many years of industry experience that includes serving as assistant director of the Housing Finance Authority of Broward County and staff assistant to a U.S. Congressman.
Ms. Laing has an M.A.-Rider University; B.A.-Rutgers University; A.A.-Mercer County Community College and has completed her course work for an Ed.D. in Higher Education Leadership at Nova Southeastern University. She was president of the National Association of Professional Mortgage Women (NAPMW) South Florida for three years.
Ana M. Cruz, Wolfson Campus Chairperson
Dr. Ana M. Cruz has specialized in the fields of general business, accounting, taxes and management. Specifically, her work experience has been in different segments of private industry, as well as in the federal government sector, as a field examiner for the IRS.
Dr. Cruz established the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program at Miami Dade College for which she received a proclamation from Miami Dade County in 2008. Additionally, she has created other projects to enhance the students’ learning abilities and reinforce their civic and ethical responsibilities.
Dr. Cruz has a Bachelor of Business Administration from Florida International University, a Master of Business Administration from Saint Thomas of Villanova University, and a Doctor of Business Administration from Nova Southeastern University.
Dr. Cruz has collaborated in the writing of various grants, participated in numerous committees, including the IRS Citizens Advocacy Panel (CAP), and authored and co-authored several publications. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the Cuban-American CPAs Association (CACPAA).
Sarah Tuskey, Homestead Campus Chairperson
Ms. Sarah Tuskey has over ten years of professional experience and most recently served as a member of the management team at the School of Business at St. Thomas University. There she advanced the School’s undergraduate and graduate degree programs, maintained relationships with universities, colleges, and high schools, and extended the School’s marketing reach. Ms. Tuskey also has a strong background in the hospitality industry, bringing an expertise in customer service, event management, and employee training.
She earned the Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a specialization in Management Information Systems from the University of Central Florida, and the International Master of Business Administration degree from Florida International University. She was inducted into the Golden Key Society for her academic excellence.
She is also active in the South Florida community, participating in a number of local business and community organizations. She is a graduate of the Leadership Miami program, a member of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce and Broward National Academy Foundation Advisory Board, and is an active leader in the Junior League of Miami.
Ms. Cynthia Conteh, InterAmerican Campus Chairperson
Ms. Conteh has over twelve years of professional experience in secondary and post-secondary education. She most recently served as the Director of a multi-million dollar grant that was funded by the National Science Foundation to increase the enrollment, retention and completion rates of minority students. Under her leadership, this program received national recognition for institutional practices that excel Latino students in higher education.
Ms. Conteh has a diverse and progressive background of managing the administrative and fiscal aspects of grants, academic departments, and special projects. Through the years, she has used her platform to disseminate best practices to local and national policy makers and organizations that include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Excelencia in Education, the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, and the Association of American Colleges and Universities.
Ms. Conteh earned her Master of Business Administration degree with a concentration in Finance from the University of North Florida. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in Higher Education Administration at the University of Florida. She is also a member of the Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce and the National Black MBA Association.
Djuradj Babic, Hialeah Campus Chairperson
After teaching as an adjunct instructor at Florida International University and Broward College, Dr. Djuradj Babic was hired as a full-time professor in the School of Engineering and Technology at the Hialeah Campus in 2007. Prior to that, he served in a variety of positions, including teaching for the Miami Dade County Public Schools system.
Dr. Babic holds both Master and Doctor of Philosophy degree in Computer Science from Florida International University. His doctorate research in the area of software measurement and fault prediction aims at developing an adaptive software fault prediction approach using object oriented metrics to optimize allocation of resource during software testing and software maintenance activities. Dr. Babic has authored and co-authored nine journal and conference publications, and has collaborated on the development of several grant proposals containing undergraduate student research component.
Lynne Arguelles, Baccalaureate Program Manager
Lynne Arguelles has over twenty years of educational leadership and student development experience and over thirteen years of managerial and supervisory experience with roles in technology, operations and accounting. She is currently the Manager for the Bachelor of Applied Sciences/Supervision and Management program where she provides coordination and management college-wide.
Prior to joining the College, Ms. Arguelles was an educator and technology manager for schools in the Archdiocese of Miami where she was nominated for Catholic Educator of the Year four times. Ms. Arguelles has also worked as an adjunct instructor for non-credit programs for Miami Dade College and Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton, Georgia.
She began her career with PriceWaterhouseCoopers and also spent many years working in her family’s textile business in operations. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Management and Management Information Systems from Valdosta State University. She is a member of the Advisory Board for the St. John Bosco Leadership Learning Center in Little Havana.”