DCC Announces Four New Members to its Board of Trustees

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. — SEPT. 26, 2022 — Dutchess Community College (DCC) is welcoming four new members to its Board of Trustees. They include:

  • Aminah Mikaylah Augustin-Muhammad, student trustee,

  • Frank M. Castella, Jr. '99, president & CEO of the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce,

  • Darrah Cloud, an award-winning playwright, creative writing instructor and former town supervisor of Pine Plains, N.Y., and

  • Linda Pratt, co-owner/literary agent of the Wernick & Pratt Agency.

Aminah Mikaylah Augustin-Muhammad Frank Castella Darrah Cloud Linda Pratt

Aminah Mikaylah

Frank M. Castella, Jr. '99

Darrah Cloud

Linda Pratt

Ms. Cloud and Ms. Pratt were appointed by New York State Governor Kathy Hochul, while Mr. Castella was appointed by the Dutchess County Legislature, and Ms. Augustin-Muhammad was elected by the student body, per Section 6306 (as amended) of the Education Law of the State of New York.

“We are quite fortunate to be adding such a broad spectrum of talent to the DCC Board with this new cohort of trustees,” said DCC President Peter Grant Jordan. “Their unique life experiences and involvement across the county will bring us valuable wisdom and counsel, to guide the College and strengthen its impact in our community.”

“Our board is very pleased to add these four accomplished individuals as new colleagues,” said Board of Trustees Chairman, Michael Francis Dupree. “Their expertise will go a long way toward helping us serve the ever-evolving education needs of our community. We look forward to their collaboration, contributions and fresh perspectives.”

Each of these new members has markedly diverse backgrounds, upbringings and career paths, each experiencing their own substantial growth and success.

Ms. Augustin-Muhammad, an Adolescent Education-English major, anticipates earning her associate degree in the spring of 2023. An accomplished campus leader, she also serves as vice president of the Black Student Union, a tutor in the DCC Writing Center, and a resident assistant in Conklin Hall. An Arlington High School graduate and recipient of several scholarships, she is also fluent in French and Haitian Creole.

Mr. Castella has served as regional chamber president & CEO, as well as the chamber foundation’s president, since 2014. He represents more than 1,300 clients and manages a staff of 24. A business advocate throughout his career, he previously owned two companies, including a family-owned printing business and a direct mail entity. He is a graduate of DCC (Business Administration, ’99) and the University at Albany (Business Administration, ’00).

Ms. Cloud teaches creative writing at Goddard College, her alma mater, in Plainfield, Vermont. Originally from Evanston, Illinois, she has also taught at Fordham University, Wesleyan University, Vassar College and the University at Albany. She began her career in New York City as a playwright and teacher. She has worked on award-winning productions across the U.S. and Europe, and for major networks like CBS, NBC and FOX. In addition, in 2017 she was elected town supervisor of Pine Plains, serving for four years. She was instrumental in writing major grants for town improvements, updating police policy and reform, and updating the town’s comprehensive plan. She also helped Pine Plains earn the designation of Clean Energy Community through targeted investments in energy-reducing infrastructure.

Ms. Pratt has been a literary agent for 27 years, having launched her boutique agency in 2011 after 16 years at a larger firm. She has a particular passion for children’s literature, ranging from toddler-aged board books to young adult novels. Her success as a literary agent has been aided greatly by the knowledge she gained from her first profession – finance and accounting – having been a bookkeeper, accountant and controller at various points over a 14-year span after earning her bachelor’s in finance from the University of Texas at Austin.

# # #