About CCMS

Board of Trustees

The Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science and the Foundation for Mortuary Education Board of Trustees is comprised of no more than fifteen members, as well as (non-voting) affiliate representatives to oversee financial, legal, and administrative requirements. The Board of Trustees holds scheduled meetings every May and  November, and intermittently as the need arises. Members of the foundation are invited and encouraged to participate during the May Annual Members Meeting. Please contact CCMS at (513) 761-2020 or bot@ccms.edu for meeting information and  agenda requests.


Michael Ryan, Board Vice-Chair

Michael Ryan, Board Chair

“My professional career began with a CCMS education. It is a privilege to give back ten times over to the continued success of this school and all those who seek to become tomorrow’s professionals.”

  • Shorten & Ryan Funeral Home, Vorhis & Ryan Funeral Home
  • Certified Funeral Celebrant, Licensed Professional – OH
  • Alumnus 1978
Bill Smith, Board Treasurer

Bill Smith, Board Vice-Chair

“It is my mission to assist in maintaining the highest quality of mortuary education in the industry.”

  • Maeder Quint-Tiberi Funeral Home
  • Ohio Embalmers Association Advisory Board, OFDA Scholastic Assistance Committee, Licensed Professional – Ohio
  • Alumnus 2006
Mark Merz

Mark Merz, Treasurer

“As an active member of my community, I appreciate and embrace the tradition of service excellence and compassion required of funeral service professionals.”

  • Neville (WSN) Funeral Home Former General Manager, Retired 2019
  • Certified Funeral Service Practitioner (CFSP)
  • Ohio Funeral Directors Association Past President
  • Ohio Funeral Directors Association Past Northwest Regional Director
  • National Funeral Directors Association Past Policy Board Representative 
  • Funeral Directors Association of Northwest Ohio Past President
  • Ohio Life Insurance Agent
  • Licensed Professional – Ohio
  • Alumnus 1988
Jan Borgman, Board Secretary

Jan Borgman, Board Secretary

“I believe deeply in the mission and vision of CCMS.”

  • Fellow in Thanatology
  • LISW-S
  • Certified Funeral Celebrant


Steve Bittner

Steve Bittner

  • Certified Catholic Cemetery Executive (CCCE)
  • Certified Cemetery Executive (CCE)
  • Cincinnati Catholic Cemetery Society, President
  • Catholic Family Security Association, Vice President
  • Catholic Cemetery Conference (CCC), President
Coleen Ellis

Coleen Ellis

“I am excited to partner with CCMS, a forward thinking educator that understands and embraces the value that pets have on the family system and the role of a funeral director in providing that service. As founder of Two Hearts Pet Loss Center (2009) and Pet Angel Memorial Center (2004) I was able to address and meet the needs pet parents had to mourn, memorialize, and celebrate the life that they shared with their beloved pets.”

  • Founder, Two Hearts Pet Loss Center
  • Consultant Specializing in Pet Death Care
  • International Speaker on Pet Loss & Grief
  • BBA Marketing, Fort Hays State University
  • Pet Loss & Grief Companioning Certified, Center for Loss
  • Certified in Thanatology, Association of Death Education & Counsel
Duane Hedrick

Duane Hedrick

“Having the privilege to expand beyond practitioner to service supplier has afforded the opportunity to meet countless CCMS graduates, which has inspired my mission to contribute to the future of the foundation and college.”

  • Dodge Company
  • Licensed Professional – Ohio
  • Alumnus 1993
Tim King

Tim King

“As a funeral professional, it is of great importance that I invest in the future of my Alma mater.”

  • Tufts Schildmeyer Funeral Home
  • Licensed Professional – Ohio
  • Alumnus 1997
Kenn Peterson

Kenn Peterson

  • Homesteaders Life Insurance Company
  • Certified Funeral Celebrant
Kathleen Shaffer

Kathleen Shaffer

“I am driven to contribute to maintaining the standard of excellence for which CCMS is known.”

  • Ducro Funeral Services
  • Certified Funeral Service Practitioner  (CFSP)
  • Certified Funeral Celebrant
  • Certified Pre-planning Consultant
  • Licensed Professional – Ohio
  • Alumna 2008
Dr. Jerome Webster

Dr. Jerome Webster

“My mission is education, so it is an incredible privilege to participate in the governance of the nation’s oldest and most respected funeral service college. We continue to transform death care education, achieving objectives that have never before been achieved in education.”

  • Higher Education Consultant
  • Past-President Terra State Community College
  • Certified Funeral Celebrant
Nicole Wiedeman

Nicole Wiedeman

“The funeral industry needs professional, well-educated funeral directors and crematory operators. I am dedicated to driving CCMS to continue this legacy.”

  • Death Care Mystery Phone Shopper (Dead Ringers)
  • Ohio Life Insurance Agent
  • Certified Supplier Executive, CSE, ICCFA
  • Certified Funeral Celebrant
  • Ball State University 1989


Jack Lechner, Ex-Officio
Brian Dershaw, Legal Advisor
Beth Williams, Liaison

Conflict of Interest Policy

Board of Trustees Conflict of Interest Policy 

For Board members only - Annual e-Signature Acknowledgement Form