Like North Shore, which has campuses in Lynn, Beverly and Danvers, Atlantic Cape is spread out, with a main campus and two full-service branches.
Atlantic Cape also serves a diverse student population, given that the casino industry has attracted people from all over the world, with the Atlantic City school district serving students who speak more than 40 languages, Gentile said. She noted that she was able to build good relationships with not just the casino industry, but with small businesses and health care providers who make up the business community in the area of Atlantic Cape.
Gentile said she brings the perspective of someone who worked for nonprofits and in the public sector to the community college world.
Gentile grew up in Philadelphia, in a family with a father who was a first-generation Italian-American, and a mom who was from a family of Irish immigrants. That gave her an appreciation for diversity. She learned that education is not only a way to become self-sufficient but to attain the American dream.
She attended Catholic schools from kindergarten through high school.
“It was the nuns who told me I was smart enough and had the academics to go to college,” she said.
Gentile worked her way through the University of Pennsylvania and graduated magna cum laude. She began as a teacher in Catholic elementary and secondary schools in Philadelphia. She later went on to work for nonprofits and held executive posts with the Children’s Defense Fund and was CEO of two large mid-Atlantic Girl Scout councils and the Women’s Humane Society in Pennsylvania.
She earned an MBA with a joint major in finance and public policy/management from Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and a doctoral degree in educational leadership and higher education at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.