Leadership Committed to Helping Improve Academic and Career Outcomes
As a mission-driven non-profit organization, we are proud to have supported more than 800,000 students at more than 1,300 institutions worldwide as they pursue their goals and achieve success.
We benefit from the experience and expertise of CAE’s team, Board of Directors, and Advisory Board. These professionals continue to innovate and drive CAE forward as we fulfill our mission to improve student outcomes.
CEO & President
Bob Yayac has 30+ years’ experience in all aspects of designing, building, and growing technology-enabled businesses, most recently as co-founder of a simulation-based medical education company.
As CEO & President, Bob sets the strategic direction for CAE and works closely with clients, partners, and the CAE team to ensure CAE delivers on its mission to improve student outcomes.
Doris Zahner, PhD
Chief Academic Officer
Dr. Doris Zahner is the Chief Academic Officer at CAE, where she provides thought leadership and oversees all research and development studies pertaining to CAE’s performance-based assessments.
Dr. Zahner holds a PhD in cognitive psychology and an MS in applied statistics from Teachers College, Columbia University.
In addition to her responsibilities at CAE, Dr. Zahner is an adjunct associate professor at Barnard College and Teachers College, Columbia University, as well as New York University, where she teaches statistics courses to undergraduate and graduate students in the social sciences and public policy.
VP, Assessment Services
Cynthia Kim has 25+ years’ experience in the assessment industry with expertise in test development and measurement. Her experience includes managing high stakes assessment programs in the certification market ensuring adherence to industry standards in test development, psychometrics, scoring, and reporting.
As VP, Assessment Services at CAE, Cynthia oversees all operations management and collaborates closely with clients and the CAE team to ensure operational success and high customer satisfaction.
Sr. Dir. of Content & Design Development
Stacey Sparks has over 30 years of experience in the design and creation of educational assessments, including teacher certification tests; K-12 summative assessments; and innovative classroom-embedded performance tasks.
In her role as CAE’s Senior Director of Content Design and Development, Sparks collaborates closely with clients, content developers, program managers, and measurement scientists to ensure that all of CAE’s assessments meet the highest standards.
VP, Business Development
Mike Woods is an experienced business development professional committed to helping improve academic and career outcomes. Mike brings over 30 years of assessment experience and results to CAE. With a passion for building strong client relationships, he is an accomplished executive with diversified experience in high stakes assessment, educational technology, operations, and business development leadership with strong focus on strategic relationships across the assessment industry.
As VP, Business Development and member of the leadership team at CAE, Mike plans, directs, and manages all facets of Business Development with focus on strategic initiatives.
René Smith is an experienced executive with 25+ years P&L responsibility in technology-driven companies, including Fortune 500 and non-profit companies in both the education and media industries, globally.
She received her BS degree from Drexel University, MBA from Saint Joseph’s University, and MS in Systems Engineering from the Université de Lausanne as a Rotary Scholar.
As CTO, René oversees various technological aspects supporting the assessment experience and delivery, as well as extensive analytics, with a focus on maximizing the value of insights for educators and students.
Tess Dawber, PhD
Senior Measurement Scientist
Tess Dawber has over 15 years of experience in the assessment industry leading large-scale educational assessments for K-12 populations and college students. Her experience includes participating in all aspects of the test cycle, such as developing test designs; conducting item and form analyses, scaling, equating, and special studies; preparing technical documentation; and advising on psychometric-related issues and best practices.
In her role as CAE’s Senior Measurement Scientist, Tess collaborates closely with clients, content developers, program managers, and the measurement team to ensure the accuracy and on-time delivery of CAE assessment results.
Product Director, Assessment Solutions
Kelly Rotholz has nine years of experience in the educational assessment industry, working in program management and product development.
In her role as CAE’s Product Director, Assessment Solutions, Rotholz collaborates closely with clients, content developers, program managers, and the measurement team to ensure that the solutions offered are well aligned with client needs, leveraging modern technology and innovative performance assessments.
Customer Support Team Lead
Anna Slaughter has over 15 years of customer service experience, and she is well-versed in project management, user experience, technical support, and insight generation. Anna’s passions are solving challenging problems, learning new technologies, and communicating clearly and beautifully.
In her role as CAE’s Customer Support Team Lead, Anna ensures our clients have a smooth and positive experience with our assessment tools and products, and she ensures that our solutions are meeting our clients’ needs.
Board of Directors
Dennis Brown (Chair)
Group Operating Officer (Retired), The NPD Group
Dennis Brown recently retired as group operating officer with market research company The NPD Group. In this role, he introduced new research methodologies, facilitated strategic alliances with other research innovators, and led a business transformation to keep NPD growing with leading brands around the world. A seasoned senior executive with more than 40 years of success in information services, market research, and consumer durables, Brown held leadership positions at companies including World Kitchen, Krups/Moulinex, and Corning Glass Works.
Judith S. Eaton, PhD
President Emeritus of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA)
Judith S. Eaton, PhD, recently retired after 23 years from her position as president of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), the largest institutional higher education membership organization in the U.S. Eaton was previously chancellor of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, the Community College of Philadelphia and the Community College of Southern Nevada, and also served as vice president of the American Council on Education. A published author, she’s written numerous books and articles on higher education and accreditation-related topics, and addresses accreditation and quality assurance at conferences worldwide.
Managing Director – Head of Financial Institutions, Mizuho America
Diane Ferguson is the head of financial institutions, corporate and investment banking, at Mizuho Americas, where she leads Mizuho’s Financial Institutions Group and is responsible for strategy and revenue generation across insurance companies, financial technology and specialty finance. Ferguson is a senior banking executive with more than 25 years’ experience in creating and directing financial institutions, as well as growing significant revenue for banking and market products. She is the co-founder of Mizuho’s Women’s Network and is actively involved in the company’s global diversity and inclusion initiative.
Michael Feuer, PhD
Dean, Graduate School of Education and Human Development, George Washington Univ.
Michael J. Feuer, PhD, is dean of the Graduate School of Education and Human Development and professor of education policy at George Washington University (GWU). Prior to GWU, Feuer was immediate past president of the National Academy of Education and a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. Feuer, appointed by President Barack Obama in 2014 to the National Board for Education Sciences, also served as a senior analyst and project director at the U.S. Congress Office of Technology Assessment, where he specialized in educational technology and testing.
Eduardo Marti, PhD
President Emeritus, Queensborough Community College
Eduardo J. Marti, PhD, served as vice chancellor for community colleges of The City University of New York and is president emeritus of Queensborough Community College. Prior to his leadership positions for New York City, Marti served as president of Corning Community College of the State University of New York (SUNY) and as president of SUNY’s Tompkins Cortland Community College. An advocate for high standards and the traditional values of education, he serves on the board of trustees of Teachers College at Columbia University, and as a member of the New York State Governor’s Commission on Educational Reform.
V. Darleen Opfer
Vice President and Director, RAND Education and Labor
V. Darleen is vice president and director, RAND Education and Labor and Distinguished Chair in Education Policy at the RAND Corporation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization that helps improve policy and decision making through research and analysis.
Darleen began her career as a special education teacher. After earning her Ph.D. in education policy at the University of Virginia, she became a professor of education policy. Throughout her career, her focus has been on using evidence to improve schools for low-income and minority students. She is author of numerous books, reports, and journal articles and has presented to practitioners, researchers, and policymakers worldwide.
Michele Balliet, EdD
Superintendent of Schools, Elizabethtown Area School District
Michele Balliet, EdD, is the superintendent of schools for the Elizabethtown Area School District, Pennsylvania, where her strategic vision and leadership promote an environment that inspires a passion for learning. Balliet joined the school district in 2008 as an assistant superintendent for elementary education. Balliet also served as the superintendent of Lancaster County Career and Technical Center, Willow Street, Pennsylvania and as the assistant to the superintendent for K-12 curriculum and instruction for neighboring Lower Dauphin School District in Hummelstown. She began her career in education with the East Penn School District in Emmaus as an elementary education teacher.
Enis Dogan, EdD
Chief Psychometrician, National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education
Enis Dogan, EdD, is a senior research scientist at the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Dogan oversees the psychometric quality of national assessments and surveys conducted by the U.S. Department of Education, including the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Prior to joining NCES, he served as the lead psychometrician and co-chair of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) Research and Psychometrics Committee, where he designed, managed and conducted research to inform the development of the PARCC assessments as valid and reliable tools for the Common Core State Standards.
Director of People and Culture, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Baltimore
Brenda Gardner is the director of people and culture at the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts where she leads and directs all human resources responsibilities for an award-winning luxury city resort hotel. Gardner also worked in human resources roles with other reputable brands in hospitality such as the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, Hilton-branded hotels, Morgans Hotel Group, Starwood Hotels and Resorts, and the Pyramid Hotel Group properties, including Marriott.
Director of Online Education, NYU Wagner
David Gastwirth is the director of online education at New York University’s Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service, managing online program development, enrollment management, student affairs and academic operations. Additionally, he oversees the instructional technology strategy, training and support services for campus-based programs. Gastwirth previously served in a variety of roles at University of Southern California and Duke University. He is the former director of higher education programs, partnerships and strategic development at CAE.
Chief of Partnership, University of Virginia Partnership for Leaders in Education
Leighann Lenti serves as Chief of Partnership for the University of Virginia Partnership for Leaders in Education – a transformative and tailored leadership program for school and district transformation. Leighann has over 18 years of education policy experience at the state and federal level. This includes as the Deputy Secretary of Education at the New Mexico Public Education Department, where she oversaw college and career readiness, school accountability and transformation, teacher evaluation and the standards and assessment system.
Vice President, Client Services and Product Development, Maguire Associates, Inc.
Matt Maguire is a marketing and technology expert specializing in the higher education market. He currently serves as vice president of client services and product development at Maguire Associates, a research-based consulting firm focusing exclusively on educational institutions. For over 30 years, the firm aided in advancing enrollment management, institutional marketing, competitive positioning and branding, and strategic planning in education – nationally and abroad – through a range of services. Maguire manages a portfolio of client projects in quantitative research and predictive modeling, while also participating in the company’s leadership and management.
Senior Account Executive, Streaming and Publishing, Fastly
Su Pyun is an accomplished technology sales leader with over 20 years of sales experience in networking services. She currently serves as a senior account executive at Fastly, a cloud computing services provider, working with streaming media and digital publishing companies to deliver the best online experience to their audience and users. As the youngest child of an immigrant family, Pyun is passionate about helping women of color thrive in corporate America. She is a member of her company’s diversity and inclusion council and is also a certified professional coach and energy leadership index master practitioner, stress and anxiety.
Glenn Whitehouse, PhD
Associate Dean for Student Affairs, College of Arts & Sciences, Florida Gulf Coast Univ.
Glenn Whitehouse, PhD, is the associate dean for student affairs in the College of Arts & Sciences at Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) and is an associate professor of philosophy and religion. He is also the director of FGCU PAGES program, where he works with humanities and social sciences students on professional success initiatives, providing career exploration programming, networking opportunities, and internship connections.