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Extensive experience dedicated to advancing our mission

WIDA’s leadership team brings extensive expertise in the fields of language education, test development, research, policy and professional learning, in addition to operational strength in marketing, finance, IT and HR.

Tim Boals, Executive Director
Tim has been a language educator for more than 30 years. His career has included work in Spanish, bilingual and ESL programs at the K-12 level, as well as leadership in state departments of education. Most recently, Tim’s work has focused on research, development and leadership of WIDA at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His expertise ranges from curriculum, classroom and language assessment to language policy and practice for multilingual learners.

Heather Buettner, Director – Communications and Market Expansion
Heather spent more than 20 years in corporate marketing and innovation before joining WIDA. Her expertise is in strategic communications, branding and audience-centered solutions.

H. Gary Cook, Senior Director – Assessment
Gary has more than 30 years of language testing expertise. His background includes experience as an English language curriculum and test developer, academic content test developer, state assessment director, vice president of an assessment company, research director and technical advisor. He has published widely in the area of English language assessment and assessment policy. Gary serves on several state and national committees relating to English learner assessments, state content assessment and assessment policy.

Jonathan Gibson, Director – Consortium and State Relations
Jonathan has nearly 30 years of experience serving multilingual K-12 students as a teacher, district and state EL program coordinator. Most recently, he has served as a WIDA State Relations Specialist. He now leads the work at WIDA to support and engage state education agencies across the WIDA Consortium.

Grace Xin Li, Chief Assessment Officer – Assessment
Grace has nearly 20 years of leadership and operational experience working on credentialing and English language assessment. She provides expert consultancy and innovative solutions regarding psychometrics, test design and development, scoring and analytics, and data management and operation. Grace has published and presented research at professional and industry conferences and served on advisory boards and committees.

Dan Machmeier, Director – Information Technology
Throughout his 30 years in IT, Dan has been adding value to organizations by delivering both internal and external facing information technology solutions. His experience in a variety of industries, organizational cultures, and technology roles have formed a diverse and flexible skill set positioned to solve problems in a growing organization.

Fabiana MacMillan, Director – Assessment
Fabiana has 20 years of experience in large scale language assessment. Her career spans management of language assessment programs in both academic and corporate settings, academic research, test development, teacher education, and language teaching. She has published in the area of language assessment and written discourse analysis.

Ngoc-Diep Nguyen, Director – Educator Learning, Research, and Practice
Diep has more than 30 years of experience in public education. Her career spans bilingual program and district administration, as well as teacher education and research. She has expertise in school leadership, language assessment and multicultural/multilingual education.

Kris Stewart, Assistant Director – Consortium and State Relations
Kris has been a leader in education, state government, and nonprofit organizations. At WIDA, Kris brings over a decade of assessment and client-facing experience to the Leadership Team. His expertise in education policy, data analysis, and direct perspectives from our State Education Agency clients and external partners while leading a team of State Relations Specialists will allow the Leadership Team to stay connected to that increasingly dynamic group of stakeholders.

Merideth Trahan, Chief of Staff
Merideth brings more than 30 years of experience in non-profit and higher education program and organizational development to WIDA. Her expertise is in talent development, strategic planning, program evaluation and internal communication.

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Teams and Programs

Our teams are made up of passionate experts looking to serve a single vision.

WIDA staff group

Staff Directory

Looking for a specific staff member? Access our staff directory.

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Several organizations provide services to WIDA and its members.