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.
Erin Arango-Escalante, Director - Client Relations
Erin’s background includes experience at the local, state, and national levels in PreK to higher education systems. She currently directs WIDA's efforts in supporting the diverse local and state education agencies across the consortium.
Heather Buettner, Chief Marketing Officer
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.
Mark Chapman, Director – Test Development
Mark has worked for more than 20 years as an English language educator and test developer, gaining broad experience designing and developing valid and reliable large-scale, high-stakes language tests.
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.
Jason Cooper, Chief Operations Officer/Chief Finance Officer
Prior to joining WIDA, Jason spent nearly 20 years in finance and operations in the consumer products and banking industry.
Elizabeth Cranley, Senior Director – Research and Development
As a founding leader of WIDA, Elizabeth has served as principal and co-principal investigator on numerous research and development projects. Her work at WIDA draws on nearly 30 years of experience as an educator, researcher and writer in the United States and internationally.
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.
Ngoc-Diep Nguyen, Director – Professional Learning
Diep has more than 40 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.
Sarah Ryan, Director – Research, Policy and Evaluation
Sarah brings more than 10 years of experience in policy research and program evaluation to WIDA, including specific expertise in research design, quantitative methodology and research use.
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.