Our Staff


Sharon Harvey

Chief Executive Officer


Sharon joins Michigan Language Assessment from Cambridge Assessment English, where she started in 2003 as development manager for Latin America, promoting the Cambridge Assessment English exams across the continent. Her most recent position was director of Cambridge Exams Publishing, a joint venture with Cambridge University Press, where she managed the production and marketing of the official preparation and practice materials for the Cambridge Assessment English exams. She has a BA (Hons) in Spanish & Portuguese from the University of Southampton, an MA from the University of Cambridge, and an MBA from the University of Nottingham. Sharon has a strong track record in business and market development.

Business Development

Viviana Avella

Business Development Manager- Colombia


Viviana is a professional in Finance and International Relations and  has over 12 years of experience in the field of bilingual education. She joins us from the British Council, where she was IELTS manager for Colombia, Ecuador, and Panama. Viviana oversaw the sustained growth of IELTS from 2014 to 2018, as well as the implementation of the IELTS for UKVI (United Kingdom Visa and Immigration). She also supported the growth of Cambridge and Aptis exams, developing marketing and sales strategies.

Viviana is from Bogota, and among her hobbies are running, spinning, music, and choral singing.

Kate Boyd

Marketing Specialist


Kate designs graphic and multimedia materials for Michigan Language Assessment Marketing. She also manages Michigan Language Assessment social media outlets and digital advertising initiatives. She holds BS in Journalism & Graphic Design. Prior to joining Michigan Language Assessment in 2005, she spent ten years working in Tech, finance, and higher education as a web designer and content specialist. Outside of work she has many interests, but some favorites are: science fiction, gardening, watercolor painting, gourmet cooking, astronomy, and lapidary.

Rafael Carpanez

Business Development Manager- Brazil


Rafael joins Michigan Language Assessment as Business Development & Marketing Manager in Brazil. He has been in the English Language Teaching field for over 20 years and has worked for publishers, large private language schools and most recently had a more focused position related to English exams. He holds an MA in Marketing, an MS in Neuroscience applied to Education and a BA in Advertising and Promotion. Outside of work, Rafael plays the drums and has many interests such as movies, music and technology.

Barbara Dobson

Director of Professional Partnerships


Barbara leads Michigan Language Assessment’s work in the area of stakeholder relations and global recognition, developing new partnerships and supporting existing ones. As a member of the senior management team, she contributes to the development of strategies and projects to promote Michigan Language Assessment and its products and services. She has published in the areas of language testing and English for academic purposes, presented her assessment-related research at various international conferences, and served on executive boards of ILTA and MwALT. While always principally a language tester, she has also taught writing to both native and nonnative English speakers at the university level. She is an author of the ESL reading textbooks Choice Readings and Reader’s Choice (now in its 5th edition).

Fernando Fleurquin

Assistant Director of Business Development and Marketing


Jonny Frank

Business Development Manager- Mexico


Julie Monteiro de Castro

Business Development and Recognition Manager- North America


Julie leads efforts to expand Michigan Language Assessment’s presence within the United States and Canadian English language learner markets, from K-12 through higher education. With over two decades of experience, she has led numerous initiatives within higher education, public policy and the private sector, with a focus on working closely with partners, gathering feedback and improving outcomes. Driven by a lifelong interest in cultural exchange, Julie has developed analytical services for global clients, established South American-based operations for a major US research firm and served as in-house editor for an award-winning Cambodian human rights organization. Julie holds a master of public policy from the Gerald R Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan and a bachelor of science in marketing from the Kelley School of Business, Indiana University. She is trilingual in English, Portuguese and Spanish.

Cj Pettus

Marketing Assistant


Rita Simpson-Vlach

Educational Materials Developer


Rita develops educational materials in support of teachers and test centers, including test preparation materials, classroom activities for specific skill development, and general testing, learning, and teacher training resources. She also serves as the liaison to other stakeholders, including publishers of test preparation and related educational materials.  Prior to joining Michigan Language Assessment she taught all levels of ESL in a wide range of institutions both in the U.S. and abroad. Rita also has research administration and project management experience, including nine years as founding project director of the Michigan Corpus of Academic Spoken English (MICASE) at the University of Michigan’s English Language Institute. She has presented widely at academic conferences and published research on corpus linguistics and EAP, and serves as a reviewer for several academic journals. Rita holds a PhD in Linguistics from the University of Michigan; she also has a BA from Colorado State University (German), and an MS from Georgetown University (Linguistics).

Fermín Torrejón Cattaneo

Business Development Manager- Peru


Fermín joins Michigan Language Assessment as Business Development & Marketing Manager for the Andean Region. He has had previous experience working for Cambridge English Language Assessment in Business Development & Marketing, on two occasions between 2011 and 2015, successfully increasing Cambridge’s market presence in Latin American markets. He has held key management positions in Marketing, Sales & Business Development at important international organizations in the Educational, Financial, and Construction sectors. He has a BS in Business Administration with a Major in Marketing from Long Island University (NY), and graduate studies in Executive Management Program from Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas (Perú). Besides English, Fermín is fluent in Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese.

Renee Woolley

Marketing Supervisor


Business Management

Danielle Dobies

Project Manager


Ericka Finley

Business Specialist


Amanda McConville

Director of Business Management


Amanda oversees test administration, finance, multimedia, human resources, and facilities for Michigan Language Assessment. She has a masters in accounting and is an associate CPA member. During her career she has had expanding responsibilities in human resources and operations. Prior to working for Michigan Language Assessment, Amanda’s experience included primarily accounting and financial roles in both private and public hospitals as well as academic institutions.

Lana Naqshbandi

Business Management Coordinator


Kevin O’Neill

Business Manager



Rachel Basse, PhD

Assessment Developer


Rachel reviews test items, compiles exams, and rates speaking and writing tests. She is also senior evaluator for the GSI OET at the University of Michigan. Rachel completed a combined BA/ MA in English and American literature at New York University and holds a PhD in applied linguistics from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. Prior to joining Michigan Language Assessment, she spent ten years teaching English in the United States and Spain. She has also worked as a freelance item writer and essay rater for various language testing companies.

Susan Haines

Assessment Specialist


Susan supports test development by scoring, reviewing, and compiling tests. Before coming to Michigan Language Assessment, Susan taught in the Ann Arbor Public Schools and freelanced for local, state, and national assessments.

Gad Lim, PhD

Director of Assessment


Gad has a wide range of experience in assessment, having been an examiner, item writer, test designer, test development manager, and researcher. Before coming to Michigan Language Assessment, he worked at Cambridge Assessment English, where he led research on IELTS and on writing assessment, shaped the development of new exams, helped deliver education reform projects, and advised policymakers. Gad reviews for all major language testing journals, and has presented and published on language teaching, performance testing, test validation, automated assessment, standard setting, and the CEFR. He has taught in higher education and trained language teachers in Asia, Australia, Europe, and the Americas. His PhD (Education) is from the University of Michigan.

Veronica Machak

Assessment Associate


Patrick McLain

Assessment Statistician


Patrick collects, analyzes, and interprets a wide variety of data for Michigan Language Assessment. He is responsible for the administration reports and technical reports for each test program. He also helps conduct research investigations and statistical data analyses to support claims about Michigan Language Assessment products. Patrick has a BA in mathematics from Mercyhurst University in Erie Pennsylvania and an MS in mathematics, focusing on statistics, from the University of Toledo. His current research activities include DIF and SEM investigations of Michigan Language Assessment tests.

Brent A. Miller

Assessment Developer


Brent reviews test items, compiles tests, and coordinates freelance activities. Before joining Michigan Language Assessment, he spent four years as part of the Balance Massage Therapy team where he served as lead trainer and project manager. Brent holds a BA in English from Kent State University and an MA in linguistics from Eastern Michigan University, where he focused his studies on narrative analysis.

Anaida Morales-Droz

Assessment Associate


Anaida contributes to test development at Michigan Language Assessment by reviewing tests at various stages and contributing to teacher preparation and rater training materials. She graduated with a degree in Education from the University of Puerto Rico, and before working at Michigan Language Assessment, she was a Spanish as a Foreign Language teacher. She has also worked as a translator, and her clients have included the Adler Planetarium, the Jet Propulsion Lab, the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian, and the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. Currently, Anaida is working with Michigan Language Assessment’s Business Development team to produce a range of informational materials in Spanish.

Sharon Pearce

Assessment Manager


Sharon is responsible for coordinating constructed-response quality assurance activities, compiling test forms, and reviewing test items. She is active in both speaking test development and speaking examiner training and also serves as a senior evaluator for the GSI OET at the University of Michigan. She holds a BA in Spanish from Western Michigan University and an MA in linguistics from Oakland University. Prior to working for Michigan Language Assessment, Sharon taught ESL for several years to adults from a variety of language backgrounds. She was also an administrator in an intensive English program and an EFL instructor in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Jen Piotrowski

Assessment Developer


Jen reviews test content and enjoys taking part in a variety of other projects at Michigan Language Assessment, particularly those related to testing lexico-grammatical patterns and improving efficiency in the test development process. Previously, Jen served as a language school administrator, taught English to speakers of other languages, and taught linguistics courses to undergraduates. They hold a BA in English and Linguistics from the University of Michigan, as well as an MA in Linguistics from the University of Oregon.

Renée Saulter

Assessment Developer


Renee_SRenée reviews test items, compiles exams, scores constructed responses, and works with the social media team. She is also a junior evaluator for the GSI OET at the University of Michigan. She received her BA in Arabic and Islamic Studies and cultural anthropology from the University of Michigan, and she holds MAs in Arabic for professional purposes and TESOL. She worked for Michigan Language Assessment in 2010–2011 before moving to Oman to teach English. Prior to returning to Michigan Language Assessment in 2015, she taught ESL at the University of Michigan Dearborn and Washtenaw Community College.

Luke Slisz

Assessment Developer


Rachele Stucker

Assessment Manager


Rachele manages the development of content for all testing programs. She also trains freelance item writers, and participates in the development of new assessments. She spent twelve years working in universities and educational publishing companies in Japan and South Korea, including six years as a Visiting Associate Professor at Hokkaido University. In the United States, she has experience running ESL programs for adults and has been involved in graduate business school admissions. Rachele holds a BA from the University of Missouri and an EdM from Harvard University.

Sally Thelen

Assessment Specialist


Sally supports test development by reviewing test items, compiling tests and scoring responses. Before coming to Michigan Language Assessment, Sally taught English as a Second Language for over fifteen years, both in the United States and abroad. Sally holds a BA in English from College of Wooster and an EdM in TESOL from SUNY University at Buffalo. Sally is currently pursuing a MA in Educational Technology and Instructional Design from Western Michigan University.


Elizabeth Flahie

Assistant Director of Operations


Maria Huntley

Operations Associate


Maria works with test orders, incoming test papers and scan files, test results, certificate distribution, payments, and inquiries. She also schedules Graduate Student Instructor Oral English Tests (GSI OETs) at the University of Michigan and issues score reports for the oral English test. Prior to working at Michigan Language Assessment, Maria served for ten years as MELAB coordinator and for seven years as ECPE coordinator.

Alexis Kielwasser

Customer Service Supervisor


Alexis oversees the customer service team at Michigan Language Assessment. She earned her BS in psychology, MBA in management, and a graduate certificate in human resources management. Alexis is currently studying marketing. Prior to working Michigan Language Assessment, Alexis spent ten years in the newspaper industry with roles in customer service, editorial, advertising, accounting, and human resources.

Britta Krisjanis

Customer Service Specialist


Eric Lagergren

Operations Manager


Eric has been with the organization since 2005. Prior to working with Michigan Language Assessment, Eric was a freelance writer and editor. He received his master’s degree in American and British literature from Kansas State University and he holds an MFA in creative writing from Purdue University.

Sara McDonnell

Production Associate


J.P. Pagán

Operations Supervisor


JP oversees many of the final production stages of Michigan Language Assessment’s products, such as the printing of booklets and marketing materials and the creation of test CDs. He wears several other hats as well, helping to design marketing, editing test audio, managing mass email communications (MailChimp!), and creating production schedules. Every winter, he wishes there was a steep mountain in Ann Arbor.

Alexandria Saba

Operations Assistant


RJ Stefl

Operations Specialist


Ben Wheeler-Floyd

Customer Service Associate