Biographical Statements for Practice and Performance Committee Members

Guyla Ness

Guyla worked as classroom teacher for 20 years before becoming the Literacy and Assessment Coordinator, a position she has held since 2002. Guyla works an instructional coach and resource contact for all schools in her district for grades K-12. Guyla also oversees all district and state assessments including the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessment.

Jennifer Paul

Jennifer began her career in education as a middle school and high school teacher of English, Spanish, and English as a Second Language. Her strong interest in the needs of English Learners eventually led her to the Michigan Department of Education where she managed the development and administration of the state’s English language proficiency assessment. In recent years, Jennifer’s work has included serving as co-chair of the Smarter Balanced workgroup focused on accessibility and ensuring all of Michigan’s assessments include necessary tools, supports, and accommodations now and in the future.

Jim O’Neill

Jim is currently a fifth year as Curriculum Director of Butte School District in Montana. Previous to this position, he served as principal of Margaret Leary Elementary School for 12 years. He began his educational career as a 5th and 6th grade teacher in Fallon, NV and Butte, MT. In his current position, he works as the K-12 Curriculum Director, the Technology Director, Title I Director, and 21st Century Community Learning Grant Director.

Michelle Center

Michelle Center is Director of the Assessment Development and Administration Division. Michelle has worked her entire career in assessments including licensure, personnel and K-12 large scale assessments. She holds a masters’ degree in Industrial Organizational Psychology and has worked for CDE since 2001. Michelle was instrumental in crafting the vision of the California Assessment System including the Superintendent’s Recommendations Report on the Future of the Assessment System and the Assembly Bill 484. She serves as the California k-12 State Lead for Smarter Balanced and oversaw the implementation of the first year of Smarter Balanced Assessments in California.  Michelle continues to work closely with the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, promoting California’s interests in computer based assessments.

Mike Nelson

A product of the school district that he now serves, Mike Nelson is Coeur d’Alene Public Schools’ Director of Curriculum and Assessment. In addition to his title of Director of Curriculum and Assessment, Dr. Nelson worked for fourteen years as an elementary and high school Spanish teacher and administratively has served as a principal, curriculum/instruction director and worked collaboratively with special services, technology, and other school district supports. In 2005, Nelson was honored as the Milken National Educator award winner for his work in technology integration, engagement, and instructional practices.

Susan Green

Susan is currently the Director of Assessment, Evaluation and Planning Department in the San Juan Unified School District.  For the past 25 years, she has been an educator working as a middle school math teacher, curriculum specialist, vice principal and district assessment coordinator before becoming the Director of Assessment in 2014.  She has a Master of Education in Educational Management from the University of La Verne and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics from the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Tammy Mayer

Tammy currently works for the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction-Office of Special Education as a Special Education Regional Coordinator. She is the state lead for North Dakota Alternate Assessment.  She also carries portfolios in accessibility/accommodations for students with disabilities who take the North Dakota State Assessment (SBAC), assistive technology, intellectual disabilities, and Universal Design of Learning.  She has extensive background and knowledge in alternate assessment and general assessment practices working in public and private school sectors as a special education teacher for over 20 years and as a special education regional coordinator the last 2 years. She will be completing my EdD from the University of North Dakota, May 2017.  Her research topic is on assessment with the focus on students with disabilities and how access to general education curriculum impacts performance on high stakes/accountability testing.

Tiffany Seibel

Tiffany Seibel grew up in Montana and graduated from the University of Montana with a degree in education.  She moved to Las Vegas, Nevada, where she received her Master’s degree in Educational Administration.  She worked as a high school math teacher, Dean of Students, and Assistant Principal.  Tiffany then worked as the Director of Assessment for the Clark County School District, the 5th largest school district in the nation.  In this role, she planned organized and directed district mandated testing programs as well as all Nevada state mandated assessments.  She was also the liaison to the Nevada Department of Education.

Todd Bloomquist

Dr. Todd Bloomquist serves as the Director for Special Services, Technology, and Instructional Improvement for the Grants Pass School District in Grants Pass, OR. He has been working in public schools for 25 years in the role of teacher, assistant principal, principal, and director. Dr. Bloomquist has been a member of the Oregon State Assessment Advisory group since 2004 and has served on a number of state committees, including the most recent Oregon legislative work group around the implementation of the Smarter Balanced state assessment. Dr. Bloomquist also teaches as an adjunct faculty member for Southern Oregon University.

Victor Torres

Dr. Victor M. Torres currently is the Director of Human Resources for Palmdale School District in Palmdale, CA, which serves approximately 21,000 students in K-8.  In addition, he is an Adjunct Professor of Educational Policy and Leadership in the College of Education, California State University Northridge. Prior to his current position, he spent 7 years as an elementary school site administrator and has worked in the middle school, high school and continuation high school setting. He is a retired police officer for the City of Oakland, CA and a veteran of the United States Marine Corps.

Dr. Torres also serves on the Board of Education for the Castaic Union School District in Castaic, CA since 2009.  In addition, he served on the Board of Directors for the California School Boards Association (CSBA) from 2014-2016. Torres received his MBA in Finance from Golden Gate University; a Masters and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from CSU Northridge.

Tanya Golden

Tanya Golden is celebrating 12 years as a sixth grade general education teacher for the ABC Unified School District.  Ms. Golden has instructed new teachers as a Master Teacher,  Teacher Leader for English Language Arts, SBAC Testing Coordinator, and written curriculum for district wide use in English Language Arts. She served as a committee member of the Statewide Special Education Task Force for California, American Federation of Teachers Ambassador for SBAC, and currently serves on the CAASPP Stakeholder’s committee. She is also an active member of her union: the Negotiation Team, Vice President of Elementary, Thinking Math Facilitator, Curriculum Liaison, and Secretary for the EC/TK-12 Council of the California Federation of Teacher.

Kandi Greaves

Kandi Graves is a teacher of 24 years in the state of Vermont. She spent two years teaching middle school special education, then spent the majority of her years teaching middle school math in a regular education classroom grades 6-8.  In the past three years, she has moved into a district role as a math coach.  She has spent the last three years digging deeply into the SBAC testing, implementation and data.  She works closely with classroom teachers to utilize the tests and results to their fullest potential.

Lowell Ernst

Lowell Ernst currently serves as the Director of K-12 Instruction for the Pella Community School District in Pella, Iowa. He spent the first eight years of his career as a middle/high school science teacher in western Iowa. This was followed by two years as an Associate High School Principal and he has now served for 18 years in his current position. Lowell sits on multiple regional and state committees and was a member of the Governor’s Assessment Taskforce which recommended Smarter Balanced as Iowa’s statewide assessment.

Eva Payne

Eva Payne, English Faculty at Chemeketa Community College, Salem, Oregon since 2001; a member of the Oregon Writing and English Advisory Committee since 2000; served as National Chair to the Two-Year College Association 2014-16; participated in Oregon’s Smarter-Balanced Implementation and traveled to Dallas to work on establishing cut scores. Eva returned to college at Oregon State to earn Master’s degrees in Rhetoric and Composition and Education after a lengthy hiatus and a variety of jobs:  legal secretary, professional firefighter, and stay-at-home parent. She shares a background with students who arrive at college variously prepared but hopeful about their futures.

Megan Bale

Megan Bale serves as the Assessment Development Program Manager for Seattle Public Schools. She is responsible for managing K-12 assessments in collaboration with Seattle Schools leaders and the Office of Research and Evaluation. Megan’s work focuses on fostering district-wide assessment and data literacy and implementing a balanced assessment strategy, including conducting research on next generation assessments, coordinating the development and adoption of new assessments, and providing professional development to build assessment literacy through the use of robust data analysis protocols. Prior to her role as Assessment Manager, Megan served as an English Language Arts Assessment Specialist and an elementary Special Education teacher.