This fall, three positions on the WE Board of Directors are open for election:
Responsibilities for positions are described in the WE by-laws.
SPECIAL ELECTION Timeline and key dates:
Candidate Statements: description of qualifications and vision for position
Secretary 2022-2023 -- 3 candidates
Sana Ahmed Wilder
I am a research associate with over 8 years of experience in education research. At Westat, I am responsible for leading evaluations, data analyses, project management, and designing visualizations for several education projects. In earlier work, I provided local school districts and child service organizations with statistical and research guidance and support. I am skilled in facilitating discussions and translating complex data science topics into meaningful actions for nontechnical audiences.
If elected, in my first six months I aim to become knowledgeable and proficient with the Secretary protocols established by the current Secretary, taking on her routine responsibilities and successfully transitioning into a valued member of the board by building relationships and developing an understanding of what individual members seek from our association. Once I have achieved a sense of how the WE Board and members routinely operate, I will identify a few areas of improvement in collaboration with other board members that are fitting areas for me to focus my skills and thus, further develop the WE community.
Stacey S. Merola
Dr. Stacey Merola is a multiple award-winning evaluator with almost 25 years of social science research experience and over 18 years of experience in program evaluation. Her work has primarily been in the field of education. A respected research methodologist, Dr. Merola has designed and implemented rigorous evaluations for federal, corporate, and nonprofit clients, including Discovery Education, Habitat for Humanity, Pearson Education, Wor-Wic Community College, The Carter Center, Howard University, and the Y in Central Maryland. Dr. Merola has volunteered as part of Washington Evaluator’s “Evaluation Without Borders” and “Mentor Minutes” programs. She has served in leadership positions for American Education Research Association (AERA)’s Division H and Cornell University’s Class of 1994 alumni organization. For AERA Division H she was the Outstanding Publication Award Committee Chair, after serving as the assistant chair, and a review committee lead. In the role of chair, she coordinated teams of submission reviewers, improved submission, review, and communication processes, and ensured deadlines were met. For Cornell University, she assists with and provides input related to alumni outreach and planning for the next reunion. She has lived in the DC region for over 20 years, and in her free time enjoys taking her son on adventures and playing piano.
In this position, I hope to maintain and build on the current Secretary's excellent work, as well as help navigate the eventual transition back to in-person events, while continuing to sustain membership growth.
Deborah K. Levy
I have worked in the program evaluation field for over 20 years. My career began in the nonprofit sector; however since then I have moved to government work, and now the private sector working on federal contracts. Up until the pandemic I was very active in AEA, including serving as Chair Elect, and Program Chair for the Independent Evaluation TIG. At that time, the TIG embarked on strategic planning engagement and developed its own five year strategic plan. The TIG also expanded its offerings to include mentoring and a buddy system. In the past, I served on my local YMCA Board for four years and our summer swim club's Board for five years, including three years as the treasurer.
While speaking with the Program Chair and future President, I learned what a great job the current secretary has done including developing SOPs and various systems that prove to be effective. I will continue to maintain these documents and systems, and at the same time offer a new perspective to the various activities of Washington Evaluators. After hearing about the growth of the organization over the past couple years, I am excited at the opportunity to be part of it once again, expanding to a leadership role.
____Regular Election closed for the following candidates_____
President 2022 (Special Vote)
Description of qualifications
Please provide a short description of your experience as an evaluator, as a professional within the evaluation community, and/or experience and familiarity previously serving as a volunteer or member of a nonprofit Board.
Esther C. Nolton, PhD, MEd (she/hers) has over a decade of experience in research and evaluation. She is currently a Program Officer at the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute where she primarily focuses on designing and implementing strategies for organizational learning, evaluation capacity building, DEI. Her PhD is in Research & Evaluation Methods from George Mason University, and she holds a Certificate in Strategic Management from Georgetown University and a Certificate in Leading Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion from Northwestern University. Nolton also brings nearly two decades of experience serving professional organizations. She has sat on over two dozen committees (Chaired about five of them), held various leadership positions, and served on multiple Boards of Directors.
Nolton has enthusiastically served the evaluation field and community with unwavering loyalty and dedication. In only three years since officially calling herself an evaluator, Nolton served/s as a member of the Washington Evaluators (WE) Membership Committee (2019-2021), member of the WE Anti-Racism Task Force (2020), Chair of the WE Program Committee (2021), mentor for the WE Mentor Minutes program (2020-Present), and was the 2020 recipient of the WE Volunteer of the Year Award. She has also been a member of the American Evaluation Association (AEA) Website Committee (2020-2021), Program Co-Chair (2019-2022) for the AEA Evaluation Policy Topical Interest Group (TIG), member of the AEA Research on Evaluation TIG (2019-Present), member of the AEA DEI Working Group (2021-Present), member of the Member Engagement Survey Working Group (2021-Present), and member of the Local Affiliate Collaborative (2021-Present).
Vision for the position, if elected or appointed
Having had a large role in developing the 2021-2024 Strategic Plan, I am prepared to work with our Board of Directors to develop an exciting and attainable action plan for 2022 that will continue to position WE as the premier professional organization for evaluators in the DC metropolitan region. As a member of the WE Membership Committee, I developed, deployed, and analyzed a membership survey which allowed me to better understand the interests and needs of our members. Equipped with this knowledge, I planned and facilitated 36 robust events in 2021, which is the most WE has ever offered in a single year. In 2021 alone, WE has seen nearly a 60% increase in membership, which includes more student members and evaluators from outside of the DC region, even the US, than ever before! It has been an amazing privilege to be part a wonderful organization during this time of phenomenal growth. Our organization has grown, not just in size, but in community. I am both humbled and thrilled about leading and representing an organization that represents approximately 600 of my fellow evaluators. Thank you to all our WE volunteers, members, and fans, who all give remarkable amounts of time and energy in support of the organization. You all inspire me to continue the momentum that we generated in 2021 and to think innovatively about the ways we can better serve our members. It would be my absolute honor to continue serving WE in 2022 as President.
President-Elect 2022 / President 2023
Description of qualifications
Hi! I’m Natalie! Usually I introduce myself as the Chief of Evaluation at the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), where I manage a team of seven amazing colleagues (meaning, they do all the work) on a quest to both measure the effectiveness of ECA programs and obtain world domination (spoiler alert: world domination is within reach as it’s easier… as you fellow M&Eers already know). For this statement however, I’m going to discuss my work on the Washington Evaluators Board. I have served as the WE Membership Chair since January 2019. In that time, membership has grown from 279 members to nearly 570 members; the number of Organizational Sponsors has increased from four to 19. During my tenure, WE released a member-wide survey to better capture the sentiment of members regarding a number of aspects of WE programming, and also conducted a survey with former members to better understand their reasons for not renewing and how they thought WE could improve to attract/retain members. These data are continually used by the Board to inform its decision-making. Having spent three years on the WE Board has provided invaluable insights into the organization and its membership. During my tenure I’ve been able to work across roles (for instance, taking the lead on planning for the 2020 WE Annual Holiday party) alongside my fellow Board members. This comprehensive knowledge of the organization will allow me to be effective on day one as President-Elect.
Vision for the position, if elected or appointed
When I was a kid, I loved getting autographs. My dad would take me to sporting events before the game would start so I could ask the players for their signatures; I was always in awe when I got one. I have been a part of WE since 2014 when I began my M&E career. Being new to the field, I was eager to learn, find mentors to ask career advice, and meet others who wanted to nerd out on all things M&E just like me. In 2019, I joined the Board as the Membership Committee Chair and was excited to shape an organization that had given so much to me. As President-Elect, I would look to continue the great work of the current Board in providing numerous events in an array of areas, look for ways to increase the diversity of our membership, entice new mentors for our Mentor Minutes program, expand Evaluation Without Borders, and create opportunities for Members to present their work. I want to continue shaping WE into an organization where all of us find our child-like excitement; where we turn to our family and friends (who still have no clue what we do despite having explained it 100 times and even drawn them a logic model of how we came to this field) to say: “I can’t come to happy hour because WE is hosting [favorite evaluator’s name] tonight and I gotta go!”. Hopefully you get lucky and come home with an autograph.