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Our Team

Meet our team of experienced and skilled educators, coaches, and strategists. Our team works collaboratively with our clients, providing customized strategies for your business’ distinct needs.

Rachel R. Watkins Schoenig, J.D.

Rachel R. Watkins Schoenig, J.D., is an experienced strategic advisor, attorney, and exam security and privacy practitioner, with decades of practical experience at publicly traded and nonprofit organizations with global reach. She regularly works with licensure, credentialing, admissions, and EdTech organizations to develop strategies that take into account emerging technologies and trends, design holistic policies and frameworks, protect their brand reputation and assets, and manage incident response and communications. Leveraging her legal, international, and testing experience, Rachel has helped design test security and privacy frameworks for measurement and EdTech organizations, developed innovative applications for use on personal devices, led initiatives incorporating artificial intelligence and biometrics, guided organizations as they transitioned to online testing and online proctoring, and helped organizations holistically manage critical security-related incidents. A recognized expert, she is regularly invited to serve as a Keynote Speaker and Featured Speaker. Rachel has created or contributed to a number of books, articles and standards, including The Handbook of Test Security; ATP-NCTA Proctoring Best Practices; Guidelines for Technology-Based Assessment; CAS Testing Programs and Services Standards; and the Workforce Skills Credentialing Framework. She currently serves on the boards for the Consortium of Test Security (COTS) and the Credentialing Integrity Action Alliance (CIAA), which are focused on improving security, promoting academic integrity, and protecting the value of education and credentials. She co-chairs the NCTA-ATP Technical Working Group developing Standards and Best Practices for the Online Observation of Tests (publication pending) and also serves as chair of the NCTA Corporate Committee. She is a past member of the board for the Association of Test Publishers, conference chair and program chair for the Innovations in Testing Conference, and chair of ATP’s Workforce Skills Credentialing Division. Prior to founding Cornerstone, Rachel was Head of Test Security for ACT, Inc. where she significantly improved exam security, including a redesign of ACT’s security frameworks, implementation of new data forensics, developing ACT’s incident response and crisis communications planning, and incorporating new security technologies. Before joining ACT, she led the legal department for Bandag, Incorporated, a publicly traded company engaged in international franchising and manufacturing, where she provided advice concerning mergers and acquisitions, compliance, and intellectual property matters and assisted with crisis communications response; she later served as a corporate officer of, and counsel to, Bridgestone-Bandag, LLC. She is a community volunteer and currently serves as an appointed trustee for the Chariton Public Library. Rachel enjoys spending time with her family and traveling together to new locations, coaching youth volleyball and basketball, and reading just about anything she can get her hands on. She is grateful for the trusted relationships she has built throughout her education and career. Rachel is passionate about the importance of education and measurement, and the positive impact those industries can have on the lives of individuals, families, and communities.

Dr. James Sconing, PhD

Dr. James Sconing, PhD, is an experienced statistician with more than three decades of experience in the education and assessment industries. Over the course of his career, Jim has served as an advisor to high-stakes testing programs in k-12, admissions, and certification and licensure. Prior to joining Cornerstone, Jim served as the head of the Research Area at ACT, providing leadership to the Statistics and Survey departments and working directly with clients and ACT’s internal test security team on exam security matters. He has conducted extensive research in the area of measurement as it relates to student success, growth models, standard setting, and differential performance for underrepresented groups. Jim has developed new statistical methods for detecting fraud and served on investigative teams researching systemic exam security incidents. He has been a Featured Speaker at several industry conferences and events, including at the Association of Test Publishers (ATP) and the Conference on Test Security (COTS). He has also provided testimony as part of disputed actions involving exam security and score validity matters. As a former educator, he explains complex data and algorithms in clear and understandable terms. Jim enjoys deep sea fishing, attending Spring training baseball games, and solving math puzzles for fun. He believes in the value of standardized testing and its ability to provide relevant information to learners, educators, and employers.

Bill West, MBA, ICE-CCP

Bill West, MBA, ICE-CCP, is a senior market leader and Chief Credentialing Services Officer for Cornerstone Strategies. With more than twenty years of experience in the assessment industry, he brings his passion for developing trusted relationships and being an extension of clients’ missions to bear for Cornerstone clients. He supports testing organizations with expanding domestic and international markets, enhancing business development, developing holistic security solutions, selecting and implementing strategic partnerships, and identifying strategic delivery solutions. An experienced industry executive, Bill has launched and managed numerous national and global assessment programs across the higher education, U.S. federal government, local governments, corporate hiring and advancement, and professional credentialing sectors. The majority of his career has been spent in operational and sales roles for test administration and credential management organizations, and he has also served as a senior leader at an NCCA-accredited non-profit credentialing association. His roles have included customer service, program management, business development, operations, and strategy. Bill is an active contributor to the assessment industry. He currently serves on the National Advisory Board for the Credential As You Go (CAYG) initiative, is Vice Chair of the board of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE) (owner of the NCCA accreditation standard), and Chair of the Certification & Licensure division of the Association of Test Publishers (ATP). He is a past board member for ATP and for the Certification Network Group (CNG). He holds an MBA from Augsburg University, a B.A. in English and Religion from St. Olaf College, and achieved the Institute for Credentialing Excellence Certified Credentialing Professional (ICE-CCP) certification. Bill has deep roots in his local community and enjoys anything that involves spending time with his wife and kids, the brisk Minnesota winters, and sports of any kind. Trusted relationships are vital to him personally and professionally, which is one of the top reasons he loves the assessment industry and the people in it. Trust is built through integrity, competence, and doing what you say you will do.

Shari K. Lewison

Shari K. Lewison has nearly thirty years of experience in the protection of critical corporate and personal data. Shari has successfully designed and managed comprehensive information security programs that meet all relevant regulatory and contractual security requirements including HIPAA, PCI, FISMA, and NIST 800-171 for EdTech, higher education, health care, and non-profit entities. Prior to joining Cornerstone, Shari served as the Chief Information Security Officer for the University of Iowa and The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Before that, she was responsible for information security at ACT, where she developed significant expertise regarding critical asset protection for testing programs. She currently serves in similar roles for Cornerstone clients in need of her executive-level expertise and knowledge. Shari has provided webinars, workshops, and training to members of the higher education and assessment industries. She effectively guides institutions and organizations in enhancing technical and information security capabilities, policies and procedures as well as responding to incidents. Shari enjoys spending time with her family, creating art, and playing with her dogs, Luke and Leia. She takes seriously the trust that test takers place in institutions and testing programs when providing their data and understands how to help those organizations appropriately protect critical information.

Christopher Watkins

Christopher Watkins, is a strategic market advisor with over thirty years of combined experience in banking, insurance and economic development. His keen understanding of commercial opportunities and financial instruments has made him a trusted advisor for clients, who turn to him to help craft solutions that meet their unique needs. As an experienced champion for workforce skills and readiness, Christopher actively promotes collaboration between employers, K-12, and higher education. Through his work with the Lucas County Economic Development Corporation, he has authored grants and implemented several public/private partnerships in Iowa. His vision and leadership has secured funding for consortia to promote education for building trades, visual arts, and manufacturing skills in K-12 and Higher Ed. Christopher is a talented speaker, coach, and mentor, and taught for several years at the Iowa Bankers’ Agriculture Lending school. He is an active community volunteer, serving on the boards of the Lucas County Preservation Alliance, Iowa South Economic Development, and the Hotel Charitone, LLC, as well as serving as a past elected member of his local School Board and City Council for several years. He believes in the importance of education, training, and credentialing and works across the public and private sectors to enhance workforces skills. In his free time, Christopher enjoys traveling with his family, coaching youth sports, and being a grill master.

Craig N. Mills, Ed.D

Craig N. Mills, Ed.D, is a highly experienced measurement executive with over 40 years of experience in K-12, higher education, and certification and licensure assessment. He is President of Mills Strategy Partners LLC. As a strategic consultant and leadership coach, he draws on his executive experience and leadership on several successful innovative projects, including the development of the computer adaptive Graduate Record Examinations and the multi-stage US CPA Licensing Exam. Craig served as Senior Vice President, Solution Design and Delivery (SD&D) at the National Board of Medical Examiners. During his career, Craig has overseen every aspect of operations for testing programs, including test development and production, registration, test administration, exam security, psychometric analysis and research, and score reporting, as well as evaluated alternative assessments. Prior to joining the NBME, Craig was the Vice President of Research at McGraw Hill Education/CTB working in the K-12 assessment space. From 1998 to 2014 Craig held several key roles at the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) including Strategic Measurement Advisor and Vice President of Examinations and Continuing Professional Education. Craig was employed by Educational Testing Service (ETS) for almost 15 years before his tenure with the AICPA. He also worked at the Louisiana Department of Education early in his career. Craig received his doctorate from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. In recognition of his contributions to the industry, Craig received the 2022 Association of Test Publisher’s Lifetime Achievement Award. In his free time, Craig enjoys hiking with his wife, agility training with his dog, and sailing. He continues to move the industry forward and champions innovation, access, and equity in measurement.

Nicole Rhyne, CIA, CRMA

Nicole Rhyne, CIA, CRMA, is a highly skilled and experienced internal audit and risk management professional with a proven track record of identifying and mitigating risks and enhancing overall organizational performance. Her strong risk acumen has been instrumental in refining test security and exam development processes on a variety of special projects in the assessment industry. Prior to joining the team at Cornerstone, Nicole was Director of Exam Development and Security at The Institute of Internal Auditors (The IIA), where she managed the development and launch of the enhanced CRMA program, updating entry requirements and incorporating advanced item types. She also reformed The IIA’s exam security methodology by implementing processes to manage exam security risks and integrating additional data forensics. Before The IIA, Nicole was a senior internal auditor for the Lower Colorado River Authority. Her responsibilities there included analyzing complex data, identifying control weaknesses, and recommending effective business process improvements. Nicole has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Metropolitan State University of Denver, is a Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), and holds a Certification in Risk Management Assurance (CRMA). Her roles have made her a trusted advisor to senior leadership, and as such, Nicole believes that trusted relationships are key to partnership and collaboration – together we can accomplish exponentially more than any of us can do on our own. In her spare time, Nicole serves on the Advisory Council for Central Florida Kairos Outside Prison Ministry, and enjoys running, playing pickleball, and spending time with her husband and their dog.

Elizabeth D. Azari, JD

Elizabeth D. Azari, JD, is an experienced assessment industry professional with proven strategic, operational, and executive development experience. Elizabeth is President of Achieve! Executive Consulting, LLC (Achieve), a business transformation and leadership development enterprise that helps clients navigate through change to achieve their visions. Elizabeth collaborates with clients to create and fine-tune strategy, turn strategy into execution, and develop current and future executives. Her current clients include organizations and individuals in the education, healthcare, certification and licensure spaces. Prior to founding Achieve, Elizabeth served as Chief Operating Officer and Senior Vice President of Operations at the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) where she developed a deep appreciation for the benefit that assessments – done well – can bring to the public, to individuals and to their chosen fields. In the C-suite, she co-developed the organization’s strategy and inspired her talented teams to execute on it. She led enduring, enterprise level transformation work. Examples include: culture redefinition, creation of NBME’s risk management program, development of NBME’s process improvement system, and the introduction of new test administration delivery and support capabilities. As co-lead of NBME’s diversity, equity, and inclusion work, she partnered with colleagues to translate DEI principles into action across all of NBME’s functions with the goal of making meaningful and sustainable improvement. She mentored, sponsored and coached dozens of junior and senior employees, many of whom rose to leadership positions. Elizabeth is trained in the Co-Active Coaching method and currently coaches executives in a number of organizations. She is deeply committed to growing and nurturing leadership skills in others so they can more fully tap their power and potential in their personal and professional lives.

Donna McPartland, FIP, CIPM, CIPP/US

Donna McPartland, Fellow of Information Privacy (FIP), Certified Information Privacy Manager (CIPM), and Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/US) works closely with Cornerstone’s clients, including testing and credentialing programs, testing service providers, educational organizations, and EdTech providers to provide strategic and practical data privacy and cyber security guidance. As the former Chief Privacy Officer at the College Board and the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) (owner of the GMAT exam), Donna has extensive experience building in-house global privacy and security programs for testing and education organizations. Donna is actively involved in the testing, education and nonprofit industries and is currently the Co-Chair of the ATP International Privacy Subcommittee. As an experienced privacy practitioner with decades of in-house experience, she is a sought-after speaker at industry conferences. She is also a regular contributing author to the ATP Privacy in Practice Bulletins and a lead contributing author to various ATP Publications including AI and Testing-A Primer, Privacy Guidance When Using Video In The Testing Industry and the ATP EU General Data Protection Regulation Compliance Guide. Donna is a member of the Board of Directors of the Nonprofit Risk Management Center and serves on the Audit Committee. She also serves on the Advisory Board of the US-Ireland Alliance and has U.S. and Irish citizenship. Donna is committed to building trusted relationships with clients and promoting knowledge sharing and data privacy best practices in the testing and credentialing industry. Donna enjoys spending time with her family and dog, Astro, and traveling to Ireland and many other places.

Maria Elena Oliveri (Malena)

Maria Elena Oliveri (Malena) is a Research Associate Professor and Director of psychometric consulting at the Buros Center for Testing, University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her expertise is on assessing workplace-relevant competencies, educational measurement, fairness, validity, and culturally responsive assessment. She has over 100 publications and presentations on these topics with a focus on the design, development, and use of different types of assessment (e.g., assessment for learning, formative assessments). She has served in multiple leadership roles including the Chair for International Test Commission (ITC) Guidelines for the Fair and Valid Assessment of Linguistically Diverse Populations; ITC Technology-Based Assessment Guidelines (steering committee member); ITC Chair of Publications; and President: Learning Assistance Teachers Association. Malena is also an Advisory Board Member for various journals including the International Journal of Testing; Journal of Educational Measurement; NCME - Instructional Topics in Educational Measurement, Practical Assessment, Research, and Evaluation; and Applied Measurement in Education. She is also a technical advisor for the National Science Foundation (Defining Quantitative Literacy in Engineering), WestEd, Tyson Foods, The College Board, Oklahoma and Nebraska Department of Education; and Graduate student mentor for AERA, NCME, and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (Center for Measurement Justice). Malena enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, learning, and speaking different languages (e.g., Spanish, French, Italian). She is grateful for the trusted relationships she has built throughout her career including as a prior teacher, counselor, researcher, and psychometrician. Malena is passionate about assessment for learning and conducting research on workplace readiness and preparation, upskilling, measurement, and psychometrics.

Jarret M. Dyer, MBA

Jarret M. Dyer, MBA, is an experienced Test Center Administrator with nearly twenty years of higher ed and assessment industry experience. Much of his career has focused on standardizing proctoring and test administration as well as promoting academic integrity policies and processes. Jarret has worked with local, state, and national agencies to develop policies for test delivery and the mitigation of test fraud. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he was instrumental in assisting his institution in responding to the changing educational and assessment needs of faculty and students, including implementing live and automated remote proctoring. His research has focused on candidate attitudes on cheating and strategies that can positively influence behavior on local and national tests. He currently focuses on enhancing security during the candidate admission process. Jarret is a former President of the National College Testing Association (NCTA) and served as a member of the Executive Committee for nearly a decade. He has also served on a number of industry committees, including the ATP Test Content Infringement and Fraud (TCIF) Security Subcommittee, the NCTA Proctor Certification Steering and Academic Integrity Committees as well as College of DuPage’s Academic Integrity Committee and its AI Community of Practice. Jarret has created or contributed to a number of books, articles and standards, including ATP-NCTA Proctoring Best Practices; Workforce Skills Credentialing Framework, and serves as joint manager of the Standards and Best Practices for the Online Observations of Tests. He regularly is asked to present as a keynote or featured speaker at both national and international conferences including NCTA, ATP, European-ATP, Conference on Test Security, European Network for Academic Integrity, and the Academic Integrity and Responsible Conduct of Research Conference. Jarret is passionate about education and measurement and the positive difference they make in the lives of learners, employees, employers, and their families. His recent chapter in the Handbook of Academic Integrity: Framework for Ethical Implementation of Remote Proctoring in Education reflects this commitment by outlining the necessary steps higher education institutions should follow to mindfully integrate remote proctoring ethically, with both students and faculty in mind. He is thankful for the trusted relationships the industry has helped him cultivate over the years and the power of assessment to shape and change our society. Jarret enjoys cooking for family and friends, meeting new people, and traveling with his wife and children.

Michael T. Clifton, J.D.

Michael T. Clifton, J.D., has nearly twenty years of experience in the assessment industry. An experienced exam security professional, he has provided guidance to testing programs addressing a variety of testing issues, including intellectual property protection, international expansion, contract cheating services, and proxy testing. He has conducted hundreds of exam security investigations and managed multiple large scale investigations involving domestic and international fraud. Michael has defended the actions of testing programs as they relate to score validity decisions and has significant experience with the various laws impacting the testing industry around the globe. Prior to joining Cornerstone, Michael led critical assessment functions at ACT, Inc., including test administration, test accommodations eligibility, test security, and legal, where he served as General Counsel for ACT. Michael has significant experience managing testing programs from each of these functional perspectives. He was also instrumental in the expansion of the ACT to online test delivery. An experienced executive, Michael is practical and detail oriented, and adept at finding meaningful and workable solutions to complex problems. As a respected voice in the industry, Michael regularly delivers presentations at assessment related conferences. He authored the 2019 ATP Security Survey Report and is past Chair of the ATP Security Committee. Michael earned his J.D. with Distinction from the University of Iowa College of Law and maintains an active law practice for Cornerstone's clients seeking legal advice. Michael enjoys spending time with his family, exercising, and creating music.

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