Meet the Team
UCLA’s National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST) is known for its expertise in assessment design, evaluation, implementation, scoring, and standards.
Dr. Li Cai is a Professor of Education and Psychology in the Advanced Quantitative Methodology program within the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies. He also serves as Director of the National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST). In addition, he is affiliated with the UCLA Department of Psychology in the quantitative area. His research agenda involves the development, integration, and evaluation of innovative latent variable models that have wide-ranging applications in assessment research in educational, psychological, and health-related domains of study. Dr. Cai is a native speaker of Chinese and has a beginning level of French.
Cathryn “Cat” Still is the Executive Director of ELPA21, an English language proficiency assessment system supported by member states and housed at CRESST. Cat also serves as CRESST’s Program Director for the Iowa CAAELP Project. Prior to joining the team at CRESST, Cat worked as Program Director for ELPA21 at the Council of Chief State School Officers, leading the development of the ELPA21 assessment. Cat brings strong expertise in assessment and system design, partnership development, organizational management, operations, and contract management, as well as years of experience building new programs, developing and executing strategic plans, and identifying and deepening operational efficiencies.
Outreach and Communications Director
Kara Schlosser is the Director of Communications for the CAAELP project and ELPA21. Kara has a Master of Arts in Education, Secondary Curriculum and Instruction, from New Mexico State University. Kara for the last 8 years has owned a consulting firm; ELPA21 is one of her original clients. Kara’s professional experience includes classroom and post-secondary educator, and nonprofit, academic, and for-profit communications. As communications director for ELPA21, Kara oversees both internal and external communications, marketing, and outreach. Kara is an intermediate Spanish speaker.
Professional Learning Expert
Dr. Jobi Lawrence has over 20 years of experience working with English learners and at-risk populations through program administration, evaluation, and implementation with educators across the state of Iowa and nationwide. Located in Des Moines, Iowa, she leads the work at the National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition (NCELA). Prior to joining the NCELA team, she served as the Director of Title III and Education Program Consultant for the Iowa Department of Education. She is also the Chief Executive officer, Senior Consultant, and Grant Writer for Kids Count and Read Too (KCR2) Educational Consulting.
Hamida Askaryar is a Project Manager at the National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST) — currently overseeing the Collaborative for the Alternate Assessment of English Language Proficiency (CAAELP) project. In her leadership role, she ensures that the project is managed and clients are served with integrity and high quality. She has over 10 years of experience in project management, dental public health, child/maternal health, and chronic disease prevention. She is a Registered Dental Hygienist, a Master Certified Health Education Specialist, and holds an MPH from California State University Northridge.
Eric Shekoufeh is a Program Representative for the CAAELP project. He provides support to project managers and research staff on a broad range of initiatives, with a focus on communications and publishing. Prior to joining CRESST, Eric worked in the publishing industry, where he served as a copy editor and contract coordinator. Eric received his Bachelor of Arts degree in English from UCLA. He is an intermediate Spanish speaker.
Contribute to the CAAELP Mission
Educators are making a positive impact on the project and its local influence by joining their state’s CAAELP Community of Practice.
By participating in a Community of Practice, educators have the opportunity to learn with others and make meaningful contributions to the work of the project, serving as an ambassador for CAAELP and our new Alternate English language proficiency assessment.