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Senior Leadership

Robert Mahlman – Director of CETE

Robert (Bob) Mahlman is the current director of CETE and has worked for CETE since 1995. Bob is responsible for projects involving assessment, program evaluation, educational resource materials, and standards development as well as job analysis and professional development offerings. His work focuses on the areas of occupational knowledge and skills assessment for technical and vocational education and training, occupational certification, and personnel selection and placement testing for business, industry, and government agencies. His other projects center on the creation of technical skill standards and educational program evaluations. Bob received his master’s degree in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from The Ohio State University.

Bob previously served as an evaluation specialist and technical preparation program coordinator at a community college and as director of Assessment and Evaluation Services at CETE. Using his skills in organizational leadership, project planning and project management, program accreditation, research design, data analysis, psychometrics, and statistical analysis, he has directed assessment, evaluation, and standards development projects for various U.S. state departments of education, state and municipal government agencies, private industry, and various credentialing or certification agencies.

Bob has served as the International Vocational Education and Training Association’s (IVETA’s) vice president for North America since 2010. He also serves on the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Personnel Certification Accreditation Committee (PCAC). The committee’s role is to accredit programs against the ISO/IEC 17024 Standard for bodies operating certifications of persons. He chairs the ANSI-IREC Program Accreditation Committee that accredits certificate programs in the renewable energy and energy efficiency fields. In 2014, Bob was nominated chair of the Great Lakes Area Employment Assessment Network, an affiliate of the International Personnel Assessment Council.

Traci Lepicki – Associate Director of CETE

Traci Lepicki, associate director of CETE, serves as senior leadership for the center and directs various projects aligned to CETE’s mission to conduct and translate research into high quality, customized solutions for education, workforce, and community development needs. Traci received a Master of Arts degree from the University of Toledo. She has 17 years of experience in educational research, developing and evaluating programs, training faculty, and disseminating best practices. Leveraging her expertise in project management, needs assessment, program evaluation, standards-based education, curriculum design, staff development, and adult education, she currently leads the Ohio Adult Basic and Literacy Education (ABLE) Professional Development Network (PDN), responding to emerging priorities through evidence-based, effective professional development that builds a culture of sustained learning for ABLE professionals. Traci is a member of the Ohio Program Evaluators’ Group (OPEG), the Ohio Association for Adult and Continuing Education (OAACE), and the Commission on Adult Basic Education (COABE).

James T. Austin, PhD – Director of Assessment Services

James (Jim) T. Austin, PhD, an industrial-organizational psychologist with over 1,700 citations to his published work, has been a CETE staff member since 1997. In his position as director of Assessment Services, he manages a staff of 10–12 individuals involved in multiple funded projects focusing on test design, development, and delivery. The unit offers a range of services to clients from certification, public-private sector businesses, and education. Jim is also responsible for creating and offering professional development workshops, identifying and writing proposals for new resources, and ensuring customer satisfaction. Jim graduated from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) in 1987. He has received the Omicron Tau Theta (Eta Chapter) Best Journal Article Award (2000) and the Buros Institute of Mental Measurements’ Distinguished Reviewer Award (2008). Jim has reviewed academic journals and published over 10 reviews in the Mental Measurements Yearbook since 1984.

Barbara Boone, PhD – Program Director

As a program director at CETE, Barbara Boone specializes in family, school, and community partnerships and program evaluation. Her current projects focus on building the capacity of school personnel and other professionals to more effectively engage in collaborations with families and supporting program evaluation for state and local initiatives. Barbara’s past experiences as a director at the Ohio Department of Education, education consultant, program evaluator, college instructor, parent educator, and early childhood educator allow her to leverage skills and understanding from multiple perspectives. She has 25 years of experience in education; family engagement; learning supports; developing, managing, and evaluating programs; and creating and delivering training for professionals and parents. Barbara received a BS from Michigan State University, a MS from the University of Kentucky, and a PhD from The Ohio State University.

David A. Julian, PhD – Program Director

David (Dave) A. Julian received his BA in Psychology from Miami University, a Master of City and Regional Planning degree from The Ohio State University, and a PhD in Community Psychology from Michigan State University. With more than 20 years of experience in program design, implementation, and evaluation, his areas of specialization include health and human services planning, program evaluation, and community organization. From 1992 until 2001, Dave was the director of Evaluation and Research at the United Way in Franklin County, Ohio. During his tenure, he was instrumental in developing and implementing a comprehensive system for defining and measuring program level outcomes. At The Ohio State University, Dave has held half-time appointments with the Center for Learning Excellence and the School of Public Health, where he taught program evaluation. Currently as CETE’s director of Community Planning and Evaluation, he works on building local capacity to plan, implement, and evaluate evidence-based health and human services programs.

John Moser – Program Director


John R. Moser earned a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from The Ohio State University. His past experiences as a human resources manager, employee relations manager, training and development director, and business owner provided him with knowledge and skills in needs analysis, program design and implementation, group processes and facilitation, analytics, leadership, interpersonal relationships, training, and communication. John uses his expertise and talents as CETE’s associate program director for DACUM and Systematic Curriculum and Instructional Development (SCID). He holds several professional certifications and association memberships. A certified DACUM (Level 3) and SCID facilitator, he is also a member of the Society of Human Resource Professionals (SHRM) and the Central Ohio Chapter of the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD), both of which focus on workplace learning and performance.

Rebecca A. Parker – Senior Project Manager

Rebecca (Becky) A. Parker currently serves as co-principal investigator (PI) and senior project manager for Mobilizing National Educator Talent (mNET) and as co-PI on the Automated Materials Joining Technologies (AMJT) curriculum project. She received a bachelor's degree in Vocational Family and Consumer Sciences Education and a master’s degree in Vocational Technical Studies from The Ohio State University.

Becky has been with CETE since 1998, serving in multiple roles that focus on education and professional development for teachers and administrators, curriculum design, educator leadership, and technology tools for the enhancement and support of teacher and leader growth. She has contributed ideas and writing expertise to many grant opportunities, which have resulted in more than $15 million in awards. Previously, Becky taught secondary early childhood education at a career center and mentored and coached new CTE teachers in Ohio’s alternative licensure program.

With more than 20 years in career and technical education (CTE) at the local, state, and national levels, Becky served as assistant director of the Professional Development Academy for the National Dissemination Center for CTE and played a key role in the National Leadership Institute. She has also received numerous state awards for leadership in CTE and has contributed to multiple research projects and papers as a result of her work at The Ohio State University.

Melissa Ross, PsyD – Program Director

Melissa Ross serves as the director of Family and Community Engagement and a member of the evaluation team at CETE. She is a licensed psychologist and received her doctoral degree at the Wright State University School of Professional Psychology. Melissa has more than 10 years of experience in project management and has served as the lead project manager for a variety of capacity building and evaluation programs for CETE, where she managed a large-scale, multicounty professional development and coaching effort called Partnerships for Success. Designed to increase the capacity of state and community organizations to collaboratively achieve priority youth and family outcomes, the project served more than 50 partnerships across the state of Ohio. Prior to CETE, Melissa worked for the Ohio Department of Youth Services (ODYS) as deputy superintendent of programs with oversight of all social, health, education, religious, and recreational programming for a 240-bed correctional institution that served young people ages 12–21.