A.C.E. Senior Management
President & CEO
David Woodward is the President & CEO of Associates in Cultural Exchange* (A.C.E.), which he first joined in 1980. He has 33 years of professional international experience, including 23 years of senior management roles, in international business management, consultancy, and educational exchange programs and services involving clients from all major world markets. He became President and CEO of A.C.E. in 1998.
Woodward was born in Teheran, Iran, and spent his early youth in Southern Iran. He received a National Resource Fellowship in Near Eastern Languages and Civilization while at the University of Washington, and taught English as a foreign language at Kuwait University (1982-83). He has led in the establishment of a master's degree program in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, has taught a 5-credit course on Modern Middle East History, and has presented extensively in forums and conferences on Middle East issues, Islam, cross-cultural communication, language education, and international program administration. Woodward holds four degrees from the University of Washington including a Master of Education in Higher Education with a specialization in Teaching English as a Second Language, a Master of Arts in Near Eastern Languages and Civilization, a Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics, and a Bachelor of Arts in History. In 2011 he was named an Honorary Professor of Management by Turar Ryskulov Kazakh Economic University, Almaty, The Republic of Kazakhstan.
Woodward has led A.C.E. in the development of various business startups and educational projects involving small businesses, universities, corporations, and government agencies within the U.S. and in peer regions of the world. Clients Woodward has worked with include the Ministry of Education of Korea, the Japanese Ministry of Education (MEXT), the Yemeni Ministry of Oil and Mineral Resources, Samsung Corporation, World Learning, AMIDEAST, Academy for Educational Development, Kuwait University, Boeing, Microsoft, USAID, EPA, Japan-U.S. Exchange Commission and the University of Washington. He has established contracts for services, branch offices and representative service arrangements with client organizations in Oman, Kazakhstan, Russia, Switzerland, Japan, Korea, Australia, and six U.S. states, as well as managing for-profit and not-for-profit subsidiaries and spin-offs. Core activities have included managing personnel in over locations across the Pacific Northwest, marketing internationally, organizational development, and setting up strategic relationships worldwide. He has led in the formation of several key international marketing consortia, and collaborative initiatives across professional disciplines. Woodward has also provided recruiting, consulting and liaison services for the UAE Academy (Abu Dhabi), Sultan Qaboos University (Muscat), Goodman Real Estate (Seattle), and Quality Schools International (Ljubljana).
Woodward is fluent in Arabic, Persian, and French and has studied Hebrew and Greek. He is a member of the U.S. Secretary of Commerce-appointed District Export Council for Washington State, the Seattle Rotary Club, the Advisory Board of the Trade Development Alliance of the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce, the Persian Studies Advisory Board at the University of Washington, the Global Business Advisory Board of Seattle University's Albers School of Business and Economics, the Middle East Interest Group of NAFSA: Association of International Educators, and a member of the Taproot Theatre Advisory Board.
*American Cultural Exchange, a 501(c)3 founded in Seattle in 1973
Anthony L. Fantham
Chief of Operations
Anthony Fantham is the Chief Operations Officer of Associates in Cultural Exchange* (A.C.E.). He has 37 years of professional international experience, including 14 years of senior management roles, in international business management, and corporate technical and administrative programs and services involving clients from all business sectors. He became COO of A.C.E. in 2009.
Fantham was born and raised in London, England, and in 1972 joined British Telecom via their 3-year apprenticeship program which included attendance at Merton Technical College in Surrey. During training he was awarded certificates of merit each year for "Outstanding Field and College Results." Fantham was promoted to Technical Officer on completion and remained with British Telecom until 1980.
Fantham joined MCI Telecommunications in 1986. He quickly moved up the ranks from a Technical Consultant to Manager to Senior Manager of Operations where he was responsible for all facilities in Washington, Oregon, Northern California and interconnects with Alaska. His last assignment at MCI was a direct report to the President of Call Center Services as the Senior Business Manager. He was responsible for all aspects of this market segment, including: strategic and budget planning, vendor evaluation and coordination with Human Resources. Fantham also served for many years as an advisory board member with the University of Washington Data Communication certificate program.
Whilst earning a coaching license in 1979 from the Football Association in England, Fantham was recruited to play soccer at the University of Illinois, Springfield. He played three years of college soccer and earned a BA and MA in Communication and in 1984 wrote his thesis on "The Development of Direct Broadcast Satellites in the United States."
In 1999 Fantham took the opportunity to leave the corporate world for a period of time in order to spend more time with his wife and two young sons and volunteer in their schools as well as to follow up his keen interest in coaching soccer. Fantham became the Head Coach of girls' soccer at Ballard High School, Seattle in 2000 and moved to the Head Coaching position for both boys and girls' soccer at Ingraham High School, Seattle beginning in 2002. He is passionate about soccer and believes that the game teaches many of life's important lessons. He continually strives to apply the 'teaching moments' soccer provides to his players, coaches and parents, by doing so giving back to soccer the wonderful opportunities it has given him. Tony is also a soccer referee and has continued to play on competitive teams since leaving college.
Since 2006 Fantham has also provided consulting services, working closely with architects, clients, employees and the business owner to increase revenue and productivity.
Fantham has been married to his wife, Rosemarie, for over 25 years. Both of their sons are Eagle Scouts, and both are attending the University of Washington in the Foster School of Business.
Chief Financial Officer
Colette Mercier has over 30 years of experience, primarily in nonprofit accounting, as finance director, controller, CFO, and consultant, in organizations of varying size and mission. Her work has included nonprofit administration, human resources, coordination between development and finance departments, and restoring fiscal order in troubled organizations.
Colette has worked with A.C.E. as a finance consultant since March 2003, joining our staff in September 2009. She also serves as Finance Director of The Collins Group, Inc., a Seattle firm providing fundraising management consultation to Northwest nonprofits.
Colette received her B.A. Degree in Social Studies Field Major from U.C. Berkeley, and completed Ph.D. coursework in Sociology and Anthropology at the City University of New York. She is a licensed minister within Centers for Spiritual Living, and Co-Founding Minister of Amazing Grace Spiritual Center, meeting in Seattle's South Lake Union District.
Her personal mission is to promote fiscal/administrative integrity and transparency as the bedrock upon which an organization's mission can be securely grounded.
Vice President for Program Development
Paul is responsible for oversight of and support for the A.C.E. Language Institute management team, institute operations and student recruitment. Paul's entire career has been dedicated to international education. From beginning as an ESL instructor in Taiwan in 1982 to opening training programs in Taiwan, China and Vietnam to directing schools and projects around the world, Paul's goal has been to improve educational opportunities for foreign students and to help American institutions source qualified international student applicants. In addition, he has helped develop contract programs for industry training in aviation, business and the nursing/medical fields.
Paul has administered Intensive English programs in China, Taiwan, Vietnam, New York and Seattle over the past thirty years. Additionally, he has designed and implemented teacher-training programs both internationally and domestically. Paul took an active leadership role in developing the Intensive English Program at Saint Francis University and looks forward to developing new initiatives going forward.
Assistant Vice President
Sally Thomas is the Assistant Vice President, responsible for oversight of and support for A.C.E. Language Institute instructional program development and program accreditation, as well as Group Program management. She began in 2007 as the Director of the A.C.E. Language Institute at SPU and became Senior Director in 2012. Sally served as a senior teacher trainer in St. Petersburg, Russia from 2005-2007 with the U.S. State Department's English Language Fellow program. Prior to this role, Sally worked with the Seattle Public Schools as an ESL teacher and was the Associate Director of the Language Institute for Refugees and Immigrants from 1999-2005. Since 1992, Sally has taught English and basic skills in public and private schools to students of all ages and backgrounds including two years on the tiny island of Guam and three years in Russia. Sally holds a master's degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from Seattle University and has a B.A. in education and a Washington State teaching certificate which she earned through Northwest University in Kirkland, WA. Sally has traveled extensively throughout the world and is proud of being a first generation Norwegian.
Director of Enrollment Services
Shirley has directed Enrollment Services at A.C.E. since 2006. During her tenure as Director of Enrollment Services she has been instrumental in the systematization of admissions and in providing DHS training to all of the A.C.E. Language Institutes as PDSO (Primary Designated School Official).
Prior to working at A.C.E. Shirley spent 7 years living in Europe and the Near East. While in the Near East, Shirley worked as the supervisor of a foodbank in Israel-Palestine. She received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Washington in International Studies with a concentration in Middle East Studies.
Shirley thoroughly enjoys working with the diverse and talented staff and students at A.C.E.
Director of Marketing
Lori joins A.C.E. after serving as Director of Marketing & Communications at ISEP in Washington, D.C. Her expertise focuses on developing and implementing strategic plans for international education marketing. She helps to consolidate marketing and branding efforts to create a more professional, cohesive, and appealing visual style. Lori has lived in England three times for undergraduate study abroad, short-term work experience, and postgraduate study. She received an M.A. in Intercultural Communication and International Business at the University of Surrey. Lori is passionate about creating opportunities for students to have life transformative intercultural experiences.
Director of the A.C.E. Language Institute at Seattle Pacific University
Tim is originally from Buffalo, New York. He has a B.A. in Russian/ Soviet Studies and a M.A. TESOL. He has been teaching at A.C.E. since 2003. Tim lived and worked in Russia for two years and is proficient in Russian.
Director of the A.C.E. Language Institute at Montana State University
Mary moved back to Montana in 2008 from a few years abroad (Mozambique) and is completing an Ed.D. with an emphasis in Adult and Higher Education at Montana State University. She has an MA in Intercultural Communication and a BA in History and Spanish Language. Her teaching background includes working in EFL overseas (South Korea) and ESL/Second Language Writing in New Mexico. While in Mozambique, she worked as an Education Specialist on a USDOL grant to eliminate exploitative child labor. She enjoys traveling, but also being at home in the beautiful Gallatin Valley to enjoy the Montana outdoors!
Interim Director of the A.C.E. Language Institute at the University of Rhode Island
Although Sarah was born in Statesboro, Georgia, she grew up and attended college in Rhode Island. Her love of traveling and learning about different cultures began when she studied abroad at the University of Glasgow, Scotland and was further developed on her travels to France, Ireland, England, Italy, the Azores, Aruba, and Brazil. She began her career in education in 1997 and has been teaching ESL since 2009. She earned her Master of Arts degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from The New School in New York. Sarah enjoys using a variety of activities in her ESL classes in order to make sure her students are engaged in English in a fun and meaningful way. When she is not teaching, she enjoys gardening, running, reading, and spending time with her family.