Introducing Michelle Potenberg

Michelle Potenberg is the brains and brawn that keeps Academy Exams thriving. A native to central Illinois, Potenberg grew up on a farm some 20 miles south of Champaign, IL. Michelle serves as the Director of Academy Exams.

In her position, Potenberg is required to wear many hats. “I schedule and coordinate all the details around our exam events. This can include securing locations and proctors, assisting with registration, creating and mailing the exam packets, scoring exams, and sending results and documentation.” Although these tasks consume a great deal of time, she sees providing counsel to the apprehensive, a role she’s uniquely positioned to fill as she holds a MSW from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “While our process is fairly straight-forward and easy to use, the certification process itself makes some people anxious; it's part of my job to help the flow of registration go as stress-free as possible.”

Though Potenberg is now the engine behind Academy Exams, her arrival and continued work at the Academy was serendipitous, to put it lightly. ”Through mutual acquaintances, I was asked if I'd like to help out [temporarily at the Academy]. It worked perfectly for me, timing wise...During the few weeks I was filling in, a new project came in: a big stack of possible exam questions which needed to be edited and entered into a database. The project became my focus, and soon it grew into a part-time and eventually a full-time position as the Director of Academy Exams.” 

A woman on the go, Potenberg is an avid workout enthusiast, serving as a personal trainer and proprietor of a women’s fitness boot camp. When asked to compare a good workout with a good day at work, Potenberg responded: 

When I have a good day at the gym, my training partner and I meet and get the good playlist running. We get a good warm up in, feel ready to go, and we get to our lifts. As we work, we talk and laugh between sets, and moving up in weight over the sets, the bar feels light. On my last set, my training partner counts off my reps, watching my form, and I hit extra reps looking strong. That's when I feel really strong and I know a new PR (personal record) is right around the corner! 

When I have a good day at work, it's similar! A good cup of coffee (or three) is my warm up and helps me feel ready to take on the day. I fire up Pandora on my laptop, and though it's not the same music as my gym playlist, it still helps move me along as I work through the emails and voice mails, taking care of whatever issues or challenges come up. My co-workers definitely spot me--we have a good team in the office, and we back each other up! As the day winds down, I feel like I've accomplished something, and it's a good feeling. I'm ready to take on the next challenge.

Potenberg is quite excited about the growth that is occurring with Academy Exams, including a redesign of the website and a general streamlining of processes to better serve test-takers and the industry. With these changes in mind, Potenberg explains proudly, “I feel like it's going to be a great step forward.”