Yvette Leverett was born to serve.
“My greatest strength has been being of service to others,” said Leverett, the director for University Testing Services. “Being in management has boosted my career, but in terms of my passion, serving others just comes naturally.”
Leverett is from St. Petersburg, Florida. She got her degrees in sociology, which led to her working for the Boley Centers’ for Behavioral Health, Inc. and the Department of Family and Children Services. Her husband, Jack, is from Augusta and wanted to move closer to his family, which led her to UGA.
At Boley, Leverett was the director for the community services program. Her background helped her with management skills, including supervising, running a program and balancing a budget.
“I have the opportunity to collaborate with folks from all different backgrounds who bring a wealth of knowledge to the services that we provide here at UGA,” she said.
University Testing Services administers multiple tests for all academic levels, including the Graduate Records Examination, the Test of English as a Foreign Language, Terry College’s admission exams and placement testing for incoming freshmen. It has 45 computer workstations and a Prometric Testing Lab, a national testing provider.
“My role is to make sure, first and foremost, that we provide the best customer service that we can to our customers,” she said.
As the director and part of the leadership team for the Division of Student Affairs, Leverett spends most of her day working on deadline to complete various projects and reports. The best part of her job, she said, is the staff.
“No matter what’s going on in our department, no matter how busy we are, how stressed we can become, the staff are always smiling, and they take everything in stride,” she said. “I like to empower them to be the best they can be. I encourage them to continue building their own skills and taking advantage of all of the professional development that meets their interests here at UGA through Training and Development.
“I don’t like to be referred to as a boss,” Leverett also said.“ My staff and I are colleagues. I see my role as helping them reach their full potential, wherever that may be and however they see that happening.”
University Testing Services is bound to the biometrics and rules set forth by exam boards, which can include taking thumbprints, checking IDs, emptying pockets or pulling up pant legs. All tests also are monitored by camera. If the staff see someone breaking the rules, they have to report it. Leverett said this can be one of the most difficult parts of her job, as passing an exam is critical to all students.
“Students get really anxious, and we understand that. It’s difficult because some students become emotional, and we have to remain professional,” she said. “We want all of our students to succeed. We want them all to pass these exams so they can move forward with whatever it is that they need or want to do.”
Although Leverett has worked at UGA for nearly 11 years, her career includes nine jobs over 36 years. Her short-term plans for the future include two options: continue working or retire in a couple years and pursue a new interest.
“I will always want to do something as long as I can to keep my mind fresh and continue to learn,” she said. “When the time comes, I won’t retire from
living. I want to live even more. I want to be able to tell someone, ‘I love the life that I’m living, and I am living my life to the fullest.’ ”