If there's one characteristic that all of us in the adult education field possess, it's our desire to make a difference. We know that every day that we go into the "office," we have an opportunity to change someone's life for the better.
On July 1, those of us you have elected to the COABE board know that we have the ability to change—for the better— the adult education profession. Armed with a new strategic plan shaped by the membership, we're taking steps to address professional development and to position our organization to be the leading voice on behalf of our learners, teachers, and practitioners.
Already, the board has hired its first executive director, Sharon Bonney, who has worked alongside us for many years. Now we are giving her the tools to help the organization succeed by addressing the four key components of the plan: advocacy, developing the profession, providing leadership, and implementing operational changes. We have also promoted Michelle Chiles to the Office Manager position and have brought in additional infrastructure and design support staff.
I'm honored to become president of the organization, but I can assure you that our success will be built on the membership's collective efforts. We are committed to raise the level of public discourse on our issues and to bring substantive improvements to the profession.
You can help on many levels. Most importantly, I encourage you to submit an application for our talent bank, which will allow for others in the field to benefit from your expertise and experience. Just as learners benefit from our skills and passion, our field becomes stronger when we can learn from one another.
Like many of you, I entered adult education simply by raising my hand 29 years ago. I've been involved in four different programs in Maine and am humbled at how they have grown. I'm thrilled by the opportunity to work on behalf of our profession and membership on this national scale, but I need your involvement and suggestions along the way to build on this momentum that we've been able to craft together.
Thank you for your faith, support, and contributions to this organization, and for making a difference in the lives of tens of thousands of Americans each and every day.
In closing, I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our exiting elected board members for their meaningful contributions in over many years: Jackie Taylor, Renae Harrison, Nancie Payne, and Regina Suitt as well as our appointed positions: Federico Salas Isnardi, Marilyn Schmidt,Kathi Medcalf, and Nell Eckersley. Please join me in welcoming our elected incoming board members: Kaye Sharbono, President-Elect; Don Finn, Secretary; Rhea Watson, Region 7 Representative, and Branka Marceta, Region 8 Representative. On behalf of our board, we are looking forward to serving you and appreciate your membership in our organization.