COABE 2019 Elections
Congratulations to COABE’s Newest Board Members
Jody has served in adult education for over 27 years and is currently the Staff Training & Development Coordinator for the Ohio Professional Development Network, at The Ohio State University and a national trainer for LINCS and World Education, Inc. She has worked as a reading specialist, instructor, coordinator and program director in the context of correctional education, ABE/GED®, workplace education, volunteer literacy, vocational evaluation & assessment and professional development. She has served on various boards, committees, and task forces at the local, regional, state, and national levels supporting adult education and community services. Currently, Jody provides program support and training in the areas of career awareness/pathways, leadership, program management, instructional strategies, and assessment.
Jody is currently serving on the Coalition on Adult Basic Education's (COABE) national board, as the Vice President for Membership. She also serves as the Advocacy Chair for the Ohio Association for Adult and Continuing Education (OAACE) state board. Previously, as the Director of the NW Ohio ABLE Resource center, Jody provided oversight for the National Career Awareness Project in Ohio, as well as statewide training and support to the field in the areas of assessment, leadership, and transitions. Jody holds a B.S. in elementary education with a minor in psychology, from the University of Toledo, and an M.Ed. in education administration and supervision from Bowling Green State University.
Jeff Arnott is the current Director of Adult Education for Brevard Public Schools. He worked as a K-12 teacher and administrator from 1991-2008. Following a major scandal that broke out in the Florida Keys involving the district's adult education department, Jeff volunteered to go in and get the program back on track. He took what was one of the worst programs in the state and turned it into a model for the nation. In addition, he was the principal of the alternative school.
In 2012, Jeff moved to Brevard County to lead the 6th largest adult education program in Florida! Since coming on board, Jeff has revamped the curriculum, expanded their offerings, strengthened their partnerships, and has grown their adult high school program to the 2nd largest in the state. In addition to having the largest social media following in the USA,
Jeff was named Florida's Adult Education Administrator of the Year for 2015 and CareerSource Florida Partner of the Year for 2016. He was elected by his peers to represent the southeast USA (Region 3) for the Coalition on Adult Basic Education (COABE), an organization that advocates for 55,000 adult educators from around the world. In his free time, he enjoys traveling. In addition, he is working on his doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania.
Shaketta D. Thomas is currently the Testing Director for the Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC). Ms. Thomas completed her bachelor's degree in accounting from Virginia State University, a master's in adult education from Regent University, and is presently pursuing a Ph.D. in educational psychology, also at Regent University. She is an active member of the Virginia Adult Association of Adult and Continuing Education where she serves as the Secretary on the Board. She is also a member of Correctional Education Association and an active participant in GEDTS® Corrections Forum and the Virginia Special Education Advisory Board.
Ms. Thomas is passionate about adult education and advocating for the needs of her students within correctional education. This advocacy extends beyond the inmates' period of incarceration and into their functional needs upon reentering into society. She collaborates with adult education centers across the Commonwealth of Virginia to ensure that students continue to receive services upon release. As a trained Dialogue Practitioner, Ms. Thomas understands the importance of using one's voice to create healing and effective change. She is always looking to engage herself in the latest challenges of adult education with hopes of advancing the individual and group difficulties that impact the field.
Michael's combined experience includes 7 years with CPS as a high school teacher and an additional 20 years as an adult education teacher and administrator. He taught 5 subjects in ABE/GED® instruction, all levels of ESL, and was an administrator at Adult Education Community Center. He is currently in his 18th year at Albany Park Community Center where he is Senior Director of Adult Education Employment and Training Programs managing over 30 staff members and 12 volunteers and interns, including professional teachers, program managers, programs coordinators, programs assistants, employment specialists, job recruiters, and support staff yearly. He coordinates and ensures quality for 22 on-site and off-site adult education classes (ESL, ABE, ASE, Healthcare Bridge, Childcare Bridge). He coordinates and ensures the quality of 6 different city, state, and federal job placement and training programs. He coordinates, supervises, and ensures the quality of the Volunteer Tutoring and Citizenship programs. He supervises and supports 4 sites running programs and services. He has successfully written, awarded, and managed grants generating over $1,000,000 in funding annually. For over 16 years, he has trained tutors, presenting workshops in math, writing, and ABE/GED® instruction for Literacy Works. He has worked as project consultant for the Chicago Citywide Literacy Coalition on a technology pilot program, consulting 6 citywide programs. He is currently on the Joint Advisory Council for the Illinois Community College Board. He is also currently on the IACEA Board (The Voice of Adult Education in Illinois State Adult Education Advocate) as the Senior Director of Region 1 in Illinois. He was a Sprint Leader for the Illinois Digital Learning Lab group, where statewide technology integration was increased in adult education. He coordinates and participates in the annual Illinois State Legislative Awareness Day.
Michael helped develop the Illinois common core standards for language arts and created APCC's ABE Curriculum based on these standards. He is a certified ABE/ASE Adult Education Standards Specialist in Mathematics and certified English as a Second Language Standards Proficient Instructor. He has been presenting at conferences nationally and in Illinois since 2007. His activity ideas for teaching math, financial literacy, job readiness, science, technology, and social studies for both ABE and ESL are in use by many instructors and administrators throughout the U.S. He keeps a Google Docs account where he has shared his ideas with over five hundred instructors throughout the country. He has presented on LINCS. He has presented 50+ times at conferences and educational events, ten of these for the COABE national conference. His article, "From A Site Supervisor's Desk, Time to Think About Success," was published in the book, In the Field - A Field Experience Manual for Internship and Service Learning Students by Lisa Hollis-Sawyer, Ph.D.
Olga M. Escamilla has worked in adult education since 1994. She began her career in adult education as a teacher's aide and progressively moved to GED® instructor, ABE supervisor, and in 2004 she served as the administrator of the South Central GREAT (Getting Results Educating Adults in Texas) Center for professional development. She provided coordination of regional and state-wide professional development in adult education for 10 years. She engaged in extensive collaboration with internal and external partners in the development and delivery of research-based professional development activities. As a coordinator of the professional development grant, and based on her gained knowledge though prior classroom experience, she knew that assisting individuals with varying backgrounds, experiences, and learning difficulties was very important. Since January of 2010, Olga has been serving as a senior lecturer for the Department of Educational Leadership and Counseling at Texas A&M University-Kingsville. Dr. Escamilla has served as professional development specialist at Texas A&M University-College Station since 2016.
From 2004-2005 Olga served as a chairperson on the COABE/TALAE conference committee and again collaborated to coordinate the COABE/TALAE conference in 2015-2016. These conferences were a huge success and allowed Texas adult educators to experience national and international professional development. In January of 2013 she was appointed to the Alamo Workforce Board as Literacy Representative and served as the chair of the planning committee. She served a two-year term on the board, which ended in December of 2014. She is currently serving as At-Large Regional Representative of the Texas Association for Literacy and Adult Education (TALAE). She began her affiliation with TALAE as the South Central Regional Representative on the TALAE Board. From that role she advanced sequentially through the positions of Vice President, President-Elect, President, and Past-President of TALAE.
For over 25 years, Dr. Olga Escamilla has been in adult education and has made outstanding contributions to the field of adult education in Texas. Her vast experience in workforce development, and as faculty at the university level, allows her to clearly understand a student's goals and needs in the workforce and postsecondary arenas. She promotes lifelong learning and is a strong advocate for adult education and literacy programs. She has demonstrated outstanding leadership qualities at the local, state, and national levels by actively participating in the state association of Texas (TALAE) and COABE. She has presented various workshops and conference presentations and has been awarded the Texas A&M University System Student Recognition Award for Teaching Excellence. She is highly respected by the field and is known as a person of action. Olga is truly a role model as she has been involved in teaching, coordinating professional development, and administrative duties throughout her career. Her leadership as state association president, in professional development, and in workforce training will allow her to continue serving the adult education community.