Since the launch of GEDPrep Connect™  in October 2016, 66,000 students have opted to share their scores with Adult Ed programs and selected an Adult Ed/GED® prep center.

We know Adult Ed Programs are looking for more ways to connect with GED® students, and many students are asking for someone to contact them.  At GED Testing Service, we developed a set of tools to bridge the gap.

GEDPrep Connect™ helps GED® candidates find teachers in their local area when they create an account on GED.com. And it gives adult educators key information quickly and easily:

  • Gain access to data about students interested in your program
  • Connect more easily with testers and manage their progression through the GED® program
  • Monitor the number of students expressing interest in your program

Still have questions? Check out GED Prep Connect™ and how to access using GED Manager™, and help connect your students to a brighter future.

GEDTS is the corporate sponsor of COABE's Leadership Initiatives.

Leadership Initiative

Dear COABE Members,

The mission of the Coalition on Adult Basic Education (COABE) is to inspire educators so adults succeed and communities thrive. Our stated purposes are to provide leadership, professional development, research, and communication to the field of adult education.

It is my pleasure to share that we are embarking on a year-long leadership initiative, which is generously underwritten with support provided by GED Testing Service. This initiative will provide an array of resources to the field, including a leadership module, leadership webinars, and a leadership strand at the COABE national conference, on April 2 - 5, 2017. It will also provide much needed research on successful and replicable leadership and administrative strategies. Details will be posted shortly.

If you are an administrator or state leader, please consider this an invitation to join us!

Sharon Bonney
Executive Director

Executive Director

Ms. Sharon Bonney
Executive Director

Sharon Bonney, a 15-year veteran in the field, accepted the appointment of Executive Director from the COABE Board on July 1, 2015. COABE is considered the nation's leading advocate for the adult basic education profession.

"Sharon's extensive knowledge of adult education issues and the people who serve adults on a daily basis make her uniquely qualified to serve in this new position," said COABE President Tom Nash. "From the time she was first hired as a part-time administrator, and then as full-time manager, her commitment to COABE and the field of adult education has been unparalleled. I am honored to be able to continue our board's important work alongside such a dedicated, forward-thinking leader."

Nash pointed out that Bonney managed efforts to move the organization from a 1,300-member group, in 2009, to more than 13,000 in 2015. She has implemented new programs and services that have increased COABE's visibility nationwide, and diversified and increased revenue streams, while working with a volunteer board to increase their communications and technical outreach to the membership. She also provided direction for a new educators' tool, known as the Adult Educator's Repository, and has helped guide COABE into a new management model for the annual national conference.

Sharon currently serves as a member of the National Skills Coalition's National Advisory Panel on Skills Equity and is also an advisory board member for the Alliance for Justice, Freedom, and Restoration, a national nonprofit organization that is dedicated to fighting human trafficking.


Mr. Tom Nash
President (2015–2017) 

Tom Nash’s career in Maine Adult Education began over 26 years ago. He earned a MS in Adult Education in 1992 from the University of Southern Maine. In 2011, Tom was among the first group of Maine adult education administrators to successfully complete the LEA Certified Manager in Program Improvement course. Tom has served three separate terms as a Maine Adult Education Association Board Member and was a past Conference Chair and President. He has been a member of COABE for 8 years and in 2011 was elected as Region One Representative as a write in candidate. For the past nine years Tom has served as the Director of Adult Education in the Windham Raymond School District. This past June, Tom received the prestigious Maine Adult Education’s Gerald LeVasseur Award. It is awarded to a citizen of Maine who has performed unusual and outstanding work in the field of Adult and Community Education.

Ms. Kaye Sharbono
President Elect (2015–2017)

Kaye Sharbono is the Director of DeltaLINC, the Literacy Initiative for North Louisiana Communities which provides Adult and Family Literacy Education to over 3000 students per year in over 30 sites throughout the region. She has earned a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education as well as a Master’s Degree Plus Thirty in Educational Administration and Supervision with endorsments in Adult and Early Childhood Education. Programs under her leadership have received  the following state and national recognition: Jobs for the Future Accelerating Opportunity initiative–a multi-million dollar grant for career pathways in 2012  National Council of La Raza–one of 14 grants awarded  Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy–one of seven grants awarded  High School Equivalency grant from US Office of Education Migrant Education    Ms. Sharbono is the 2012 President of the state organization Louisiana Association for Public, Community and Adult Education (LAPCAE).  As president, she is serving as the National Conference Chair for the 2013 COABE conference to be held in New Orleans in 2013. Kaye Sharbono is an exceptional leader. Her vision and leadership skills has earned her the respect of her peers on a local, state and national level.

Mr. Andy Tyskiewicz
Past President and Nominations/Elections Chair (2015–2017)

Andrew Tyskiewicz is currently a Consultant at Capitol Region Education Council (CREC). Andrew was the former Division Director at CREC. Andrew has over 30 years of experience in the field of adult education, having served before his time with CREC as an ESL teacher, consultant, and Director of Field Services.

Andy has an Ed.M. from Boston University and a B.A. in Linguistics/Spanish from the University of Hartford. He has been involved in a wide variety of community development initiatives and has served on many Boards and advisory committees. He also currently serves as national Past President of the Commission on Adult Basic Education (COABE) and is Past President of the CT Chapter of the American Society for Training and Development.

Ms. Jody Angelone
Vice President for Membership (2016–2019)

Jody Angelone has served in Adult Education for over 24 years and is currently a Program Specialist for the Ohio Professional Development Network, at The Ohio State University. She has worked as a reading specialist, instructor, coordinator and program director in the context of Correctional Education, ABLE/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, she provides program support and training in the areas of CCR Standards Implementation, Program Improvement and Consultation Plans, National Leadership Excellence Academy, and Assessment.  She served as COABE Region 4 Representative between 2014 and 2016 for the Commission on Adult Basic Education (COABE) national board.  She is currently serving as the Vice President of Membership for the Commission on Adult Basic Education (COABE) national board and the Advocacy and Governance Chair for the Ohio Association for Adult and Continuing Education (OAACE). 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 a M.Ed. in Education Administration and Supervision from Bowling Green State University.

Dr. Don Finn
Secretary (2015–2016)

Dr. Don Finn has been an educator for 25 years. He is currently Dean of the Regent University School of Education, professor of Adult Education & Professional Development, and founding chair of the Curriculum & Instruction master’s degree program at Regent. In 2010, Don was voted Regent University’s School of Education Faculty Member of the Year by his students and colleagues. He served as president of the Virginia state association (VAACE) between 2009 and 2012, and made great strides to build bridges and strengthen relationships and partnerships between VAACE and state and national groups. He served as chair of the highly successful annual COABE conference in Norfolk, Virginia in April 2012. He was co-chair of the 2015 COABE Conference in Denver, Co, and served as COABE Region 2 Representative between 2013 and 2015. Don was elected to a three year term as Secretary to the COABE Board in 2015.

Ms. Polly Smith
Public Policy Chair & Treasurer (2015–2017)

Polly Smith’s hook into adult literacy began as a volunteer tutor many years ago and she has never looked back. She has received the Alaska Adult Education Association Administrator’s Award and the John L. Hulbert Award for outstanding long term contributions to adult learning. She is a teacher, trainer and administrator for the Alaska Literacy Program, a volunteer based nonprofit providing literacy instruction to adults and families. She has a Masters in Learning Disabilities. She believes the adult education community benefits from the national perspective on advocacy and professional development s provided by COABE. She has served on the COABE Board as a Representative for Region 8 for two terms and is honored to have the opportunity to serve on the Board as its Secretary.

Regional Representatives
Voting Members of the Board

Ms. Deb Bomaster
Region 1 (2014–2017)

Current position adult education director at Lawrence Adult Education in Central Maine. Deb has worked in the adult education field in a variety of position for 16 + years. She currently lives in Augusta and enjoys helping her nephews navigate college. She is slowly checking off her bucket list of traveling around world.


Ms. Tracy Noles
Region 2 (2016

Tracy Noles is an adult education professional who excels at program and staff development, creates collaborative partnerships, connects adult learning theory with practice, and monitors opportunities for continuous program improvement. When Tracy graduated from the University of Kentucky with a degree in secondary English education she was already using her skills to tutor adult learners. She taught adult education in the Jessamine County Public Schools in Kentucky before moving to Nashville, Tennessee, where she served as an adult education instructor and administrative manager before moving to a coordinator position. Ms. Noles worked in Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville, Kentucky, for 10 years serving as program specialist, coordinator, and assistant director for adult education before joining the National Center for Families Learning in 2015. Ms. Noles is a past COABE Incentive Grant awardee, a COABE and KAACE Scholarship recipient, and currently serves as a KAACE adult education representative.

Dr. Danielle Miles
Region 3 (2014–2017)

Dr. Danielle Miles has served over ten years as an Adult Education and Workforce Development Instructor with Bevill State Community College in Fayette, Alabama. Danielle holds an Associate Degree in Liberal Arts from Bevill State Community College, a Bachelor in Business Administration and Masters in Business Management from Faulkner University, and a Ph.D. in Education and Community College Leadership from Mississippi State University. She currently serves as Treasurer and completed her second term as State-Wide District 3 Board Member for the Alabama Association of Public and Continuing Adult Education.  She is an active member of the Campus Leadership Team, Delta Kappa Gamma Women’s Educator Society and Winfield Chamber of Commerce.  Danielle is currently participating in the OER STEM Project Facilitators Training for Open Educational Resources to Support Adult STEM Teaching and Learning funded by the U.S. Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE) and led by American Institutes for Research (AIR) held in Washington D.C. She is the 2013 recipient of the Delta Kappa Gamma Lucille Cornette Professional Development Award, COABE Scholarship Award and the 2014 Delta Kappa Gamma International Scholarship.

Ms. Sara Gutting
Region 4 (2016–2019)

Sara Gutting has served in Adult Education for 25 years. From High School Equivalency and ESL classroom teacher to adult education coordinator to professional development consultant, she has done it all even starting out as a volunteer. She has extensive experience and understanding of both Workforce Investment Act I and Workforce Investment Act II funding and policy. Sara has a master’s in adult education focusing on adult learning theory and is a nationally recognized consultant and speaker for adult education. She is a proven practitioner and continues to teach at the local county jail where she has taught for 21 years. Her focus on creative curriculum and active learning in the classroom has helped shape many adult education programs, teachers, and students. Sara owns her own education consulting company where over the past 20 years she has presented nationally to adult basic educators, correction educators, and post-secondary institutions.

Ms. Kim Olson
Region 5 (2014–2017)

Kim Olson has been the Executive Director for Cornerstones Career Learning Center, Inc. in South Dakota since 1994.  Previous to that she spent times as an Instructor and Education Coordinator of the organization.  She was the Missouri Valley Adult Educator and the South Dakota Adult Educator of the year in 2000.  She is the longest continually active board member of the South Dakota Association for Lifelong Learning, filling every administrative position since 1995.  Kim is a professional educator, administrator, GED Examiner, and trainer.  She is a certified teacher with 20 years of teaching and administrative experience in adult education and business and industry training.  She has been a Certified Manager in Program Improvement since 2011.  She led an instructional team in the development of a successful managed enrollment program that she has administered since 2006.  

Mr. Martin Loa
Region 6 (2016–2019)

Martin Loa serves as Houston Center for Literacy’s Vice President of Program Services(HCL). HCL supports literacy organizations, engages the community to join efforts in solving Houston’s low-literacy problem, and connects adult learners to literacy providers.   Martin was born in Brownsville, Texas and raised near the Mexico border. His childhood experience as a migrant farm worker propelled him to be the first member in his family to graduate from high school and college, receiving his Bachelor’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Texas Pan American and his Master’s Degree in Education from Texas A&M University. He is an experienced educator, trainer and conference organizer.  He has been instrumental in recruiting members and donors for statewide and national conferences, and has successfully managed the budget for the Texas Association for Literacy and Adult Education (TALAE) organization as the former treasurer. He currently serves as President-Elect for TALAE and is Co-Conference Chair for COABE 2016.  Martin also has extensive experience collaborating with numerous educational programs and community organizations in order to provide access and quality services for diverse student populations.    Martin has served as an instructor and an administrator in Adult Education and continues to work at developing and delivering trainings across the state to assist others in our field.

Ms. Rhea Watson
Region 7 (2015–2018)

Rhea M. Watson is an accomplished community activist and adult education advocate.  She is a literacy trainer working with ELL, ABE, and HSE students under the auspice of the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District.  Rhea serves approximately 400 students a year and is skilled in recruiting and retaining hard to reach populations among the Adult Education Community. Rhea has trained trainers on the local, state, and national levels and enjoys sharing strategies and tools that help others to reach challenged populations.  As a 2013 COABE Scholarship and Mini Grant Winner, Rhea welcomes projects that require technical writing.  She is hopeful that the position of Regional Representative for Region 7 will allow her to employ these techniques. Rhea has also received many accolades in the fields of psychology and librarianship.  As a result, she is a recipient of multiple grant, scholarship, and leadership awards due to her dedication to underserved populations.

Ms. Branka Marceta
Region 8 (2015–2018)

First and foremost Branka Marceta has been and will be a lifelong learner and a teacher of English to speakers of other languages. Since 2006, Branka has held the position of Technology Projects Coordinator with the Outreach and Technical Assistance Network (OTAN), a leadership project funded by the California Department of Education to provide electronic collaboration, information and support for instructional technology and distance learning to literacy and adult education providers throughout the state. In this role Branka has been planning, delivering and facilitating professional development as well as supporting the process of technology and online delivery planning by adult education providers. Before coming to OTAN, she taught ESL, family literacy and CTE courses at Milpitas Adult Education Program. Branka enjoys the camaraderie and collegiality of professional organizations as proven by her decade-long active participation in California and Nevada Teachers to Speakers of Other Languages professional organization. In 2013, Branka co-chaired the state annual conference for California Council for Adult Education. She has presented over 70 times to over 1655 attendees at local, regional, statewide and national events and workshops within the adult education field. More recently, Branka has been a member of the COABE Technology Committee contributing to the efforts of like-minded edtech colleagues to provide more social media coverage for the field of adult education and literacy.

Committee Members
Nonvoting Members of the Board

Ms. Beverly E. Smith
State Director Liaison (2015–2017)

Beverly E. Smith is the Assistant Commissioner and Georgia State Director for Adult Education and GED Testing through the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG). The Office of Adult Education administers the U.S. Department of Education state-wide Adult Education grants, provides adult education training programs for over 50,000 Georgia citizens, and supports local literacy action groups throughout the state. In addition, her office is responsible for the administration of all GED testing in Georgia. Outside of TCSG, Beverly is Senior Vice-President of The HR Group, Inc., a management consulting firm which she co-owns with her husband, Stephen.

A long term community volunteer, Beverly is a board member for the Atlanta Area Council, Boy Scouts of America and served as Cobb County Commission’s appointee and Chair of the Cobb County Board of Elections & Registration for eight years (2005-2013). She has been a Co-Chair for Leadership Cobb, served on the Board of Directors for Chattahoochee Technical College and the Alumni Board of Trustees for Bowling Green State University (Ohio), where she chaired its strategic planning committee. Beverly has also served on the Boards of the Cobb County United Way and Girls Incorporated, holding committee chair positions on both Boards. She is the recipient of many honors and awards including being listed as a NW Georgia YWCA Woman of Achievement, Who’s Who Among African Americans and Who’s Who in the Southeast. In 2006, Beverly was named a “History Maker” by The HistoryMakers (thehistorymakers.com), a national African-American historical directory.

Ms. Deb Bomaster
Awards Chair (2016–2017)

Current position adult education director at Lawrence Adult Education in Central Maine. Deb has worked in the adult education field in a variety of position for 16 + years. She currently lives in Augusta and enjoys helping her nephews navigate college. She is slowly checking off her bucket list of traveling around world. 2017 COABE Awards Committe: Deb Bomaster, Mary Helen Martinez, and Diann Bailey.

Ms. Rhea Watson
Conference Mini Grant Chair (2016–2017)

Rhea M. Watson is an accomplished community activist and adult education advocate.  She is a literacy trainer working with ELL, ABE, and HSE students under the auspice of the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District.  Rhea serves approximately 400 students a year and is skilled in recruiting and retaining hard to reach populations among the Adult Education Community. Rhea has trained trainers on the local, state, and national levels and enjoys sharing strategies and tools that help others to reach challenged populations.  As a 2013 COABE Scholarship and Mini Grant Winner, Rhea welcomes projects that require technical writing.  She is hopeful that the position of Regional Representative for Region 7 will allow her to employ these techniques. Rhea has also received many accolades in the fields of psychology and librarianship.  As a result, she is a recipient of multiple grant, scholarship, and leadership awards due to her dedication to underserved populations.

Ms. Amy D. Rose
Editor COABE Journal

Amy D. Rose is a professor emeritus of adult education at Northern Illinois University where she taught for over twenty-five years.  She has written and presented on issues related to policy, literacy, and adults in higher education.  She focuses primarily on historical and qualitative research.  In addition she has served as a president of the American Association of Adult and Continuing Education; a co-editor of the Adult Education Quarterly; and a co-editor of the Handbook of Adult Continuing Education: 2010 Edition.

Mr. Hector Martinez
Technology Chair (2015-2017)

Hector Martinez is the Director for the Garden City Community College Adult Learning Center. Mr. Martinez came from Mexico to the United States in 2000. Working with adults in Mexico for seven years prior his arrival to the USA, Mr. Martinez experiences include 12 years as Technology instructor, employability skills and implementation and management of computer networks.

Mr. Martinez volunteered his time for more than 18 months at the Garden City Adult Learning Center so he could help others. In time, the center asked him to accept a position as technology instructor. From there he worked helping others as well as working his way to the director's position. Mr. Martinez has been the president of the Kansas Adult Education Association which worked on marketing ideas for adult education and has been an advocate for strengthening the funds in Kansas for adult education. Mr. Martinez participated in the Kansas Leadership Academy through the KBOR. He also implemented the first Spanish Literacy program in cooperation with the Mexican Government.

Mr. Bob Weng
Historian (2014-2017)

Bob retired as Director of Adult Education and Literacy for St. Louis Public Schools in 2008.  Since retirement, he has been a national trainer for Leadership Excellence Academies, a professional development program for adult education administrators administered by NAEPDC and the Center for Literacy, Education and Employment at UTK.  He has over 40 years experience as a teacher, administrator, and trainer in the field of adult education and literacy.  He holds a B.S. in Education (Social Studies and Mathematics) and an M.A. in History with graduate work in adult education and reading.

Bob has served as president of the Missouri Association for Adult Continuing and Community Education, the Missouri Adult Education and Literacy Administrators’ Association and the Commission on Adult Basic Education. 

leadership Advisory Committee

Ms. Amanda Bergson Shilcock
Senior Policy Analyst

Amanda Bergson-Shilcock is Senior Policy Analyst, focusing on immigration, adult basic education and ESL. She analyzes policies, makes recommendations, and coordinates with National Skills Coalition member organizations to address issues facing adult learners, including immigrant workers. Amanda has authored numerous publications and policy recommendations on immigrant integration, workforce development, and adult education. She has extensive experience engaging state and federal policymakers. Amanda joined NSC in 2015.

Prior to joining NSC, Amanda was Vice President of Policy and Evaluation at the nonprofit Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians in Philadelphia. In that role, she led the Welcoming Center’s policy and communications work on adult education, workforce and economic development issues. She also served as Policy and Communications Director for IMPRINT, a national coalition of nonprofit organizations focusing on the integration of immigrant professionals.

Amanda holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania, where she studied American Civilization with an emphasis on minority populations. She is based in Philadelphia and Washington, DC. 

Ms. Judy Mortrude
Senior Policy Analyst

Judy Mortrude has over 30 years of experience developing, delivering, and managing secondary and postsecondary education projects for adult education workforce development, particularly with low literacy and high barrier populations. Ms. Mortrude was the lead administrator for Minnesota's largest Adult Basic Education (ABE) consortium before moving to the Minnesota Department of Employment & Economic Development in 2009 to staff the Minnesota FastTRAC Adult Career Pathway cross-system initiative. Currently, she is a Senior Policy Analyst and facilitates a network of practitioners in the Alliance for Quality Career Pathways at the Center for Law and Social Policy.  This Alliance of education, workforce development, and human service providers from across the country has developed quality standards for career pathway system partners to use as they develop and evaluate their aligned efforts. Judy focuses on Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, Perkins CTE, and other education/workforce development policy.

Micheal Ormsby
Founder and CEO, Essential Education

Michael is the founder and CEO of Essential Education Corporation. Essential Education was founded in 2004 to improve the completion rates of adult learners.  Using innovative adaptive learning technology and situational instruction systems, Essential Education’s courses have helped over 1.5 million people make fundamental change in their lives.  

Task Forces

The following task forces are in place.

Partnerships Task Force, by Kaye Sharbono
Debbie Phillips, Deb Bomaster, Branka Marceta, and Sharon Bonney (Ex Officio)

Fund Raising Task Force, by Andy Tyskiewicz
Hector Martinez, Jody Angelone,  Debbie Faubus-Kendrick, and Sharon Bonney (Ex Officio)

Journal Task Force, by Don Finn
Amy D. Rose, Kim Rossman, Bob Weng, and Sharon Bonney (Ex Officio)