Leadership

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!

Sincerely,
  
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.


EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEMBERS
VOTING MEMBERS OF THE BOARD

 

Ms. Kaye Sharbono
President (2017–2019)
Kaye Sharbono is the retired 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 endorsements 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 current President of COABE and the Past President of the state organization Louisiana Association for Public, Community and Adult Education (LAPCAE). 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. Tom Nash
Past President (2017–2019) 


Tom Nash’s career in Maine Adult Education began 31 years ago serving as a teacher and program director in various communities in Maine during that time. 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 Past President. He has been a member of COABE for over 14 years and in 2011 was elected as Region One Representative as a write in candidate. For the past 14 years Tom has served as the Director of Adult Education in the Windham Raymond School District. Tom is a past recipient of 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 and has made a positive impact on educational services in the state. Serving as President of COABE for the past two years has been one of his life’s most enjoyable and rewarding professional experiences. Under his leadership over the past few years with an exceptional board, Executive Director and support staff, COABE has emerged as a respected national leader as the voice for adult education.


Dr. Don Finn
President Elect (2017–2019)


Dr. Don Finn has been an adult educator for 25 years and is currently dean of the school of education at Regent University. He is an associate professor of adult education & professional development and a current COABE executive board member. Don has served in various capacities for the Virginia Association for Adult and Continuing Education (VAACE) for 16 years including treasurer, long-term planning chair, conference chair, and VAACE president (2009-2012). As president, he made great strides to build bridges and strengthen relationships and partnerships between VAACE and state and national organizations and groups. Don was awarded Virginia's Outstanding Adult Education Leadership Award in 2013 and the VAACE President's Award for Service in 2014. In 2010, Don was voted Regent University's School of Education Faculty Member of the Year by his students and colleagues. He has been an independent adult education consultant and has provided professional development for various adult education associations and learning organizations around the country. He has served as a steering committee member for The Center for Research in Adult Learning (a project of the CCCU), as an article reviewer for a national higher education publication, and as a consultant with an international textbook publisher. Don has published numerous book chapters and articles on the topic of adult learning and has presented at state, regional, national, and international adult education conferences and meetings. Don's volunteer service to COABE includes planning and chairing the highly successful 2012 COABE conference in Norfolk, Virginia, co-chair of the 2015 COABE conference in Denver, and conference program chair for the 2016 and 2017 COABE conferences. Don has participated in 11 of the past 12 COABE conferences and has delivered numerous conference and pre-conference sessions at many of these conferences. His elected service to COABE includes Region 2 representative (2013-2015) and secretary to the board since 2015. He and his wife Laurie Ann have been married since 1990 and have 3 adult children. Don and Laurie Ann serve together as volunteers at an equine therapy center in their community working directly with adults and children with disabilities.


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. Debbie Faubus-Kendrick
Secretary (2017-2020)


Dr. Debbie Faubus-Kendrick has been an educator for 35 years. For over nine years, she has fulfilled the role as director of the Crawford County Adult Education Center in Van Buren, Arkansas. Debbie is an adjunct psychology professor for Vincennes University. She earned her Ed.D. from the University of Arkansas. She has served as president and vice-president of the Arkansas Association of Continuing and Adult Education (AACAE), president of the Arkansas Association of Adult Education Administrators, and secretary of the Arkansas Adult Education Advisory Council. Debbie currently serves as legislative chairperson for Arkansas Adult Education and Adult Education Representative for the Regional WIOA Board and a Northwest Representative for the Arkansas Adult Education Advisory Council. She was chosen by Arkansas Association of Alternative Educators (AAAE) as 2008 Outstanding Teacher of the Year and 2014 AACAE Outstanding Administrator of the Year. Dr. Faubus-Kendrick works tirelessly to serve both her community and to further adult education in Arkansas. Debbie is involved in several community activities including Parents as Teachers Supervisor, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), Boys and Girls Club of Van Buren, Head Start Policy Council and Board, and State Plumbing Examiners Board. She was instrumental in bringing Vincennes University classes to Crawford County which precipitated the first university graduation in the county. Debbie has been a member of COABE for 9 years, and she has served as the COABE Region 6 representative.


Ms. Polly Smith
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

 

David Downes
Region 1 (2014–2017)

David Downes has worked at all levels of education during his career, beginning with graduate level research in counseling and instruction at a community college, to counseling and remediation work in K-12 systems, and culminating in adult and continuing education administration in Connecticut for the past eleven years. Along the way he has garnered state awards both for development of a statewide school counseling curriculum and also for his legislative advocacy leadership [in adult education] on behalf of the Connecticut Association for Adult and Continuing Education (CAACE) . On a local level he was awarded the "Build No Fences" community award for the many ways that the West Hartford, CT adult education program has partnered with family resource services, libraries, religious organizations, workplace educators, and the chamber of commerce. 


Tracy Noles
Region 2 (2016
–2019)

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.


Jeff Arnott
Region 3 (2017–2020)


Jeff Arnott has extensive experience in the administration of adult education programs in the state of Florida. He is an active member of the Adult and Community Educators of Florida state-level board where he serves as the treasurer and standing board member. He is the current president of the Florida Adult and Technical Distance Education Consortium and he is an instructor for the Institute of Professional Development for Adult Educators. Jeff also sits on a state-level committee to explore and create a state model for adult career pathways and accelerated models for adult education programs. He is a key members of the Adult High School and GED advisory committees for the Florida Department of Education. He is a legislative advocate for adult students and teachers in the state of Florida as well. Jeff is currently the Treasurer and a Regional Representative for ACE of Florida.


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.


Alex Harris
Region 5 (2017–2020)


Alex Harris has been the state director for adult education in Iowa since January 2012. As the director and state administrator for the HiSET,™ Alex leads the department's efforts in adult education for achieving high school equivalency diplomas. Iowa's adult education and literacy mission is to provide accessible, quality instruction that develops life, work, and literacy skills. From 1996 to 2001, Alex Harris worked with the Australian Department of Training and Workforce Development to provide training and job placement services for non-English speaking job seekers and under skilled workers in Sydney, Australia. Prior to joining the department, Alex Harris worked from 2002-2010 with a school district assisting special needs students successfully transition to college, work, and life. Under his leadership the program served several hundred students making significant life changes. In his role as state director, he has led extensive strategic planning and policy initiatives to craft a blueprint for Iowa's adult education and literacy reform in order to transform service delivery and begin to build career pathways for Iowa adults. Alex Harris has established collaborative partnerships with the private sector and other public agencies to increase awareness of the needs for adult education participants.  


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.


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

 

Reecie Stagnolia
State Director Liaison (2017–2020)

Mr. Stagnolia has served as Vice President for Adult Education with the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) since July 2009, after having served as Associate Vice President since July 2003.  He was with the Department for Adult Education and Literacy from its creation in July 1993, serving in several capacities including Deputy Commissioner, Interim Commissioner, Executive Assistant to the Commissioner and Director, of Division of Management Services. 

Mr. Stagnolia provides statewide leadership for Kentucky’s adult education system. Kentucky Adult Education Skills U offers services in 120 counties, supported by over 800 adult educators, 20 central office staff, and an annual budget of $26 million in state and federal funding. Kentucky has an average enrollment of nearly 30,000 students over the last five years.  Since 2000, nearly 158,000 Kentuckians have earned a GED® and 22,500 of those graduates have transitioned to postsecondary education. Over this same period Kentucky’s working age population without a high school diploma/GED® has declined by 34%, the 3rd best decrease in the nation.

Elected by his peers, Reecie is currently serving his 2nd term as Chair of the National Council of State Directors of Adult Education and the National Adult Education Professional Development Consortium Executive Committees.  Additionally, he has been elected to four, two-year terms on the executive committee and has served on the organization’s policy committee since 2002.

Mr. Stagnolia also serves as a board member for the Coalition on Adult Basic Education (COABE), which is considered the nation’s leading advocate for the adult education profession. 

Mr. Stagnolia serves as a member of the Kentucky Workforce Innovation Board and the Cabinet for Economic Development’s, Bluegrass State Skills Corporation (BSSC) Board of Directors, both as proxy for the president of the Council on Postsecondary Education. He is a member of the Office of Career Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE’s) Technical Work Group (TWG) for the National Reporting Systems (NRS).


Dr. Danielle Miles
Awards, Incentive Grants, and Scholarship Chair (2017–2020)

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.


Dr. Amy D. Rose
Journal Editor (2017-2020)

Dr. 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.

Journal Committee: Dr. Amy D. Rose, Dr. Don Finn, Tom Nash, Kim Roush, Kim Olson, and Sharon Bonney (ex officio)


Hector Martinez
Technology Chair (2017-2020)

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.

Technology Committee: Hector Martinez, Branka Marceta, Tom Nash, and Sharon Bonney (ex officio)


Kim Olson
Professional Development Chair (2017-2020)


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.

Professional Development Committee: Kim Olson, Sara Gutting, and Sharon Bonney (ex officio)


Ms. Polly Smith
Public Policy Chair (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.

Public Policy Committee: Polly Smith, Kaye Sharbono, Kristin Hempel, Regina Suitt, Tom Nash, Don Finn, and Sharon Bonney (ex officio)


Tom Nash
Nominations / Elections Chair (2017–2019) 


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.


Bob Weng
Historian (2017-2020)

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. 


Jeff Arnott
Communications/Media (2017-2020)

Jeff Arnott has extensive experience in the administration of adult education programs in the state of Florida. He is an active member of the Adult and Community Educators of Florida state-level board where he serves as the treasurer and standing board member. He is the current president of the Florida Adult and Technical Distance Education Consortium and he is an instructor for the Institute of Professional Development for Adult Educators. Jeff also sits on a state-level committee to explore and create a state model for adult career pathways and accelerated models for adult education programs. He is a key members of the Adult High School and GED advisory committees for the Florida Department of Education. He is a legislative advocate for adult students and teachers in the state of Florida as well. Jeff is currently the Treasurer and a Regional Representative for ACE of Florida.


Gene Sofer
Legislative Consultant


Gene Sofer is a partner in the Susquehanna Group, a public policy consulting firm based in Washington, D.C.

He has had a long career in public policy in Washington. Between 1980 and 1984, he was a majority associate staff person on the House Budget Committee. From 1984 to 1993, he served as counsel to the House Education and Labor Committee where he was responsible for the development of the committee’s budget and appropriations strategies. At the committee, was instrumental in the development and enactment of national service laws of 1990 and 1993.

Between 1994 and 1998 he served in the Clinton administration as the first Director of Congressional and Intergovernmental Relations at the Corporation for National and Community Service.

Gene also served as the deputy executive director of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Holocaust assets in the United States between 1998 and 2001.

He is a graduate of New York University and received his Ph.D. in history from UCLA.


Task Force Chairs
NONVOTING MEMBERS OF THE BOARD

 

Joshua Evans
Fund Development Task Force Chair
(2017-2020)

Biography coming soon!


Regina Suitt
Student Engagement Chair (2017-2020)

Regina Suitt is the Dean for Adult Education at Pima Community College. She leads multiple district-wide complex programs including all Arizona Department of Education funded Adult Basic Education, Adult Secondary Education, and English Language Acquisition for Adults.
Additional programs include Civics & Student Leadership, AmeriCorps, Family Literacy, Distance
Learning, Transition services, Bridge to College & Career Readiness, Project RAISE, Refugee
Education, Workplace Education, Volunteers, and well as managing the largest GED testing
center in the state. Over 175 staff, Instructors, AmeriCorps members, and volunteers support
over 8,000 students and testers a year in the Adult Education Program.

Regina earned her BA in English from Iowa State University. She started her career working and
living on the Tohono O’odham reservation teaching English to high school students. It was there
that she began teaching HSE classes part time in a village meeting house. She then moved on to
teach HSE full time in the Pima County Jail for 8 years while also teaching as PCC adjunct faculty
at the State Prison for 5 years.

Regina has a Master’s of Education in Leadership from Northern Arizona University with an
emphasis in Community College Leadership. The Adult Education Program and Regina have
received many awards over the 40 + year history. Regina was honored most recently, in 2011 by
the Commission on Adult Basic Education (COABE) as Administrator of the Year.

Other service:

  • Serves on the board of directors for Edge Charter H.S., one of the longest running
  • charter schools in Pima County
  • Serves as Awareness Committee Chair for the Arizona Association for Lifelong Learning
  • (AALL)
  • Serves on the Commission on Adult Basic Education (COABE) board as a Regional
  • Representative for 8 states and as the Public Policy Chair.
  • Serves on the Advocacy Committee for Literacy Connects
  • Was appointed by Congressman Raul Grijalva to Mayor Rothchild’s Education Task Force 

Regina is married to Tracy and they have two daughters. Her mother was an immigrant to the United States who learned English and became a citizen, and she has several family members who have also received their GED’s


leadership Advisory Committee
NONVOTING MEMBERS OF THE BOARD

 

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, Branka Marceta, and Sharon Bonney (Ex Officio)

Fundraising Task Force, by Joshua Evans
Hector Martinez, Jody Angelone,  Dr. Debbie Faubus-Kendrick, and Sharon Bonney (Ex Officio)

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