Who We Are

Coalition on Adult Basic Education

 

Leadership

Chief Executive Officer

Ms. Sharon Bonney
Chief Executive Officer

Sharon Bonney began her career with COABE as a part-time administrator in 2009, moving up in the organization as she showed an unparalleled commitment to the field of adult education. Sharon has helped advance the organization on a number of fronts, including managing efforts to move it from a 1,300-member group in 2009 to 23,000 active members in 2019.

She was the guiding force behind designing and implementing a new national conference model; developing new state, national and workforce partnerships with more than 100 organizations; rebranding the COABE research journal and a related research-to-practice initiative; and designing all new professional development offerings, including webinars that engage more than 18,000 members. Bonney also developed the internationally acclaimed, six-time award-winning Educate and Elevate public awareness campaign, which brought much-needed visibility to the value of adult education and prompted more than 110,000 contacts with legislators at the local, state and federal levels. These efforts resulted in a $35 million increase in funding for adult education. In addition, Bonney has diversified and increased revenue streams for the organization.


Operations DIRECTOR

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Ms. Michelle Chiles
Chief of Staff

Michelle has served in a variety of positions since joining the organization just six years ago. Michelle's path has been marked by hard work and the desire to always represent COABE well. She started as temporary data entry help, moved to registration clerk, then coordinator, and most recently, office manager, a position she held for the last two years. She has always served with dedication and professionalism, often going the extra mile to ensure excellent service for COABE members and the board. She is known for her responsiveness and knowledge of the organization, as she is involved in many facets of the day-to-day operations of the organization.


EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEMBERS
VOTING MEMBERS OF THE BOARD

 

Dr. Don Finn
President (2019–2021)


Dr. Don Finn has been elected to serve as President of the board of directors for the Coalition on Adult Basic Education (COABE) for the 2019-2021 term beginning on July 1. His previous COABE service includes a term as President Elect, Secretary to the Board and Region 2 Representative. 

Don has been an adult educator since 1992 and currently serves associate professor of education specializing in adult education, professional development, curriculum and instruction, and leadership at the Regent University School of Education (SOE). Don has served in a number of leadership positions at Regent University including SOE Dean (2015-2018), chair and vice chair of the university curriculum committee (2007-2015), and chairman of the SOE doctoral and curriculum & Instruction programs. Prior to joining the Regent faculty, Don participated in and led several initiatives on various projects through the School of Education at Virginia Commonwealth University between 1999 and 2006.  

Dr. Finn has served in various leadership capacities in the Virginia Association for Adult and Continuing Education (VAACE) for 16 years including treasurer, long-term planning chair, conference chair, and 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 began his education career as a middle and high school social studies teacher in Montgomery County Virginia in 1991. His adult education career began in October 1992 as an adult night high school teacher in Montgomery County. Inspired by his work with adult learners, Don pursued and earned his Master of Science degree with a focus on adult learning from Radford University in 1998 and his Ph.D. in Education with an emphasis on adult education and organizational development from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2005.   

Finn 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 nationally. 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.  

During his term, Dr. Finn looks forward to leading the board through a strategic planning process with an aim toward refining COABE’s mission to advocate and educate about the positive impact of adult education plays in our communities and the positive ways that adult education impacts our society and economy. Don will also prioritize the building of partnerships and forming alliances with like-minded groups to help effectively serve the needs of adult learners and those who instruct them on a national scale. 

He and his wife Laurie Ann have been married since 1990 and reside in Virginia Beach, VA and have 3 adult children, two of whom are married. Don and Laurie Ann serve together as volunteers at an equine therapy center in their community working directly with adults and children with disabilities and have served in various church and community leadership roles.


Ms. Kaye Sharbono
Past President (2019–2021)

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.


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Ms. Jody Angelone
President-Elect (2019–2021)

Jody Angelone has served in Adult Education for over 25 years and is currently the Staff Training & Development Coordinator 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 Coalition on Adult Basic Education (COABE) national board.  She is currently serving as the Vice President of Membership for the Coalition 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.


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Dr. Debbie Faubus-Kendrick
Vice President of Membership (2019-2021)


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.


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Mr. Jeff Arnott
Secretary (2019-2021)


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.


Ms. Polly Smith
Treasurer (2015–2019)


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

 
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David Downes
Region 1 (2017–2020)

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. 

 
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Shaketta Thomas
Region 2 (2019–2022)


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.

 
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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.

 
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Michael Matos
Region 4 (2019–2022)


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.

 

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.  

 
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Olga M. Escamilla
Region 6 (2019–2022)

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.

 
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Laurie Kierstead-Joseph
Region 7 (2018–2021)

Laurie Kierstead-Joseph is motivated to serve on the COABE Board to support Region 7 students and teachers through high-quality professional learning and highlighting the impact and importance of adult education. Laurie has served in adult education for nearly 20 years. She began her career as a volunteer in the ESL classroom and quickly discovered that adult education was where she was meant to be.  After seven years of teaching ESL, Laurie stepped into professional development, training, and program leadership roles. She has 11 years of experience leading the development, implementation, and evaluation of educational programming. Laurie has a bachelor's degree in Linguistics and a master's degree in Leadership in Higher Education. She has completed the Leadership Excellence Academy and the Professional Development Leadership Academy, multi-year programs that helped develop her strengths in program improvement through data-driven decision-making, sustained job-embedded professional development, and change management. She has been a member of COABE and her state association, AALL, for years - including having served on the AALL Board as Board President. As a COABE member, she has presented workshops and webinars about developing Integrated Education and Training (IET) programs. As AALL Board President, she led the Board in broadening the focus beyond professional development to include advocacy and networking to strengthen the field of adult education. 

Currently, Laurie is the Director of Adult Education Services (AES) with Pima Community College's Adult Basic Education for College and Career Division, which serves 6,000 students per year. In AES, she oversees the programs and services that help students access adult education and those that help them transition to college and career. AES includes intake and registration for adult basic education and English language acquisition for adult students, HSE and certification testing, and transition services and programs. She has led the development of innovative IET programs including Integrated Education and Basic Skills Training (IBEST) programs in hospitality, medical assisting, behavioral health, and machining, creating powerful opportunities for ABE and ELAA learners to access career pathways. Laurie also serves as a liaison with local WIOA and workforce partners. She co-wrote the WIOA local plan and memorandum of understanding and is working to further integrate and align services across the core partner programs.

 
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Larriann Torrez
Region 8 (2018–2021)

Mrs. Larriann Torrez was born and raised in the Central Valley. She earned her undergraduate and postgraduate degrees at Fresno Pacific University, including a Bachelor of Arts in Management and Organizational Leadership and a Master of Arts in Education and Administration Services. Mrs. Torrez is completing a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership from Brandman University and will graduate in May of 2018. Mrs. Torrez is Vice President of the Tulare County Hispanic Leadership Network, representative on the Sequoias Adult Education Leadership Committee, Chair of the Tulare County Workforce Development Board's Referral Committee, and has served on the California Council for Adult Education State Executive Board from 2007-2017 as Member-at-Large, President Elect, President, and Past President.

Mrs. Torrez is currently employed with Tulare Joint Union High School District (TJUHSD) in Tulare, CA, and has been the Director of Tulare Adult School since 2016. Larriann served as Assistant Director of Tulare Adult School from 2011-2016 and as principal of Sierra Vista Charter High School from 2013-2016. Prior to employment with TJUHSD, Larriann was a program manager for Proteus, Inc., a nonprofit, community-based organization in Visalia, CA. Mrs. Torrez began her career in adult education in 1994 at Porterville Adult School where she taught evening GED® and high school diploma classes. Mrs. Torrez' career includes multiple recognitions, including ACSA Region XI Adult Education Administrator of the Year and Tulare County Hispanic Leadership Network Administrator of the Year in 2014, Tulare County Office of Education, Excellence in Education Finalist in 2014, Caroline S. Casida Meritorious Leadership Award from the California Council for Adult Education in 2009, Proteus Teacher of the Year in 2005, and the Charles O. Peterson Meritorious Service Award from the California Council for Adult Education in 2005. 

 

Committee Members
Nonvoting Members of the Board

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Ms. Connie Rivera
Strand Partner Chair

Connie Rivera facilitates opportunities for adult learners and their teachers that enable them to learn in new environments, discover connections, and develop greater understanding of the subject matter.  Connie is proud to have served as president of the Adult Numeracy Network and as the Numeracy Strand Partner to COABE during her presidency.  During her time of service as strand partner, Connie suggested new and innovative ideas that helped systematize and streamline the conference experience for strand partners and conference attendees. Connie is perhaps best known for her dedication to the field and desire for a standard of excellence.

 

Ms. Polly Smith
Public Policy Chair


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, Don Finn, and Sharon Bonney (ex officio)

 
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Jeff Arnott
Communications/Media Chair

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.

 

Task Force Chairs
NONVOTING MEMBERS OF THE BOARD

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Jeff Abramowitz
Prison Literacy Behind and Beyond the Walls Chair

Jeffrey Abramowitz, J.D is currently the Executive Director of Reentry Services for JEVS Human Services. Jeff is also the founder and President of Looking Forward Community Engagement Partnership, a non-profit agency that works with individuals who have barriers to gainful employment and provides staff training and development in the area of workforce development. Jeff was the founder of the National Workforce Opportunity Network, a fully integrated workforce development agency. Jeff is currently a 2017-2018 Fellow for Justleadership USA and hosts the Looking Forward Reentry Radio Show on WPPM 106.5 FM. Jeff has most recently served as the Director of Student Services & Workforce Development for Community Learning Center, an adult literacy agency.

Jeff has provided reentry agency support, staff training, and has facilitated reentry workshops and staff development training at Temple University, PA CareerLink Suburban Station, and throughout the country over the past three years, assisting returning citizens with their transition home from incarceration, helping them find their career pathway, gainful employment, and the road to prosperity.

Jeff was most recently appointed to the Executive Board of the Coalition of Basic Adult Education, COABE, where he is the chairperson of the Prison Literacy Committee and sits on the Pennsylvania Reentry Council serving as Chairman of the Housing, Education, Employment, and Basic Needs Sub-committee. Jeff is active in the Philadelphia Reentry Coalition and is Co-chairperson of the Community Engagement Committee. Jeff Co-facilitates the Temple University New Opportunities Workshop, instructs for Temple University Pan African Community Education Program, serves on the board of directors of Community Forgiveness & Restoration, the Peirce College Paralegal Studies & Criminal Justice Advisory Committees, and is an Advisory Board Member of Philadelphia Petey Greene Program. Jeffrey is a keynote speaker and lecturer around the country on issues of adult education, workforce development, prison reform and criminal justice.

 
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Jesse McCree
Workforce Committee Chair

Jesse McCree is the CEO of SCPa Works, the regional workforce development board whose mission is to unlock the human talent that drives the development of businesses and individuals, creating opportunity for growth and prosperity for the South Central PA region. Under Jesse's leadership, SCPa Works invests over $14M of public funds, annually supporting a labor force of over 740,000 people. SCPa Works invests in, evaluates, and advances high impact workforce development programs, training centers, and policies that drive our regional economic growth by connecting the needs of business and job seekers. Jesse has a bachelor's degree from Bowdoin College (Maine), a master's degree in public administration from Cornell University (NY), and 11 years of experience in nonprofit management, public policy, and workforce development. He is currently enrolled in Harvard Kennedy School's Executive Education program for nonprofit leadership, and serves on numerous boards of community organizations such as the PA Workforce Development Association and U.S. Conference of Mayors Workforce Development Council.

Jeffrey Abramowitz, J.D. is the founder/CEO of NWON Community Engagement Partnership and the founder of the National Workforce Opportunity Network, a fully integrated workforce development and career placement agency. NWON CEP, is a nonprofit agency that provides workshops, training, and workforce development for individuals/agencies that work with individuals with barriers to gainful employment. Jeff currently serves as a 2018 JustleadershipUSA Leading With Conviction Fellow.

 

Joshua Evans
Fund Development Task Force Chair

With a career in education spanning over 20 years, Josh Evans has always demonstrated a passion for adult learners as a teacher or administrator. Josh has previously held educational positions with governmental agencies, universities and colleges, and nonprofit organizations. He is currently the Committee Chair for Fundraising and Development for The Coalition on Adult Basic Education, Board Member of the Colorado Community Action Association, and past chair of the Workforce Committee with the Denver Chapter of The Society for Human Resource Management. He holds undergraduate degrees from The University of North Carolina-Wilmington in English and Criminal Justice and master's degrees from Naropa University and Oregon State University. He also holds his SHRM-SCP credential and is a certified International Associate for Emergenetics LLC. 

Josh  has experience as a college instructor and adult educator. As an instructor, Josh believes in rigor, universal design, empowerment, and equity as fundamental principles to creating a learning community. As an administrator he believes in supporting teachers through coaching, resource building, and student-centered design. Over the years Josh has taught a diverse student body from ages 4 to 74. He is passionate about adult education in all its forms - from contextualized workforce to family literacy programming. He continues to be a servant leader of The Learning Source, supporting the educational opportunities of over 2,000 students and families annually. He is humbled by the gift of leading 70 staff and 120 volunteers to make a difference in the communities of Colorado. In his free time he enjoys reading, writing, spending time with his family, and running. He annually participates in The Colfax Marathon, supporting the nonprofit community of Colorado, and hopes to see you there. He can be reached at Josh@thelearningsource.org.

 

Regina Suitt
Student Engagement Chair

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


Task Forces

The following task forces are in place.

Partnerships Task Force, by Kaye Sharbono
Sharon Bonney (Ex Officio)

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

Journal Task Force, by Dr. Don Finn
Sharon Bonney (Ex Officio)