Message from Our President Elect

Jody Angelone

Jody Angelone

Dear COABE Members,

I feel truly blessed to have had the opportunity to serve on the COABE Board of Directors for the past 6 years as the Region 4 Representative and Vice President of Membership. It has been an honor to be able to serve with so many passionate and professional individuals who work hard every day to support and improve the field of adult education and the lives of our adult learners.

I chose to run for President-Elect because I believe in COABE's mission. I have served in adult education for 27 years and I believe that COABE can professionalize and advance our field in a way that supports our state associations, our programs, our practitioners, and most importantly, our students. I want to be a part of this mission and I believe I have the knowledge, experience, and passion that is needed to keep moving this association and the field forward, because Investing in Adult Education Is an Investment in America's Future.

I have a passion for learning, so working in state leadership, and more specifically in professional development, has provided an outlet for sharing my passion. I spent several years working as an adult education instructor and there is no greater reward than your students' successes. So when I first left the classroom to go into administration, I thought I may never have that same feeling again, but then I realized that by strengthening my program and supporting and providing learning opportunities for my staff, I was reaching even more individuals than just the adult learners in my classroom. Later, when I moved into state leadership, I felt that same angst about not being in the trenches at the local program level. However I soon understood that I had an opportunity to reach even more programs, adult educators, and in turn more adult learners. So, when I was asked to consider running for President-Elect, I once again had to ask myself, how can this position help the field and our adult learners? The answer was clear. I now have an opportunity to impact the field beyond just Ohio. With the support of the COABE office and board, we can continue to professionalize and strengthen the field of adult education on a national level.

There are a few initiatives that I want to see COABE continue to build upon. The first is advocacy and the Educate & Elevatecampaign. My hope is that COABE will continue to use this platform to educate legislators about the field of adult education and to continue advocating for fully funded Title II services. I support COABE's commitment to strengthen and build partnerships and linkages with Career and Technical Education, Correctional Education, as well as other adult education associations and organizations. Additionally, I hope that COABE will continue to move in a direction that helps to professionalize the field, as we begin to look at a national certification for adult educators and digital badging. Last, but not least, I want to stay true to our mission and to our members. We are only as strong as our membership, so I hope that you all continue to support COABE and share your needs, questions, and concerns with the board.

I look forward to serving and learning from all of you over the next six years!


Jody L. Angelone
COABE President-Elect

Our VIP Vendor for August 2019 is CommonTeri Services


CommonTeri Services is a national partner of COABE. They support nonprofits who are using Salesforce©. They have extensive experience optimizing Salesforce for full constituent management including donors, volunteers, and clients. They are the makers of Literacy Nimbus, a software solution built on the Salesforce platform that provides program management and student management for educational services nonprofits. Their unique service model starts with a full Salesforce-usage audit and a budget-friendly support plan where customers have access to over 20 hours of support and training each month for one low rate. With CommonTeri Services, you become the expert of your Salesforce instance and get your Salesforce instance working better with more automation than ever before. Find out more at

Amazon To Spend $700 Million Training 100,000 Employees For Tech Jobs


Amazon employees who are filling boxes in warehouses may be the industry's next engineers.

The company announced Thursday that it will spend more than $700 million to train 100,000 employees for higher-skilled jobs over the next six years.

These training programs will be offered to workers throughout all levels of the company, not just those in warehouses. Participants can pick one of several programs, ranging from learning skills for other jobs at Amazon to earning certifications that could be used outside the company.

The move is just the latest in a series of efforts by large retailers to woo and retain workers in one of the tightest labor markets in history. For example, Walmart last month announced a new program that will pay for college test preparation for its high school workforce.

New Adolescent/Adult Form, Research Underway!

New Adolescent/Adult Form, Research Underway!

Can You Help?

Pearson is hoping for clinical cases--those with a diagnosis of dyslexia or suspected dyslexia--across the age range.

Testing is scheduled at the examinee's convenience. The testing will be done on a video call at a computer with a professional at another location. You will need to use a desktop or laptop computer with a camera (webcam) and good, reliable internet access.

If you have friends or family members who may be interested, please share the letter(s) with them as well. Parents of adolescents (ages 14-17) as well as adults ages 18-65 can use the same link provided in the letters to apply for the study.

WES Global Talent, A New Strand Partner

WES Global Talent Bridge is now a COABE national strand partner. DED immigrants fully use their talents and education in the United States and Canada. Global Talent Bridge partners with national and community-based organizations as well as policymakers to help skilled immigrants leverage their training and achieve their academic and professional goals. As a national strand partner, Global Talent Bridge will work with COABE to support its membership through the provision of information and expertise around developing programs and resources for highly-skilled immigrants.

"We have for years worked to provide tools and resources helpful to practitioners from various segments of the skilled immigrant professional integration field," says Debra Means West, Director Network Development and Knowledge Management at Global Talent Bridge. "I think our work on behalf of immigrants speaks to many of the issues that COABE members care about. We welcome anyone interested in learning more to sign up to receive our newsletter, The Bridge.

Message from Our New Chief Executive Officer

Sharon Bonney

Sharon Bonney

Dear COABE Members,

I am so grateful and humbled by the recent appointment of the Board of Directors to the newly crafted position of Chief Executive Officer for the Coalition on Adult Basic Education! As you may know, I have worked with and for COABE in some capacity for twenty years, first in a contracted administrative position for ten years, followed by seven years as COABE's full time manager, and then serving in the recent role of executive director for three years prior to this appointment.

With the change in my title from Executive Director to Chief Executive Officer, my focus will shift as well. I will now tackle building foundation support for adult education, building business partnerships, and representing our field on the national stage.

I have appointed Michelle Chiles to the Chief of Staff position to run the internal operations of the organization, and I know that she will execute this new role beautifully!

We are also building capacity internally with a number of new hires to ensure the work of the organization runs smoothly as our exponential growth continues. An announcement with more details will be shared shortly.

I am also delighted to welcome our member-elected board president, Dr. Don Finn, and the following new board members: President Elect, Jody Angelone: Vice President, Debbie Faubus-Kendrick; Secretary, Jeff Arnott; Region 2 Representative, Shaketta Thomas; Region 4 Representative, Michael Matos; and Region 6 Representative Olga Escamilla!

As we work together to transform the field of adult education, we will continue to seek your input and to look for ways that we can ensure that COABE stays mission driven, member focused, and results oriented.

With this in mind, I would like to encourage you to take action for adult education with 3 quick clicks. Get the details HERE.

Thank you again for your membership in COABE, and I look forward to serving you and our field in this new capacity!


Sharon Bonney
Chief Executive Officer
Coalition on Adult Basic Education

Special Message from Our New Board President

Dr. Don Finn

Dr. Don Finn

Dear COABE Members, Partners, and Friends,

What an honor it is to begin my term as President of COABE! My affiliation with the organization began in 2006 when I attended my first conference in Houston, and from that time, I knew COABE had huge potential to impact the lives of adult learners and the practice of teachers, administrators, and tutors who work with them. In 2007, the Virginia Association for Adult and Continuing Education, (VAACE), Virginia’s state association hosted one of the first COABE Regional Institutes in Williamsburg. This institute featured addresses and training opportunities by two of the most influential adult educators in my career; Drs. Stephen Brookfield and Rosemary Caffarrella. This experience convinced me that COABE was committed to providing quality experiences for adult educators. During my term as president of VAACE, I applied to COABE to co-host the national conference in Virginia, an honor we were granted and carried out in 2012. My time as a COABE board member began with my election as Region 2 Representative in 2013. In 2015 I became a member of the COABE Executive Committee when elected Secretary in 2015 and continued with my election as President-elect in 2017.

Throughout my time on the Board of Directors, I have engaged in and witnessed the most profound growth of COABE’s history. This growth was driven by the vision of presidents, past presidents, fellow board members, and our Manager, turned Executive Director (in 2015), and most recently named Chief Executive Officer: Sharon Bonney. During 2013 and 2014, the Board engaged in a strategic planning effort to better focus the direction of the COABE. Part of the process involved the development of its mission statement: Inspiring Educators so Adults Succeed and Communities Thrive.

Several strategic partnerships and initiatives were spawned from this strategic planning, among these are (please note: this list is not an exhaustive):

Advocacy through the Educate & Elevate campaign to inform leaders and decision-makers of the value of adult education with informational materials to be shared in-person and electronically and equipping and empowering adult education practitioners and students to lead these efforts.

Outreach to the field of adult education through state associations and like-minded organizations to provide quality information, resources, and opportunities for professional learning in the form of the national conference, regional institutes, webinars, the virtual online conference, and a revised, practitioner-focused online journal.

Strategically seeking out organizational and corporate partners with an interest in the success of adult learners and to enhance the role and visibility of adult education in addressing these objectives and many more projects and initiatives.

I am excited at the prospects ahead for COABE and the role of our association in Inspiring Educators so Adults Succeed and Communities Thrive and am humbled to have a continuing role in these efforts. I look forward to working alongside our outstanding board of directors as we will focus on revisiting COABE's mission and priorities to ensure we are impacting the field in the most positive and productive ways. I also look forward to my time interacting with our membership and partners at conferences, meetings, events, and even electronically over the next 2 years and beyond! The future is ours, and together we will do exciting, effective, and impactful things for the benefit of our learners and nation; are you ready? Let's go!

I wish you all the best,

Don Finn, Ph.D.
COABE President

COABE and Amazon Team Up


What is Amazon Career Choice?

Amazon launched a new partnership with COABE which enables adult learners who get their high school equivalency to apply for jobs that they would not otherwise qualify for. Jobs start at $15-$19 per hour, plus benefits and access to the College Choice Program, which pays for 80% of the participant’s college fees. Employees that have been employed for 2 years at the company and do not wish to go to college but would rather work, may bypass the usual requirement for a bachelor’s degree to obtain a job in management.  

Amazon has offered to set up field trips for local programs. Contact for details.  

COABE Journal–Call for Articles

Call for Articles
Leadership Edition of the COABE Journal


The COABE Journal seeks to be the resource that adult educators turn to for learning and inspiration. Since the COABE Journal started using a theme format - first with Career Pathways and most recently with Prison Literacy - we have seen a tremendous response. Nearly 12,000 readers now download and use the Journal. We hope you will consider sharing your expertise as we begin planning for the October 2019 issue.

The next edition of the COABE Journal will focus on leadership. We will be accepting manuscripts that focus on leadership at all levels including, but not limited to, student leadership, leadership in the classroom, teacher leadership, administrative leadership, leadership in giving, leadership in advocacy and public policy, community leadership, and more!

Click below to submit your manuscript. Contact with questions.

Why 36 million American adults can't read enough to work — and how to help them

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In the U.S., 36 million adults lack the basic literacy skills needed to sustain employment -- yet education programs for this group serve only about 1.5 million, and funding continues to be cut at state and federal levels. Meanwhile, stigma can keep adults from reconnecting with the classroom. Kavitha Cardoza reports from Maine, whose governor has pledged to increase funding for adult education.

Grant Opportunities

The U.S. Department of Education is offering two grant programs with July 2019 application deadlines. Please click the links below to learn more about how these grant programs can support your local program.

The Project Prevent grant program provides grants to local educational agencies (LEAs) to increase their capacity to help schools in communities with pervasive violence to better address the needs of affected students and to break the cycle of violence in those communities. The application deadline is July 15, 2019 .

The School Climate Transformation Grant Program--Local Educational Agency Grants (SCTG-LEA) provides competitive grants to LEAs to develop, enhance, or expand systems of support for, and technical assistance to, schools implementing a multi-tiered system of support, for improving school climate. The SCTG-LEA deadline is July 22, 2019.

If you have questions about the grant programs please contact or

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Research to Practice: Learning Difficulties, June 2019

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Join us for free webinars on the topic of learning difficulties.



Are you teaching your students to think about their thinking? Are you giving them opportunities to build their critical thinking skills to problem solve? Let’s have fun together discovering metacognition activities, strategies, and lessons to build important thinking skills for success in class and in life. Teaching critical thinking is good for ALL students and especially important in reaching those with learning difficulties.

Adult Education Ambassadors Share Heartfelt Stories with Legislators

Adult learners from left to right: Dylan Redmon, Natasa Paunovic, Samantha Vega, and MAACCE MD state association president, Melanie Chapman

Adult learners from left to right: Dylan Redmon, Natasa Paunovic, Samantha Vega, and MAACCE MD state association president, Melanie Chapman

Natasa Paunovic immigrated to the U.S. in 1995 with her husband, a baby, and another on the way. She had a good education in Serbia, but knew no English. She lost her unborn baby and nearly lost her own life due to language barriers. Her young family relocated to Cumberland. Many obstacles stood in her way of success: isolation from anyone she knew, limited transportation, and cultural and language differences. She was determined to assimilate to the culture and be successful in society.

Natasa sought out opportunities to improve her language skills and her fluency. She initially studied an English dictionary and found informal conversational English learning groups. Her saving grace was meeting a retired school teacher who volunteered to tutor her. A formal solution came when her tutor recommended enrolling in an External High School Diploma Program provided by the Basic Adult Education Center of Allegany College of Maryland. In 1998, 3 years after arriving in the United States, she graduated with a U.S. High School Diploma. In 2004 she enrolled at Frostburg State University and became a social work major. She attended school full-time and continued to work part-time while still raising a young family.

She graduated in 2009 with a bachelor's degree in social work. Afterwards, she worked at Shepherd Pratt Health System serving children with multiple challenges. After seven years, she became a family investment specialist for the Department of Social Services. She works with families who are in need, including immigrants and refugees. She is an outstanding example of an adult learner who continues to learn and serve her community. Do you have an adult learner success story to share? You can submit your story HERE

Congratulations to Dave Christopher at AMPED, winner of $1,000!

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COABE and Google are partnering to deliver Applied Digital Skills Bootcamps in all 50 states over the next year. The Bootcamps will be held in partnership with COABE's large group members, which are primarily state associations. Check the schedule here to find out when your state is hosting a boot camp and to save your seat today!

COABE will continue to award $1,000 each month for the next 11 months, so if you have begun using the curriculum in your classroom, be sure to share your success story with us here.

David's testimonial: Our program is a multi-generational program with a particular focus on African American low income families. Most of our parents have little or no college education but possess a high school diploma or equivalent  

In West Louisville there is, what we refer to, as a Digital Divide. African Americans make up 27% of Louisville's total population, with 85% of those African Americans living in West Louisville. The median income for residents in West Louisville neighborhoods is $8,000 to $14,000 annually, which puts those families at or below the poverty line. Many are the hard-working, working poor.  

As an African American male in technology for over 30 years, I am fully aware of the underrepresentation of African Americans in technology. Technology is 68.5% White and a staggering 7.8% Black. Entry level jobs in technology begin at a living wage of $40,000 annually.  

With the Digital Divide taking place in predominantly poor and African American communities, there is a fear of technology as well as a shortage of access to and education about technology. We discovered through a partnership with the National Center for Families Learning, a partner of COABE, that we could close the Digital Divide and simultaneously tackle the issue of concentrated poverty in our African American communities.  

Google Applied Digital Skills was the perfect entry point for our participants. It gives them the level of comfort with its project-based approach to learning. Once students have completed the Google Applied Digital Skills they go on to the Google IT Help Desk Training.  

We have been able to create partnerships with three major corporations that offer jobs in technology. Employees that are responsible for hiring from Humana, Best Buy, and Nuestar meet with our parents weekly to educate them on how to be prepared for careers in technology. These companies review resumes at the beginning and midpoint of the twelve week program and just prior their graduation. They also conduct interviews with our graduates with the intent of hiring them.   

Thank you Google and COABE for this awesome opportunity! 

The COABE Journal - Featuring Judy Mortrude and Authors Michelle Candy and Rosie Spann-Johnson

COABE has published a journal for more than 40 years. As a member of COABE, we invite you to access our special Prison Literacy edition which features articles by the very best researchers, practitioners, and leaders in the field of adult education.

The next COABE Journal will focus on the topic of leadership. We hope to feature the excellent leadership that is taking place in our field. We will be accepting manuscripts that focus on leadership at all levels including, but not limited to, student leadership, leadership in the classroom, teacher leadership, administrative leadership, leadership in giving, leadership in advocacy and public policy, community leadership, and more!

Click below to submit your manuscript. The deadline for submission is June 30, 2019. Contact with questions.

Judy Mortrude
COABE Journal/Managing Editor

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It is my great pleasure to act as managing editor to this edition of the COABE Journal.In practice, that meant I had the privilege of being in conversation with many talented educators from across the country, providing feedback as they scoped ideas and drafted articles.

Of the many contexts in which adult education occurs, correctional education settings are certainly among the most challenging. Correctional educators willingly put themselves behind locked doors to do their work. They navigate educational and correctional bureaucracies. They educate and motivate and heal students who find themselves at perhaps their lowest point in life.

Correctional educators' passion was evident in the response to this editions' call for articles. A record 44 submissions came in and the Journal Advisory Committee had to make hard choices to select only these articles to publish. They represent a diversity of perspectives in prison literacy, and we hope you will find practical ideas and inspirational ideals among them. I certainly did.


Judy Mortrude
COABE Journal Managing Editor

In the coming weeks, COABE will feature the authors and articles that comprise this special prison literacy edition of the COABE Journal. It is our hope to highlight this important aspect of adult education.

Michelle Candy
Teacher, North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation


When her husband took a job in North Dakota in 2015, Michelle Candy started teaching ABE courses for the ND Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (DOCR) in the minimum-security facility. During this time, she became involved with statewide training within the DOCR education department, including writing twice-monthly newsletters on TESL topics, leading out in best practices workshops, mentoring new teachers, and serving on a committee to introduce principles of andragogy to DOCR teachers. She has also been involved with the ND DOCR's mission of humanity in corrections, including planning off-property field trips for education students, working with Job Services to plan a Second-Chance Job Fair, helping to get family events started in the penitentiary, and inviting civic leaders to be speakers at GED® graduation ceremonies.

"Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset in Correctional Adult Education Setting"

Abstract: Many adult students in corrections and other adult learning centers have a fixed mindset. Helping students to learn about a growth mindset can help them to be successful in studying for the GEDⓇ exam as well as in other areas of their lives.

Dr. Rosie Spann-Johnson
Lead GED® and Mathematics Instructor
Campbell County Public Schools

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Dr. Rosie Spann-Johnson received a Bachelor of Science in mathematics from Alcorn State University in 1989 and a Master of Science in administration & supervision from the University of Virginia in December 2004. She did further studies at Mary Baldwin College and Lynchburg College. Reverend Dr. Spann-Johnson received her Doctor of Ministry degree in May 2017 from Virginia University of Lynchburg. Dr. Spann-Johnson is the lead GED® and mathematics instructor for Campbell County Public Schools and also provides GED® instruction to inmates within the Blue Ridge Regional Jail system. She serves as an Associate Minister of Spring Hill Baptist Church in Brookneal, Virginia.

"Training Parishioners to Minister More Effectively to Ex-Offenders"

Introduction: The content of this chapter describes the training provided to parishioners of Spring Hill Baptist Church to help them minister to ex-offenders. The objective was to expose parishioners to training from facilitators who were experts in their fields. The facilitators were to share their knowledge and experience.

FREE Google Applied Digital Skills Webinar Series and $500 Winner Announced


Marilyn Burdolf of VCSC, winner of a $500 certificate to attend COABE 2020 in Baltimore, MD! Marilyn was one of more than 500 COABE members that completed the Google Adult Education Survey. For details visit educateandelevate/google.

Google Applied Digital Skills Boot Camps
Are you interested in attending a COABE sponsored Google Boot Camp in your state?
Check the list of scheduled Boot Camps >

Success Stories = $1,000 Opportunity

Have you submitted your success story for the chance to win $1,000? One winner will be selected and announced each month.
Submit your Google Applied Digital Literacy Skills Success Story >

 Five High Quality Webinars
500 Seats/Max Capacity

Session 1: "What is Digital Literacy, G Suite and Google's Applied Digital Skills?"
Date: Thursday, May 23, 2019
Time: 2:00-3:00 p.m. Eastern Time
Presented by: Tara Reifsteck
Register for Session 1 >

Session 2: "Google's Applied Digital Skills: Get Started with Lessons"
Date: Thursday, May 30, 2019
Time: 2:00-3:00 p.m. Eastern Time
Presented by: Tara Reifsteck 
Register for Session 2 >

Session 3: "Google's Applied Digital Skills: Beginner Lessons"
Date: Thursday, June 6, 2019
Time: 2:00-3:00 p.m. EST
Presented by: Shahla Naimi 
Register for Session 3 >

Session 4: "Google's Applied Digital Skills: Digital Skills for the Office"
Date: Thursday, June 13, 2019
Time: 2:00-3:00 p.m. Eastern Time
Presented by: Janet Maragioglio 
Register for Session 4 >

Session 5: "Google's Applied Digital Skills: Support Resources, Certification and Next Steps"
Date: Thursday, June 20, 2019
Time: 2:00-3:00 p.m. Eastern Time
Presented by: Shahla Naimi
Register for Session 5 >

Each webinar is limited to 500 registrants, and is available on a first come, first served basis . Sign up for the sessions today by clicking on the registration button below.  You will need your membership ID to register for this webinar. Please contact if you have any questions. 

Please Note: Certificates are automatically emailed 24 hours after the webinar has ended.


About Our Presenters


Shahla Naimi is a Program Manager for Google’s Applied Digital Skills program. Applied Digital Skills ( is Google’s free digital literacy curriculum. It is an online resource of lessons that you can use to teach adults everything from basic digital skills (like sending an email or writing in a document) to more advanced digital skills (like project management or personal budget tracking). Applied Digital Skills is a Grow with Google program, and is dedicated to bringing digital literacy to everyone. 

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Tara Reifsteck is a Program Manager for Google’s Applied Digital Skills program. Applied Digital Skills ( is Google’s free digital literacy curriculum. It is an online resource of lessons that you can use to teach adults everything from basic digital skills (like sending an email or writing in a document) to more advanced digital skills (like project management or personal budget tracking). Applied Digital Skills is a Grow with Google program, and is dedicated to bringing digital literacy to everyone.

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Janet Maragioglio works on the Google Applied Digital Skills curriculum team creating video-based lessons that equip students with future-ready skills for education, work, and life. She has 20+ years experience writing and designing educational materials and is passionate about equity and access in technology education.