To provide leadership, communication, professional development and advocacy for adult education and literacy practitioners in order to advance quality services for all adult learners.
Comprised of Practitioners and Administrators, COABE is 12,000 Members Strong and Growing
The Commission on Adult Basic Education is organized to advance national and international adult education and literacy opportunities for all persons. The purposes of COABE are:
• To promote adult education and literacy programs, including Adult Basic Education, Adult Secondary Education, English for Speakers of Other Languages, Family Literacy, Skills Development, Workforce Development, and other state, federal, and private programs which assist undereducated and/or disadvantaged adults to function effectively
• To provide leadership in advancing the education of adults in the lifelong learning process by unifying the profession, developing human resources, encouraging and using research, communicating with the members and the public, offering other member services, and otherwise advancing adult education, and literacy
• To advocate the development and dissemination of publications, research, methods, and materials, resources, and programs in adult education and literacy
• To conduct and/or sponsor professional development conferences and activities that provide a forum to provide staff development and advance adult education and literacy
The votes have been counted and the following candidates have been selected to serve on the COABE Board.
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.
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.
Dr. Don Finn has over 20 years of experience as an adult educator. He is currently an Associate Professor of Adult Education & Professional Development and the founding chair of the Curriculum & Instruction master’s degree program at Regent University. In 2010, Don was voted Regent University’s School of Education Faculty Member of the Year by his students and colleagues. As president of the Virginia state association (VAACE) between 2009 and 2012, Don made great strides to build bridges and strengthen relationships and partnerships between VAACE and state and national groups. One of the best examples of this was serving as chair of the highly successful 2012 COABE conference in Norfolk, Virginia in April 2012.
Jody is currently the Director of the Northwest ABLE Resource Center at Owens Community College in Toledo, Ohio. She has served in Adult Education for over 20 years. She has worked as a reading specialist, instructor, coordinator and 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 and state levels supporting adult education and community services. The Northwest ABLE Resource Center recently provided state oversight for the National Career Awareness Project and is providing certified training in Understanding and Engaging Under-Resourced College Students and Investigations for Ohio ABLE programs and their staff. The Northwest ABLE Resource Center also provides statewide training and support to the field in the areas of Assessment and Transitions. Jody has been a member of the Ohio Association for Adult and Continuing Education (OAACE) since 1993 and has served on the OAACE Board as Basic Skills Director, Workplace Education Director and as the OAACE Board President from 2008 – 2010. She received her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Toledo in Elementary Education, with a minor in Psychology, and her Master’s Degree from Bowling Green State University in Education Administration and Supervision.
Kaye Sharbono is the Director of DeltaLINC, the Literacy Initiative for North Louisiana Communities which provides Adult and Family Literacy Education to over 3000 students per year in over 30 sites throughout the region. She has earned a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education as well as a Master’s Degree Plus Thirty in Educational Administration and Supervision with endorsments in Adult and Early Childhood Education. Programs under her leadership have received the following state and national recognition: Jobs for the Future Accelerating Opportunity initiative – a multi-million dollar grant for career pathways in 2012 National Council of La Raza – one of 14 grants awarded Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy – one of seven grants awarded High School Equivalency grant from US Office of Education Migrant Education Ms. Sharbono is the 2012 President of the state organization Louisiana Association for Public, Community and Adult Education (LAPCAE). As president, she is serving as the National Conference Chair for the 2013 COABE conference to be held in New Orleans in 2013. Kaye Sharbono is an exceptional leader. Her vision and leadership skills has earned her the respect of her peers on a local, state and national level.
Executive Committed/Voting Members of the Board
• President—Dr. Renae Harrison (2011–2013)
Regional Representatives/Voting Members of the Board
• Region 1—Mr. Tom Nash (2011–2014)
• Strategic Planning—Mr. David Alexander