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Our Mission

To provide leadership, communication, professional development and advocacy for adult education and literacy practitioners in order to advance quality services for all adult learners.

Talent Bank

Thank you for your interest in serving on the COABE Board! So that we can get a better sense of how we can best utilize your skills and interest, please complete this short survey and send your bio, resume, and two recommendations to sharonbonney@coabe.org. Thank you!

Download the COABE App

The Commission on Adult Basic Education (COABE) is 13,000 members strong and growing! Check out our free app for the latest conference and members only news and developments.

Once you download the COABE App, you'll want to check out this exciting instructional video to get the most out of your experience.

Membership Information

For questions about membership contact:

E-mail: info@coabe.org
Fax: 866-941-5129
Phone: 888-44-COABE

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Comprised of Practitioners and Administrators, COABE is 13,000 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

President Elect's Message

COABE Members,

I am humbled and honored that you have elected me to serve as President-Elect for the next two years. I have much to learn in preparation for my role as President, and I have completely embraced that challenge. It will be a shared journey, an exciting and challenging path that we will travel together.

Through the efforts of many past board members along with our dedicated national manager, Sharon Bonney, your voice has grown to over 13,000 strong. Our partnerships with state associations that have joined as large group members of COABE has enabled this exponential growth as well.  Not only has it helped to leverage increased membership benefits, but it has given us a stronger voice on Capitol Hill on behalf of our practitioners and adult learners. It is my belief that even more valued colleagues and practitioners will join us as we explore opportunities that will assist in improving the lives of the adult learners we serve.

As a board, we will look to you for input and welcome the opportunity to tap into your talent and leadership qualities. We want to work together with you to advocate for sufficient, and hopefully additional, funding and services for our programs and the students who have entrusted us with expanding their skills and knowledge.

You can learn more about my experience, skills, interests, and knowledge by checking out my Position Statement for the COABE elections. I am also on LinkedIn.

I sincerely look forward to meeting you and discussing our important work as we strengthen an already vibrant national organization. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, concerns, ideas, or hopes for COABE that you would like me to share with our Board of Directors.

Tom Nash
COABE President-Elect


I am a newbie to COABE, and was overwhelmed by the scope and size of the 2015 conference. Our program sent two instructors, and we cast our nets wide by attending different sessions most of the time and comparing notes when we got back to our room. With a bit of focus and courage, I managed to use the COABE app to select and navigate through the sessions.

Every session I attended was professionally presented or facilitated, with wonderful takeaways we could use to strengthen our own HSE program. Even in familiar areas, the perspectives offered by presenters and participants refreshed and renewed the commitment I feel toward my students, and I gained knowledge and tools to increase my instructional efficacy.

Of particular interest to our HSE program were sessions on student-centered advising, integrated academic and certification instructional models, tutoring models, and courses designed around CCR performance standards. The conference provided an opportunity for me to capture success stories and bring them back for our team to consider as we wrestle with ways to meet the new WIOA objectives.

As an HSE instructor, I also focused on sessions that would increase my efficacy. Integrating technology in the classroom is one of my biggest challenges, and there were more sessions to attend on this single topic (across content areas) than I could possibly attend. Mountains of helpful resources for instructors were offered in the sessions. The new challenge is to pick a few, try them out, and share them with my team.

I originally became a COABE member last year while working on my M.Ed., and was impressed by the research published in the quarterly journal. There’s no other central source for quality research on adult learners. After attending the 2015 conference, I’m committed to remaining a member. From here on out, my first choice of conferences to attend every year will be COABE!

Thank you for the scholarship!


COABE Partnering with State Directors

 Co-hosted 14 national conferences across the country
with 10 national-level strand partners
 Co-hosted 13 regional institutes
 13,000+ members strong, and growing
 37 state partners
 12 VIP Vendor partners



COABE Partnering with State Directors (PowerPoint)

COABE Partnering with State Directors (PDF)


Executive Committee/Voting Members of the Board

• President—Ms. Jackie Taylor (2013–2015)
• President Elect—Mr. Tom Nash (2013–2015)
• Past President—Ms. Renae Harrison (2013–2015)
• Vice President and Membership Chair—Ms. Deborah Phillips (2014–2017)
• Chief Financial Officer—Ms. Kathi Medcalf (2013–2015)
• Secretary—Ms. Polly Smith (2013–2015)

Regional Representatives/Voting Members of the Board

• Region 1—Ms. Deb Bomaster (2014–2017)
• Region 2—Mr. Don Finn (2013–2016)
• Region 3—Dr. Danielle Miles (2014–2017)
• Region 4—Ms. Jody Angelone (2013–2016)
• Region 5—Ms. Kim Olson (2014–2017)
• Region 6—Ms. Kaye Sharbono (2013–2016)
• Region 7 and Public Policy Chairs—Ms. Regina Suitt (2012–2015)
• Region 8—Dr. Nancie Payne (2012–2015)

Nonvoting Positions

• Awards, Incentive Grants, and Scholarships—Ms. Julie Kornahrens
• Historian—Ms. Sherrie Claiborne
• Journal Editor—Dr. Jim Berger
• Professional Development—Mr. Federico Salas-Insardi
• Strategic Planning/Special Projects Co-Chairs—Ms. Kim Rossman & Ms. Marilyn Schmidt
• Technology Chair—Nell Eckersley


• Executive Director—Sharon Bonney
• Coordinator—Michelle Chiles
• Clerical—Jessica Reals
• Clerical—Jeanette Prosser
• Clerical—Agoot Jok
• Support Staff—Tammy Reals
• Designer/Web Manager—Rob Lawrence

COABE Bylaws

Click the links below to view the COABE Bylaws.

COABE Bylaws (Word)
COABE Bylaws (PDF)