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.