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 more than 50,000 active members in 2024. 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 have engaged more than 50,000 participants. Bonney spearheaded the development of 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 250,000 contacts with legislators at the local, state, and federal levels. These efforts staved off $200 million in funding cuts and added a $108 million increase in funding for adult education. In addition, Bonney successfully promoted a national two-time award winning campaign, Move Ahead with Adult Ed, to increase enrollments in local adult education programs that were hard hit by the pandemic. Moreover, she has diversified and increased revenue streams for the organization by envisioning, designing, and implementing many innovative strategies.