Introducing COABE's State Advocates for Adult Education Fellowship

COABE is looking for activists and leaders to champion the cause of adult education WIOA Title II programs. The State Advocates for Adult Education Fellowship (SAAEF) is a hands-on advocacy training program for adult educators, adult learners, and friends of adult education. During the yearlong program, fellows will learn how to work with the media, their communities, and policymakers to create change benefiting adult learners and adult education programs.

The Fellowship kicks off in March 2021 with remote orientation, advocacy training, and action which will take place at the COABE 2021 national conference. After receiving coaching and inspiration, fellows will speak directly with Members of Congress, governors, and their staff. Throughout the rest of the year, fellows will receive ongoing training via webinars and one-on-one coaching sessions. They will hone their advocacy skills, taking actions like writing letters to the editor and meeting with their legislators.

SAAEF fellows are passionate, committed, everyday individuals that use their voices to influence political decisions that will impact the field of adult education in positive ways. Fellows receive training, support, and inspiration to become skilled advocates to effectively advise policy makers, guiding them toward decisions that enable lawmakers, the media, and funders to make decisions that support adult education. SAAEF fellows realize the incredible power they possess to use their voices to change the world.

As an SAAEF Fellow you will:

  • Receive training and support over 12 months to become a powerful advocate for adult education.
  • Write pieces that get published in the media.
  • Learn how to influence your Member of Congress and governors on issues specific to adult education.
  • Become a skilled organizer who mobilizes local programs to respond to “calls for action.”
  • Work with the local ambassadors in your state to ensure adult learners’ voices are heard at legislative meetings and lifted up by the media.
  • Attend the COABE Conference in March 2021 and related spring Capitol Hill Day.
  • Lead your state during the fall 2021 Family Literacy Week.
  • Receive a press release and certificate of completion. COABE will also serve as a resource for future reference checks.
  • If you have a passion for our field and would like to educate the public and elevate the field of adult education, this position may be for you!

$1,000 will be awarded upon completion of the one-year fellowship.


1/15-1/31: Fellowship applications period
2/1-2/15: Applications reviewed by Public Policy Committee
3/1: Fellowship notification to cohort
3/18: COABE Conference Formal Fellowship Launch – Session 1
3/25: COABE Fellowship Launch – Session 2

Please email with any questions.

Read the SAAEF Position Description

Congratulations to the Fellows that have been selected for the State Advocate for Adult Education Fellowship! 

Meet the SAAEF Fellows



Shelby Luna    
Northwest-Shoals Community College


Alaska Adult Education Association   


Sara Haghighi 
Pima Community College


Kathleen Dorn
Fort Smith Adult Education


Diana Arellano
Sweetwater Union High School District-Adult Division, Chula Vista Adult School

Robert Lynch  
Tri-Community Adult School

District of Columbia       

Dirk Keaton    
So Others Might Eat Center for Employment Training


Susan Milstead Winters         
Escambia County School District


Chad H. Okinaka        
Waipahu Community School for Adults Hilo and Kona Campuses


Erin Vobornik 
Elgin Community College


Jennifer Wigginton    


Jennifer Doke-Kerns   
Des Moines Area Community College


Donna Munsch
Salina Adult Education Center


Erron Prickett 
Jefferson Community and Technical College Skills U


Connor Chauveaux 
South Louisiana Community College


Catherine Giuffre-Renaud     
Windham Raymond Adult Education


Tammy Brown
Troy Continuing Education


Shanna Cole   

Bronwyn Robertson   
Mississippi Community College Board


Autumn Burton
Literacy KC


Natasha I Gonzalez    
Central Community College


Raquel Johnson          
Western Nevada College – ACCEL

New Jersey

Peg Gould       
Mercer County Community College

New Mexico         

Michelle Ribeiro        
Adult Education Division, New Mexico Higher Education Department

Jamie Trujillo
Albuquerque Adult Learning Center, Inc.

New York   

Lisa A Lee       
Literacy West NY, Inc.


Salome Harris
Cuyahoga Community College Aspire Program


Paula A Elliot  
ORO Development Corporation HEP Program


Cybele Higgins
Lane Community College


Marcus Hall    
Community Learning Center

South Carolina     

Yvottonne Renee’ Rivers       
Dorchester County Adult Education


Alex Beene     
Tennessee Adult Education


Jacqueline Aguilera   
Mayor’s Office for Adult Literacy – Houston

Audrey A. Nelson 
College of the Mainland


Joshua Bell     
Horizonte Instruction and Training Center


Katherine Stamper     
Vermont Adult Learning Inc


Richard T. Cowan       
Centralia College

West Virginia        

Beth Rehberger
Jefferson County Schools


Lori Koenig   
Wisconsin DOC