2002 AALL Awards
Gary Eyre Lifetime Achievement Award - Maria Acevedo
Maria Acevedo’s dedicated work in the field of adult basic education for 28 years has been extraordinary. With unusual assurance, Maria has led a lifetime of commitment to adult education through her teaching, her advocacy, and her mentorship of thousands of individuals in Tucson, Arizona. Maria has worked tirelessly with some of the most underserved and economically disadvantaged people in our community to help them discover their own power and leadership, to become more economically self-sufficient and to better provide for their families.
As a long-time GED instructor, Maria pushes and prods, encourages and cajoles each of her students to become the best they can be. As a long-time Assistant Coordinator of PCAE’s El Rio Learning Center, Maria has played a pivotal role in leading the center to meet and surpass all of its goals. As a long-time advocate, Maria has tirelessly engaged in the civic life of the community. Over the years, Maria has organized hundreds of students to advocate at the legislature, to walk door-to-door with community concerns, to put bonds before the general public for increased funding for adult basic education, to protest unfair government policies, and to learn the way power works in Tucson. Thousands of students’ lives have been greatly enriched and enhanced by Maria’s gifts.
Maria Acevedo’s persistent and vehement efforts to secure the two adult education learning centers in Tucson will impact the future of the field of lifelong learning for generations of students to come. For many years, students had studied in dilapidated trailers, old elementary school buildings, and corners of neighborhood centers. Within these new centers, students from around the world learn English skills, develop basic education skills, become computer literate and learn to pass the GED so they can pursue their life’s dreams. The buildings are a long-term, fitting tribute to Maria and her colleagues’ grassroots advocacy.
Maria’s extensive work on the Arizona State Standards helped set the cornerstones for quality teaching, quality learning, and quality lives for current and future adult education students throughout the state of Arizona. The Arizona Adult Education Standards Project provides a framework for adult learners to maximize their potential in the community, family, and workplace: a goal Maria has been successfully contending with for 28 years. Perhaps the most important part of Maria’s work over the years is her mentorship of thousands of students and dozens of teachers. Everyone who comes to El Rio is inspired by Maria’s passion for education. She takes young and old students under her wing and encourages each of them to fly on their own. Latina women in her classes see her as a model for their future selves. Maria Acevedo has stayed the course in a field where the rewards come from the people she serves. Her broad accomplishments will impact the future of adult education for a long time.
Lifelong Learning Advocate Award - Virginia O'Rourke
Virginia O’Rourke has positively impacted lifelong learning in a number of capacities. Virginia has over 35 years teaching experience, almost all of it with adults in many varying classroom situations As an instructor she has taught various types of students in different settings. In the classroom she has strived to create a learning environment that is supportive, fun, challenging, and goal oriented for students. She has adapted teaching strategies to meet the needs of her students. The result has been the creation of a classroom environment in which students become motivated to succeed.
In 1995 Virginia began her employment with the Rio Salado College ABE Program as an instructor and Rio Salado College is fortunate that she has remained with us since then. Around1998 the Rio Salado College ABE Program turned to Virginia to add the title of Instructional Coordinator to her other duties. In this capacity Virginia has been responsible for the supervision, training, and evaluation of other instructors and making sure they properly fulfill their duties in the classroom. As a supervisor of other teachers, she has provided the training, support, and encouragement needed to help them succeed in the classroom. This has been particularly true for new teachers.
Virginia is all about serving others. As a team member, Virginia has attended monthly meetings of the Rio Salado College ABE Program for several years at which she helps make decisions that determine how the program will be run. She also has served on statewide task forces in which she made similar statewide contributions. As a trainer, Virginia has volunteered many hours of her time not only to be trained herself in new areas, but she has then put together sessions in which she has passed along her newfound knowledge to others in the field throughout the state. On the program level she has prepared for and presented at breakout sessions at the ABE Program’s teacher In-Services on numerous occasions. She has helped organize and plan the program’s National Adult Education Honor Society inductions for several years, and she has helped the field on a state level in a number of ways. She was selected as one of the original Standards Specialists by the Division of Adult Education. While others have ended their Specialist duties over the years, Virginia remains committed to continuing to provide this service to her peer lifelong learning practitioners. She was one of only two people in the state to be selected to receive several days of training in Florida last year on the GED 2002 tests.
It is obvious that Virginia excels at serving her colleagues in lifelong learning.
Gary Tang Memorial Award - Miriam Kroeger
Miriam Kroeger has assisted individual adult education programs in many ways, most noticeably in administration, instruction, and innovative services. Currently, she is an Adult Education Specialist at the Arizona Department of Education, which is at the forefront of Adult Education in Arizona. Until January, 2002, Ms. Kroeger was the Rio Salado Learning Center Coordinator at the Estrella Mountain Community College, Southwest Skill Center, in Avondale, Arizona. She worked diligently and tirelessly to ensure that residents in the community were successful in meeting their educational goals by taking the free ESOL, ABE, and ASE classes. She continuously sought ways to improve service and delivery and worked in a constructive manner with students, teachers, assistants, and volunteers.
Ms. Kroeger has also made outstanding contributions towards fostering the concept of education as a process continuing throughout life. In both her professional and personal life I have seen this. As the Rio Salado Learning Center Coordinator, many times I personally saw Ms. Kroeger encouraging students to persevere to reach their academic goals. She spent time with individuals to work with them to set realistic, attainable goals so that they would want to continue with their studies. In a similar manner, she kept the rest of the staff informed of professional conferences and trainings. As an Arizona Department of Education Standards Specialist, Ms. Kroeger helped us grasp these new concepts so that we can apply them to our instructional delivery. In her personal life, Ms. Kroeger “walks the talk”. She has been herself a student, taking both parts of a TESOL-sponsored Internet class on how to teach on the Internet. I believe she wanted to apply these new skills to create some classes for Internet delivery.
Lastly, Miriam A. Kroeger’s personal and group achievements are numerous. I know she spends many hours working “behind the scenes” as a leader in several of our Adult Education professional associations. Currently, she is a Board Member of both AALL and MPAEA. She is a Past President of AALL and was recently an Area Representative for TESOL. This year we reaped the benefit of her work as the MPAEA Chair for their conference that was held here in Arizona. Ms. Kroeger’s group achievements can best be seen when one looks at how the Learning Center grew in the past two years, thanks to her leadership.
Rookie of the Year Award - Shannon Newman
Prior to entering Adult Education fall 2000, Shannon Newman taught high school math for several years. Shannon is now beginning her third year in Adult Education. During her first year she plunged right in and rewrote the entire math curriculum (10 courses) to include the Arizona Adult Education Standards. She prepared math supplemental packets when texts did not cover all the Standards. She has developed in-service workshops for instructors district-wide to help them understand and teach the new adult education math standards. During her second year she led a workshop on the GED calculator use and on the new GED Math test.
Shannon has taken the lead in the College’s Developmental Services math curriculum. She updates student study guides and worksheets as needed. When Holbrook High School questioned the validity of our program’s curriculum, Shannon developed a table to compare NPC Adult Education Standards to grades 9-12 Standards to Holbrook High’s Standards.
In addition to teaching, Shannon serves on Northland’s College Placement Committee, the Committee for Assessment of Student Academic Achievement, and the Standards Subcommittee. Last year she served as a Faculty Senator representing faculty from her campus. Like all full-time instructors for NPC The Learning Cornerstone, Shannon supervises the Student Writing Center, a Learning Assistant and College Work Study Helpers at her campus. She also mentors several associate faculty both on-campus and in Sanders on the Navajo Reservation.
Shannon conducts herself in a professional manner. She is supportive and fair with her staff and her students. She enjoys attending professional developmental opportunities as time permits.
Shannon’s curriculum work and supervision of the Triumph School students are clear demonstrations of her professional excellence. She is a master teacher at the adult basic education level and at the college math level. Her ability to bridge the passage from ABE to college work is a real benefit to Northland’s students.