2003 AALL Awards
Gary Eyre Lifetime Achievement Award - Bill Hart
Bill Hart's involvement in lifelong learning has resulted in tremendous improvements in the delivery of adult basic education throughout the State of Arizona. His range of influence extends from Paige to Nogales and every small (and) large town in between. Over the past seven years, Bill has traveled to every school, every church basement, every cafeteria, every community center, every learning center, every parking lot where adult education classes are offered, and he has met with hundreds of teachers and dozens of program directors with the same enthusiastic question: How can we improve adult education programs for the people of Arizona?
Considering the scope of his accomplishments in recent history, it might be understandable to overlook the fact that Bill’s career as adult basic education teacher, administrator, literacy advocate, and change agent extraordinaire began long ago and far away. In fact, after receiving his BA in Education, Bill taught his first ABE class in 1971 in his home state of Iowa. In 1973 he moved to Arizona where he served as teacher and program director at the Maricopa Skill Center. Indeed his star was rising on the Arizona Adult Ed Horizon. But it was precisely at this point in his ascent that he turned his attention to another venture entirely. Perhaps encouraged by the fact that he holds a Maters Degree in Business Administration, Bill decided to try running his own business. Details are scarce but apparently the hassles of landlords and customers proved more than he bargained for. Fortunately for adult learners Bill returned to education with renewed vigor, forging a partnership between Rio Salado and DES by coordinating much needed jobs program.
In 1997, Bill brought his considerable experience to the Arizona Department of Education. For the last several years, he has served as the Program Manager for the Arizona Department of Education Division of Adult Education. New educational philosophies and new accountability policies provided both Bill and the department clear directives to bring about tangible improvements in ABE programs statewide. Fortunately for all of us Bill’s insight into the needs of these programs was backed by thirty years of hands-on involvement in every aspect of adult education: GED Preparation, ABE, ESOL, and Citizenship, as well as a wide range of program evaluation strategies. Bill applies the weight of this experience to every conversation and every suggestion for improvement. With guidelines and mandates in hand and bolstered by his personal commitment to improving the quality of education for every adult student in Arizona, Bill set about the business of producing measurable improvements in programs of all sizes and demographics.
Bill has worked tirelessly to bring to fruition the ambitious programs put forth by the Department of Education--improved services for students through Adult Education Standards, statewide training for teachers, a web-based data collection system, technology training for students, and training for instructors in learning disabilities. His ability to communicate the strategies necessary to attain these positive outcomes has resulted in tremendous gains for the hundreds of thousands of students who have benefited from Bill’s hard work and deep commitment.
Needless to say, you can’t work as an adult education professional in Arizona without running into Bill Hart. And if you run into him often enough, you’ll see that he does a lot of his work one on one. What strikes many of us about Bill is that he is a good listener. If you have a conversation with him, he’s much more apt to ask you about developments at your site than he is to offer advisement. You will quickly get that he genuinely cares about you as a person and respects you for the challenges you have already faced. Much has been made of Bill’s advocacy for students. More could be made of his advocacy for all of us who strive to make a difference in the lives of our continuing adult learners. We recently learned that Bill has long advocated for foster care children. Although his own children are out on their own, Bill has assumed the responsibilities of parenthood once again, becoming a foster dad to 16-year-old JR. This seems to be the essence of Bill Hart. Advocacy is one thing, but making a young man part of your family is another. Bill Hart has become a consummate leader because he has taken pains to not only instruct us in our efforts to improve, but also to welcome us into his family.
Lifelong Learning Advocate Award - Blair Liddicoat
Blair Liddicoat takes his professional responsibilities very personally, and so his professional life is a very important part of who he is. His teaching experience, involvement in professional organizations, his own educational experience, and the professional development opportunities he has taken all reflect Blair’s dedication to the profession of adult education.
Blair’s résumé includes eleven years teaching English in Korea (two years as a Peace Corp volunteer and nine years as a full-time instructor). Upon returning to the states in 1990, Blair became involved with the Rio Salado ABE program as a lead teacher. In 1991 he was promoted to Instructional Coordinator, later became a Program Coordinator and currently serves as Program Director. Blair serves on numerous committees for Rio Salado and is responsible for the ongoing professional development of the ABE staff.
While employed at Rio Salado Blair distinguished himself by serving as one of the original members of the Arizona State Standards Task Force for ESOL. He also participated on the Assessment Strategies Work Team that evaluated ESOL instruments and made recommendations to ADOE for instruments to be used in Arizona classrooms. He has also lent his time and expertise to professional organizations including the Arizona Association for Lifelong Learning and the Mountain Plains Adult Education Association both as a board member and as president of each organization. His contributions to adult education were recognized in 1999 when he received the MPAEA Award of Merit.
Blair attended the Institute for the Management of Lifelong Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and in 2000 he completed his master’s degree in Educational Leadership at Northern Arizona University. He is a regular presenter at AALL, MPAEA, and COABE conferences and is always willing to share his expertise with others.
Blair Liddicoat is highly regarded by his peers as someone who is sincerely committed to the success of adult students.
Award of Excellence - Susan John
Susan John began her career in Adult Education in 1971, at the Ohio Valley Technical Institute, a vocational school in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia, after receiving her Bachelor's of Arts Degree in Education from Ohio University. She later received her Master's Degree in Adult Continuing Education from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute. During this time, she edited and published a parents' handbook for the Washington D.C. area schools, as well as facilitator's manuals on various subjects for adult immigrant learners.
She began working for Rio Salado Community College's Adult Basic Education Program in 1987, teaching adult ARE, GED, and ESOL classes in the evenings. She became an Instructional Coordinator for the program in 1995. In this capacity, she supervises twelve very different sites and nearly thirty teachers and aides. Geographically, her area of responsibility stretches from Gila Bend to Buckeye to downtown Phoenix to Paradise Valley Mall. Each ofthese sites requires a great deal of sensitivity, organizational skill, time, and professionalism on Susan's part. She spends time researching the cultures and backgrounds of the people she serves, in an effort to make things run smoothly. She also spends many hours in her car, driving from site to site!
Her responsibilities include the Life Development Institute, a residential home where mentally disabled students learn life skills, as well as the Arizona State Mental Hospital. In Buckeye, she works with rural and migrant workers. She serves Native Americans at the Gila Bend Reservation and the Paiute Community Center. Susan also supervises classes in conjunction with the Arizona Department of Corrections, Maricopa County, the Cities of Phoenix, Guadalupe, and Gilbert, and the Department of Economic Security. Isaac and Littleton Family Literacy sites have blossomed under her direction, and classes at South Mountain Community College are also very successful.
In addition to her Instructional Coordinator's duties, Susan has also served the program as the New Teacher Trainer for new or struggling Rio instructors, a frequent presenter at Rio Staff In-services, photographer for the annual GEt;) graduation ceremony, and coordinator for the National Adult Honor Society awards review and ceremony. Susan has designed many forms for the program, one of which was the Teacher Evaluation Form. She recently developed a manual for new teachers and presented it at the last Rio Salado In-service as a training tool.
Adult Education is the focus of Susan's life. She provides superior customer service in working with diverse staff, administration, site managers, and students. She is constantly striving to determine the needs of her people and find solutions to any problems that arise. Despite her busy schedule, she never misses an awards ceremony at the sites she supervises. She stays each day until the job or paperwork is finished, even if it requires extra hours of work time. She is available to her teachers for questions, supplies, and suggestions. In short, Susan is a true professional and a great asset to our program.
Rookie of the Year Award - Dawn Johnson
Dawn Johnson is uniquely qualified to impact Adult Education be it as Rookie of the Year or simply as an exemplary Lifelong Learner. Seven years ago, having been away from school for nearly twenty years and with two teenage daughters yet to raise, Dawn embarked on a journey toward her Associate of Arts degree at Northland Pioneer College and her Bachelor's of Arts degree at Northern Arizona University. Because of a weakness in Math her journey started at The Learning Cornerstone, a Department of Northland Pioneer College that has accepted the challenge of creating programs for adult students who can only approach their academic goals through non-credit, developmental classes due to low scores on college placement tests. In this developmental math class she experienced support and assurance ftom people who believed she could succeed. Later, as the Learning Assistant in TLC she used this experience to get incoming students taking the college placement tes1; to push through the discouragement oflow test scores and the initial disappointment of not beginning their journeys in college level courses. Due in part to her success in motivating these students to work hard, reftesh their skills and achieve their goals as she did, Dawn recently received the Alumnus of the month award from Northland Pioneer College.
With her B.A. from NAU in hand Dawn will be teaching her second OED Plus class this fall. Dawn has taken the lead in opportunities offered through the Navajo County WorkforceInvestment Act and utilizing Northland Pioneer's College curriculum and faculty. Through the combination of this new delivery OED class with its area intensive format and Dawn's dedication toward her students, five out often students in the original class passed the OED test on their first try.
Dawn has served adult education as a federal work-study aide and as The Learning Cornerstone writing center aide. She now teaches one class a semester concurrently with coordinating the data for the ABE grant at Northland Pioneer College. This entails managing data from over 27 sites.
Maintaining consistent and valid data from the vast area covered by the Northland Pioneer college adult education program is a remarkable display of organizing and teaching skills. Her dedication to students, her leadership in OED, her ease in dealing with the many associate faculty and learning assistant peers, along with her innovative approach to data coordinating all combine to proclaim that Dawn Johnson will be a motivating force in Arizona Adult Education far beyond her Rookie years.