2007 AALL Awards
Gary Eyre Lifetime Achievement Award - Linda Mead
Linda has been a teacher, a supervisor, a director, and a lifelong learner in adult education for over 30 years. The message she always reminds her fellow teaching peers is that students come to school with many strengths and are richly diverse in life experiences, and that the job of adult educators is to provide the resources students need to become self sufficient and meet their goals for a better quality of life. Her contribution to adult education is immense. She has touched the lives of thousands of students, hundreds of teachers and colleagues, and even those who have attended her training workshops who do not know her at all. Linda is the program director for Adult Education in Mesa Public Schools. She also works closely with the family literacy programs in Mesa---the Family Tree and Toyota in the Schools. As a certified trainer for the National Center for Family Literacy, she presents family literacy and adult education training nationally to various school districts and conferences. She is a recipient of the Who's Who in America award, and she also has been recognized by her local school district and staff. On the state level, she has served on the Arizona Adult Education Standards Design team and is a recent graduate of the first adult education graduating class of the Professional Development Leadership Academy (PDLA). Her contributions to the field that we all love so much are expansive, but she gets embarrassed if anyone calls attention to the work she has done. I am continually learning from her.
Linda is a veteran and master teacher; and because of this, she realizes the importance of continuing to learn and grow. For those of us who know her well (and she tells us often that "you really don't know me"), she exemplifies the concept of lifelong learning, always looking for new avenues to learn the newest techniques and research. She just completed her Sheltered English Immersion Endorsement through Grand Canyon University, and she has recently been trained in the Toyota In the Schools program for linking adult education and children's education to family success. As a wonderful facilitator of training sessions, she passes on the information to her colleagues and peers in the field of adult education, personalizing the information to fit each individual format. She is a story teller and she uses personal examples in her training to bring the information to life. She has often said that she learns more in those trainings from the participants than she gives out as the facilitator.
Linda has been an active member of AALL since 1991, and has served 4 terms as a member of the executive board of AALL. For the past two years, she has been co-editor of the AALL newsletter.
Linda has a Bachelors degree from the University of Texas in Austin, and a Masters from Northern Arizona University. She also has completed post graduate work at UCLA and Pepperdine Universities in California. Linda's teaching career began in 1968, teaching English in an inner city school in the Los Angeles School District. She realized at an early age that she loved working with high school students "on the fringes"---perhaps at risk of failure because they did not fit the mold of the traditional school. This led her into teaching GED and creating a life skills curriculum for helping at risk high school students find a way to succeed in ways that worked for them. As she transitioned from high school to adult education, her passion grew in wanting to help adult learners set and meet their goals, performing at their full potential. Becoming an adult educator was a life changing event for Linda! For the next three decades, she devoted her time and skills to adult education and the many students whose lives she touched. Her contributions to the field of adult education are many, serving both in California and Arizona. She has taught ESOL, ABE, GED, Citizenship, Workplace Literacy, and Life Skills to adult learners. She has also many workshops for teachers in the areas of adult literacy and reading, language and writing, lesson planning, formal and informal assessment, cultural diversity, and understanding the culture of poverty. For 13 years she has served as a mentor, technical and adult education advisor for family literacy programs around the State, and more recently has served as the Adult Education Director for Mesa Public Schools. In 2008, At the end of this school year, Linda will retire from her position in adult education and will leave the job she has loved so much for so long. But I am sure that we have not seen the end of Linda---she will always have a hand in supporting adult education---even on a part time basis.
Adult education has changed so much in the past 10 years, and Linda has always been involved with the changes---both at the local level as well as the State level. She has served on task forces which impact change and she is always ready to take the challenge and try out new ideas and innovations. She has admitted to me that she loves a challenge and is not afraid of change---in fact, she thrives on it. Her pet peeve is when people say, "This is the way we have always done it." The progress and growth comes in challenging ourselves to grow and try new ideas. This is important charge that we have, and we cannot become stagnant.
If you know Linda, you know that she is passionate about this important work that we do, and her energy and enthusiasm is contagious to all of us who work with her. Her knowledge and expertise are an invaluable resource to the adult education community. Though her presence will be missed in the adult education arena, her messages and wisdom will be preserved by the many teachers, students and colleagues she has touched throughout her long career.
Linda firmly believes professional development creates more effective teachers Not only does Linda participate in several workshops and training each year, she also presents workshops to students and staff in Mesa. Her workshops are planned with careful attention. Linda is a master trainer, effectively transmitting new information while modeling solid adult education teaching strategies.
Linda is an incredible resource to the field of adult education and a true lifelong learner!
Lifelong Learning Advocate Award - Luisa Hernandez
Luisa Hernandez has not only encouraged thousands of adults in the field of adult education, she is also a lifelong learner herself. She has served for 15 years as the Director of Pima College Adult Education’s El Pueblo Liberty Learning Center. El Pueblo offers basic education classes (English as a Second Language, GED Preparation, and U.S. Citizenship) to over 3,500 adults each year. In spite of the work of running this large and vibrant center, Luisa insists on teaching a class each semester. Her dedication to students is fierce, as is her commitment to her staff. The five support staff members of El Pueblo are Latina women whom Luisa mentors daily—as with her students, she challenges and encourages her staff to take every opportunity to learn and grow, trying out new systems and technologies. While serving as the Center Director, Luisa worked with students and staff to lobby the Tucson Mayor, the Pima County Board of Supervisors and the Tucson City Council to raise $1.5 million to build the new El Pueblo Liberty Learning Center. Luisa’s advocacy in this effort was essential to its success. The building now stands at Irvington and South Sixth as an educational hub for Latino adults living on the south side of Tucson .
In addition to leading programs for Pima College Adult Education (as noted above), Luisa has also been part of every initiative throughout the state of Arizona for the last 15 years. She served on the Steering Committee for the new Adult Education Standards, has led PCAE’s involvement in the PDLA, and she currently serves as the President for AALL. Her commitment to AALL has included expanding the traditional conferences and increasing membership in the organization.
Luisa Hernandez has been a powerful advocate for education and an outstanding role model throughout her life. Of Puerto Rican descent, Luisa was the first of her family to finish high school and go on to college. After serving as a Sergeant in the U.S. Army from 1977-1980 and completing her B.A. degree in Secondary Education and English as a Second Language, Luisa worked for many years as a Master Teacher at Big Bend Community College in Manheim, Germany, where she coordinated adult education class offerings to meet the needs of a military and civilian community of 56,000 Americans. In 1991, Luisa completed her M.A. degree in Public Administration at Troy State University .
Since moving to Tucson in 1992, Luisa has become increasingly involved as a leader in her community. She has served as the Director of Pima College Adult Education’s El Pueblo Learning Center since that time.
In addition to leading the educational effort for the students of El Pueblo, Luisa has also taken a leadership role in the larger community. In 1994, she became a member of the Tucson Women’s Commission, serving as Vice-Chair in 1997 and Chair in 1998. She was also Chair of the Women’s Commission Young Women’s Leadership Program for its first two years. In 1995, she joined LULAC and chaired the workshop portion of its annual El Centro Cultural de las Americas Mujer 2000 conference for three years. She was on the Steering Committee for the LULAC Youth Leadership Conference. She graduated from the United Way ’s Multi-Cultural Leadership Development Program and served on its Steering Committee. At Pima College , she has served on the Staff Council, the Minority Student Issues Advisory Committee, and the Developmental Education Committee—in all venues she has taken the opportunity to affect change in the College and support minority students. In 2005, Luisa attended a month-long intensive training at the Kellogg Institute to learn more about developmental education students and ways to help students move into college-level work. In 2002, she was awarded the Tucson YWCA Woman on the Move Award.
Luisa’s commitment and dedication to the adult education community and the field of lifelong learning is truly extraordinary.
Award of Excellence - Garry Cox
Garry Cox is a real veteran of adult education who has greatly benefited the Rio Salado College ABE Program starting in 1997 when he was hired as a part time instructor and placed at a very busy learning center in south Phoenix . Garry originally put his background as a high school English and math teacher to use in the GED classroom. Later he ventured into the world of ESOL. His experience really helped to solidify the center’s instructional staff which was being challenged by a growing student headcount.
In 1999 Rio Salado College received a contract with the Department of Corrections (ADC) to provide literacy services at a newly built prison in southwest Maricopa County . Garry was hired as a full time teacher and remained there for the next two years. While he was there his instructional skills helped demonstrate to the ADC the value of contracting out for literacy services. In the fall of 2000 Rio Salado College ’s ABE Program lost a very experienced learning center coordinator. It happened to be at the south Phoenix center where Garry had worked before. He applied for and was hired into the center coordinator’s position as of December 2000. Because the previous coordinator had been in her position for a very long time, Garry faced the immediate task of proving to the center staff that he was capable of filling her shoes. Garry fulfilled that task and he continues in that position today. Garry understands that the students are his center’s primary customer so over the years he has reviewed the services offered to the students and, when beneficial, has led his staff in efforts to modify the class schedule and the registration and orientation process to better serve his students. This is no small accomplishment in a large learning center that has served over 2000 students in a typical year. Not only does Garry assist the ABE Program by running a large learning center but also helps by attending monthly Program Management meetings at which decisions are made that determine how the program is going to operate.
Garry provided invaluable assistance to the ABE Program two years ago when we were asked to move the learning center out of its longtime location due to their need for the space. After a long search for a new location Garry led the actual effort to move the learning center books and materials, students, and staff into a new location. It was a huge task but today the location is a wonderful, active, full-fledged learning center and Garry’s leadership was a primary factor.
Beyond the excellent instructional activities that occur daily in the center Garry has offered the center’s space to help others. Just last week Garry made space in his learning center available for an AALL board meeting. And when the ADE needed a large location with technology available for last year’s Student Leadership Conference, they turned to Rio ’s ABE Program and Garry offered up the use of his center.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the fact that Garry can always be counted on to assist with the ABE Program’s annual GED Graduation. Not only does he volunteer but he is given the most challenging task to do. He has to organize and line up the many graduates and lead the processional and recessional.
Yes, Rio ’s ABE Program, the ADE, and the whole field of adult education have greatly benefited from Garry.
Garry’s outstanding contribution to promote lifelong learning begins with the length of time he has worked in this field. The first section spoke of Garry’s adult education work in Arizona but he started his career in lifelong learning back to 1973 in Michigan when he began administrating a GED program with a neighborhood drug treatment program in Detroit . In 1978 began teaching GED classes in and coordinating a vocational training program with the Detroit Public Schools. That continued through 1996 until he relocated to the Phoenix area in 1997 and obtained employment with the Rio Salado College ABE Program. That’s almost thirty-five years in the business!
We can also pinpoint specific events and activities that Garry has engaged in during his time as learning center coordinator with Rio Salado College that demonstrate his commitment to lifelong learning. Garry recognizes that professional learning has become a major focus for all ABE Programs in Arizona . To assist the program in implementing the new form of National Staff Development Council standards-aligned professional learning, Garry became a member of the ABE Program’s Professional Development Leadership Academy (PDLA) team. PDLA is a three-year project that requires over twenty days of attendance at ADE or program meetings and trainings each year, as well as projects. This represents a major commitment on Garry’s part and the ABE Program is grateful for his dedicated, hard work.
The Arizona Association of Lifelong Learning (AALL) is the primary organization that represents students and lifelong learning professionals in Arizona . Garry has served on its board for several years and has already served a three-year stint as President-Elect, President, and Past-President. He remains on the board today.
Everyone has heard of the National Honor Society, but few people are familiar with the National Adult Education Honor Society. Rio ’s ABE Program has always been a leader in regards to NAEHS. It has held an annual induction since 1995 and it takes it very seriously. Every year a committee is formed to plan and carry out the induction. Garry has served on the committee many times, and more significantly has often been the Master of Ceremonies, putting to use his background in speech and drama. What better way to demonstrate the rewards of lifelong education?
One group achievement I know Garry is proud of is when his learning center staff was selected by the Maricopa Skill Center as their year’s entry into the District’s Innovation of the Year Award.
The Division of Adult Education was similarly impressed with his staff during the 2006 Arizona Adult Literacy Week Event Challenge. Garry’s center staff won the grand prize in the group activity category and they received a $1000 prize which the staff used to send three instructors to a National Staff Development Council (NSDC) Conference where they learned about ways of delivering professional learning activities aligned to the NSDC standards. This helped give them a head start on learning communities and study circles and so on.
On a very personal level, Garry is a sprinter and distance runner who regularly fares well in his age bracket at track meets.