The 2018 Rendezvous

From Here to Anywhere: Innovation, Opportunity, and Action


Adam Springwater

  • Educational Testing Service (ETS) HiSET Senior Manager, HiSET Program

Adam Springwater is responsible for overseeing the HiSET Program at the state level. He serves as the main point of contact for state clients, and provides HiSET information for adult education programs and other stakeholders. Prior to joining ETS, Adam worked with several HSE exam preparation companies, developing and marketing instructional tools. Adam has presented at numerous national and regional conventions, and to a wide range of adult education audiences. He received a B.A from Grinnell College and teaching credentials from Dominican College and Sonoma State University.

  • ETS High School Equivalency Testing (HiSET®) Program Updates Tuesday, Session 1, Bentley upstairs

Alexandra Soto

  • Spring Institute for Intercultural Learning Outreach & Adult Education Program Coordinator

Alexandra Soto is the Outreach & Adult Education Program Coordinator for Spring Institute for Intercultural Learning. She has been providing quality services to adult learners for four years and has helped to improve program retention and engagement, among other measures. Alexandra has provided outreach and marketing for small business, including website management, event outreach, and development of marketing strategies. Part of her role with Spring Institute includes managing the Facebook page, preparing monthly newsletters, and developing annual reports and other promotional materials.

  • Engaging Learners thru Social Media & Free Marketing Tools Wednesday, Session 8, Ballroom A

Allie Needham

  • Spring Institute for Intercultural Learning Student Navigator / ELA Instructor

Needham is the Student Navigator / ELA Instructor at Spring Institute. She has taught and studied ESL in Asia and the U.S., working primarily with adult students of diverse cultures. Needham implements the practical use of technology in her lessons to support students in career readiness skills.

Easterday’s background includes teaching and program management in ESL, Adult Edu., International Edu. and Academic Advising across continents. She has worked with immigrant and refugee students in various fields of study. Her skills include assessment, curriculum development and teacher training.

  • Using Online Distance Learning with Adult ESL Students to Enhance Program Outcomes Tuesday, Session 1, Ballroom A

Anne Petti

  • Community College of Aurora Director, Center for Workforce Development

Ms. Petti graduated with an M.A. in TESOL from Michigan State University. She has taught ESL in the U.S., as well as overseas. For over 5 years, she worked as a Manager in the Adult Education program at Pima Community College in Tucson, AZ. In her current position as Director of the Center for Workforce Development at the Community College of Aurora, she oversees the High School Equivalency (GED), Community ESL, Citizenship, and Bridge programs. In addition to being a language teacher, she is also a language learner. Over the years, she has become proficient in four languages besides English.

  • A Tale of Two Career Pathway Programs Tuesday, Session 2, Ballroom B
  • A Tale of Two Career Pathway Programs Wednesday, Session 7, Ballroom B

Brenda Gierczak

  • Community College of Aurora Instructor

Ms. Gierczak has an MA in Organizational Management. She works in the HSE program at the Community College of Aurora (CCA) teaching Language Arts and Social Studies.

Ms. Graham has an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction. She works for the CCA in the HSE program, for Aurora Public Schools teaching homeschool children and teaches inmates HSE at the Denver Jails.

Paige Wenzivsky holds an MS in Special Education from the University of Northern Colorado. She currently serves as an ABE instructor with CCA’s HSE program both on ground and online.

  • Developing an integrated curriculum project in math and language arts using the CCR Standards. Tuesday, Session 3, Ballroom D 1

Cedric Lindsay

  • The Learning Source Student Success Coach

Being welcomed into The Learning Source as Student Success Coach, Cedric has experience in K-12 education, Colorado Community College Systems, and Adult Education. Previously with the Adams 14 Adult Learning Center, he taught all levels of adult education and worked to further career services through developing business relationships, resume preparation, and creating student-centered workshops. Most recently, working for The Learning Source, building connections with community leaders and businesses while helping adult students increase persistence and discover their potential.

  • Growth Mindset Wednesday, Session 5, Ballroom C

Chelsea Beard

  • Arapahoe Douglas Works! Workforce Center Disability Resource Coordinator

Hi! I am Chelsea Beard, Disability Resource Coordinator at Arapahoe Douglas Works! Workforce Center. I started at ADWorks! as a Career Services Advisor working on the RESEA and TAA programs. I was very excited when the DEI grant came along and knew that being a DRC would be the perfect fit for me because I have a background in Special Education!

With the funds from the DEI grant, I hope to implement financial literacy and education programs to AD Works, as well as increase access to the workforce system for individuals with disabilities.

  • Disability Employment Initiative: An Innovative Approach to Working with Individuals with Disabilities Tuesday, Session 4, Ballroom B

Danielle Ongart

  • Colorado Department of Education Director of Adult Education

Dr. Suzie Carmack, PhD, MFA, MEd, is a Principal Communication and Well-Being Researcher at American Institutes for Research (AIR). She has 28 years of experience working internationally in the strategic communication field, as well as 26 years of concurrent experience as a curriculum developer, college-level teacher, and professional development trainer. At AIR she brings research into real-world practice by exploring ways that communication, mindfulness and compassion can improve workplace performance, productivity, engagement and well-being outcomes in healthcare, education and military contexts.

Dr. Marcela Movit, PhD, is a researcher at AIR with expertise in the areas of adult learning and professional development and training. Through her recent work in California, Nevada, and Texas, she has supported state and local adult education programs’ efforts to improve instruction for greater student outcomes. She also recently led the technical assistance task on the Improving Adult English-Language Instruction project, which helped to build state’s’ capacity to improve and sustain the effectiveness of adult English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers. Dahlia Shaewitz, Managing Director, AIR, is the Practice Area Director for Disability and Rehabilitation with the goal of improving competitive employment outcomes for qualified adults with disabilities. She also directs projects to support accountability, research, and professional development for the adult literacy field. She is also the deputy project director for the national accountability system for adult education funded through the U.S. Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE), for which she provides policy guidance and support to Federal and state agencies, and designs and implements training on accountability issues including changes due to the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. She recently developed an online training course for the New York State Literacy Zones case managers to improve data quality and use. Ms. Shaewitz supported the Preparing Adult English Language Learners for Rigorous College and Career Ready Standards project through a task to review the alignment of these standards to the current accountability system educational functioning levels.

Danielle Ongart is the Director of Education for Adult Education Initiatives for the state of Colorado. She has dedicated her career and personal life to improving systems and processes with the goal of creating more equitable outcomes, and she has deep expertise in education policy at all levels of government, as well as experience improving access for traditionally underserved communities.

  • Colorado Adult Education: a Participatory Workshop for Innovation, Opportunity and Action Tuesday, Session 3 & 4, Ballroom C

Debbie Goldman

  • Intercambio Uniting Communities Teacher Trainer

Debbie Goldman has over 30 years of experience teaching English to students of all ages and levels. She is currently in charge of teacher training at Intercambio Uniting Communities, where she develops and delivers both pre and in-service training to about 250 volunteers each year. She is a certified trainer for the SIT TESOL Certificate course and has trained teachers both abroad and in the US. Debbie has a BS in Spanish and Linguistics from Georgetown University as well as an MA in TEFL.

  • Expanding Your ESL Toolkit Wednesday, Session 6, Ballroom A

Donna Kapp

  • FSI/Community College of Denver Coordinator, Academic Transitions

Donna discovered her passion for adult education while volunteering at EGTC almost 15 years ago. Since then, she has earned a Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA) and a Master’s degree in Adult Education. She’s taught ABE, community and college level ESL, including Business English in Mongolia, managed training programs for refugees, and written contextualized curriculum for adults transitioning into careers and college-level studies. Topics she is currently exploring include experiential learning, growth mindset, and student success and retention strategies.

  • Learning is Hard: Growth Mindset in Adult Education Tuesday, Session 4, Ballroom D 1

Dorothea Steinke

  • NumberWorks LLC owner

Dorothea Steinke is an adult numeracy specialist with over 10 years experience teaching math to adults. She presents frequently at local/regional/national conferences, including a guest presentation on LINCS. She currently serves on the board of the Literacy Coalition of Colorado and is the Colorado representative of the Adult Numeracy Network.

  • How Big Is It? Wednesday, Session 7, Ballroom A

Ellen Klement

  • Foundational Skills Institute @ CCD HSE Instructor

Ellen was a counselor before embarking on a teaching career. Completing her MA in Somatic Psychology in 1998, Ellen uses the skills she learned working with trauma survivors to help students overcome their anxieties about learning to empower them towards successful outcomes in the classroom and life. Starting out as an ESL volunteer in 2001, Ellen has been a classroom teacher for the past eight years. She loves the innovation and flexibility required to address all the different brains within her classroom.

  • Emotions in Motion Wednesday, Session 8, Ballroom B

George O'Clair

  • Cargill/MCC Director of Workplace Education

I worked with 14 different corporations to find out what was needed in in their company and how the education system could help. I work directly with Cargill’s training specialist to develop classes to meet the needs of the public.

  • Panel of Students Ambassadors and their barriers. Tuesday, Session 2, Ballroom D 1
  • Trade classes all students know this before entering into class. Wednesday, Session 6, Ballroom B
  • Education, Working inside a corporation. Wednesday, Session 7, Ballroom C

Jessie Hawthorn

  • ACSD 14 Adult Learning Center Coordinator

Jessie Hawthorn has been working with adult learners since 1998. She trained adult educators around the state while at CDE from 2008-14. Jessie, and co-presenters, Bethany Macarus and Natalia Devlin, have graduate degrees with a focus on language acquisition. Jessie taught at universities in Ethiopia and Mexico. Natalia taught at a university in Russia and studied in Germany. She is fluent in Russian and German. Bethany taught at a university in China and a community college Illinois and speaks Chinese. Bethany serves as the Learning Lab Coordinator at ACSD14 Adult Learning Center.

  • Online Learning - Yes, you can! Tuesday, Session 1 & 2, Ballroom C

Leann Kaiser

  • Colorado State University Assistant Professor

Leann Kaiser holds a Ph.D. in adult and post-secondary education from the University of Wyoming, a M.S. from Arizona State University, and a B.S. from the University of Wyoming. Leann’s teaching and research interests encompass adult teaching and learning theory, learning transfer, experiential learning, and distance student educational experiences. Leann has taught in the fields of adult education and outdoor education at the post-secondary level since 2001. Her other professional experience includes work in natural resource education programming and public land management.

  • Experiential Learning Step By Step: How to Plan and Facilitate Using This Powerful Teaching Method Wednesday, Session 5 & 6, Ballroom D 1
  • I'm Not a “Theory” Person: Practical Ideas and Applications to Help YOU Use Theory to Improve Your Teaching Wednesday, Session 8, Bentley upstairs

Liz Lanphear

  • GED Testing Service State Relationship Manager

Liz Lanphear has over ten years of experience in Adult Education serving as a GED Examiner, Adult Basic Education Instructor, Program Coordinator, Program Director, and as the Kansas State GED Administrator with Kansas Board of Regents prior to starting with GED Testing Service. Liz has a Master degree in Adult Education from Kansas State University.

  • Promises Kept: GED® Innovation: New Tools and Resources for Students and Educators, and Updates on GEDWorks, Student Outcomes and Postsecondary Success Tuesday, Session 2, Bentley upstairs

Marsea Wynne

  • Community College of Denver Accelerated Program Navigation Coordinator

Marsea helps adult learners navigate the Accelerated career pathways program for the Foundational Skills Institute (FSI) at CCD. In 2015 she was tasked with implementing the CCD State Adult Education & Literacy grant, which served as a pilot for FSI’s current integrated education and training program design. She is actively involved in the adult education community, along with workforce and community service organizations. She enjoys collaborating with navigators and instructors from multiple adult education programs.

  • Career Pathways Navigators Meeting Wednesday, Session 6, Ballroom C

Martin Loa

  • BurlingtonEnglish Customer Manager

Martin Loa currently serves as Customer Manager in Colorado for BurlingtonEnglish. Previously he served as Vice President of Program Services for Houston Center for Literacy the Mayor’s Commission on Adult Education. Where he supported the literacy organizations, engaged the community to join efforts in solving Houston’s low literacy problem, and connected adult learners to literacy providers.

  • Preparing your adult learners for success in the workforce Tuesday, Session 3, Bentley upstairs

Sarah Wilkins

  • Kentucky Educational Television (KET) Director, Adult Education and Workforce Training

Dr. Sarah Wilkins is the Director of Adult Education and Workforce Training at Kentucky Educational Television (KET). In this position, she is charged with overseeing the development, management, evaluation, and promotion of KET’s adult education endeavors, both in Kentucky and nationally. Before joining KET, Wilkins spent over 20 years as a teacher and administrator in postsecondary institutions. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in elementary education and a doctorate from the University of Kentucky in Educational Policy Studies and Evaluation.

  • Online Tools for Test and Work Prep Tuesday, Session 4, Bentley upstairs

Stephanie Lindberg

  • Community College of Denver- Foundational Skills Institute Learning Specialist

Stephanie Lindberg has been working in adult education for the last eight years. She currently teaches HSE classes at the Community College of Denver and college composition at Pikes Peak Community College.

  • Teaching Teachers How to Tech Tuesday, Session 2, Ballroom A
  • Teaching Teachers How to Tech Wednesday, Session 5, Ballroom A

Talya Clay


Talya Clay (CELTA certified) has been dedicated to language learning since 1999 in a variety of settings including public schools and libraries as well as private language schools and companies. Her love of language and culture have taken her to Paraguay, Spain, and Brazil for extended stays. She is proud to be raising bilingual daughters in her own Brazilian Portuguese language lab in Seattle.

  • Preparing Students for Success in the 21st Century with authentic National Geographic content Wednesday, Session 5, Bentley upstairs

Tara Keily

  • Aztec Software Regional Account Manager

Tara Keily has been with Aztec Software since July 2016. Previously to joining the Aztec team, she has been serving the education market for over 15 years. During her tenure in the education market, she has worked with the K-12 division, workforce development, adult basic education and the private sector as an educational sales consultant. She joined Aztec Software because she has a passion for adult education and believes the future success of the adult student in the workforce depends on the student being familiar with computer and technology.

  • Practice for Knowledge Acquisition Towards GED Success Tuesday, Session 3, Ballroom B
  • Practice for Knowledge Acquisition Towards GED Success Wednesday, Session 7, Bentley upstairs

Teona Shainidze Krebs

  • Pikes Peak Library District Adult Education Head

Teona Shainidze Krebs is the Adult Education head for Pikes Peak Library District. She provides leadership and facilitation for a multi-site adult education program. She works with community support organizations, assuring the importance of education and related services are promoted throughout PPLD’s service area. Teona is a CAEPA board member, and a corresponding member of Library Services to Multicultural Populations at International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions. She was born and raised in Batumi, in the country of Georgia.

  • The Cooperative Enterprise: Facilitating Multilevel & Multidisciplinary Classes Tuesday, Session 1, Ballroom B

The Office of Adult Education Initiatives

  • Colorado Department of Education Director, Office of Adult Education Initiatives

The Office of Adult Education Initiatives team members are: Laura Anderson, Program Coordinator Amanda Brewer, Program Coordinator Fumnanya Camara, Re-engagement Coordinator Michelle Crawford, Office and Program Support Gaye Horne, Program Coordinator Galen Mitchell, Instructional Support & Professional Learning Coordinator Danielle Ongart, Director of Adult Education

  • CDE AEI Team Meet and Greet Tuesday, Session 1, Ballroom D 1

Valerie M. Gantzler

  • Community College of Aurora Coordinator, Accelerated Pathways to Success

Valerie Gantzler is the Accelerated Pathways to Success program coordinator at the Community College of Colorado (CCA). The program provides a bridge for students preparing for certificate programs, offers tutoring throughout the program, and assists students in obtaining employment post-graduation. Valerie has worked at CCA for three years in Colorado Adult Education and Literacy grant-funded programs and has spent over ten years in adult education. Due to her combined passion for teaching and data she also acts as the system administrator for LACES, TABE DRC, and Salesforce databases.

  • Who’s Your Data? Part II Wednesday, Session 5, Ballroom B