The Align & Redesign Initiative is backed by data driven, incorporates extensive research and years of professional experience. The team behind it has worked at every level of local and state delivery and administration. They know teaching, learning, and leading from the inside out. They have all the tools, techniques, and practice to help you create the success you seek.
THE ALIGN & REDESIGN NATIONAL TEAM
DR LAURA WEISEL has over 30 of years experience in primary through high school education, special education, community-based and institutional-based adult basic education, community college transition and developmental education, mental health and substance abuse services, and workforce development. She has held administrative and leadership positions at the local, state and national levels. In 2000, Dr. Weisel created a model leadership academy for emerging leaders at the John Glenn Institute for Public Service and Public Policy. The academy still continues and has been a prototype for creating the future leaders needed to move community-based services into the 21st. century.
Dr. Weisel holds degrees in Early and Middle Education, Reading, Special Education, Adult Learning, Neuro and Cognitive Psychology, and Research. She currently is an Executive Partner and Director of Research, Innovation, and Clinical Services at The TLP Group, devoting her time to systemic research, the development of innovative instructional tools, leadership coaching, redesigning service delivery, and advocacy.
Author of PowerPath to Education and Employment, numerous articles, and monographs, she has also created a KET/PBS series training the five steps in the PowerPath Process. Her work in redesigning service delivery led her to creating Transforming Learning and Innovating Instruction... a face-to-face and online-hybrid course leading to PowerPath certification with university credit options.
Dr. Weisel works with national, state, and local initiatives to implement innovative research driven practices leading to long-term education, career pathways, and workforce development outcomes. Partnering with leaders in the field of adult education, she co-created Align and Redesign as a holistic response for adult and literacy education to be powerful players offering innovative, evidence-based, and value-added services within their state and local partnerships.
As a Past-President of the National Association for Adults with Special Learning Needs and a prominent conference presenter, Dr. Weisel works to increase national awareness of at-risk youth and adults along with major changes in service delivery that can dramatically change lives.
"My career has been devoted to creating educational services that work for the individuals they serve. That has meant doing the out-of-the box research on why individuals struggle with learning and what can be done to minimize the impact of these challenges, building a model for adult educators on how the brain works to learn, examining allied fields for relevant research, and determining what must be done in adult education to support all students to become successful learners and workers.
My passion has led me to co-creating the tools to identify and manage learning challenges, innovating instructional methodologies, updating human resource capacity building within education and workforce development. Based upon this work, systems thinking, and Theory U, we now are prototyping new ways to deliver services that include working in partnerships with social services, children services, behavioral healthcare, and employment services.
I am pleased that WIOA has validated this path! Everything we’ve been doing with states and international initiatives has led The TLP Group and the Align and Redesign team to be ready to address all of the WIOA challenges. Align and Redesign will always be a work in progress – getting more exciting and successful with every state and every individual that takes the leap, co-creates new paradigms, and gets carried away with co-creating new ways that demonstrate significant increases in persistence and outcomes. Our research says...this approach works!"
JEFF FANTINE has been in the field of adult education and literacy for nearly 28 years. He is currently working as an independent consultant providing technical assistance to states and local programs across the country focusing on implementing career pathways strategies, and developing and delivering various types of training for administrators and instructors.
Before becoming a consultant, Fantine served as a Senior Project Director at Kratos Learning for two national projects: Designing Instruction for Career Pathways, funded by the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education, and Points of Entry, a career pathways initiative in corrections funded by the Open Society Foundations.
Prior to Kratos, Fantine was the State Director of Adult Education and Family Literacy at the Maine Department of Education, the Director of the Center for the Study and Development of Literacy and Language at Ohio University, a resource center that provided professional development to Ohio's Adult Basic and Literacy Education system, and a director of a local adult education program.
In addition to his current focus on building effective career pathways strategies, Fantine provides training to improve educational services for adult students with special learning needs, and implementing and using College and Career Readiness Standards. He has served two terms as the Vice President of the Commission on Adult Basic Education (COABE), and has recently served as the Vice President of the National Coalition for Literacy (NCL) and the Chair of the Association of Adult Literacy Professional Developers (AALPD).
From the moment I entered the field of adult education as a freshman in college looking for a part-time job and being hired as an administrative assistant for the local adult education program, I was hooked. I was immediately drawn to the students by their desire to overcome their struggles with learning and barriers that prevented prior educational achievement. I quickly became passionate in my efforts to help them achieve their goals. Since then, I have worked in the field as an instructor, a local program administrator, a director of professional development, a state director and a national trainer. I have worked tirelessly to help state leaders, program administrators and teachers build capacity and implement services that will best help our students achieve education, career and life success. Every time I get mired in the politics and bureaucracy of our field, I find a way to connect with students who remind me why I continue to forge ahead with my attempts to improve our field of adult education—it is the students who drive my passion in this work.
I have always been about finding the best ways to empower our students to help themselves, which requires students to be in the driver’s seat of their learning. I am motivated by innovation and finding new and improved ways of doing our work. About 7 years ago, as I was starting out as a state director, I began investigating the emerging trend of career pathways and found it exciting, relevant, necessary and long overdue. Career pathways require strategic and systemic transformation of our traditional models of education and training; they require that all education and training stakeholders come together to develop an efficient, intensive, seamless and aligned system of services; they require adaptable and flexible services that are driven by local demands and individualized needs and interests; but most importantly, they require relevant services that are intended to ensure that our students achieve academic, career and life success.
Being invited to participate on the training team for the Align and Redesign initiative has given me new inspiration and motivation for the work that lies ahead as a result of WIOA. One frustration for me for many years has been the silo approach we take when implementing all the necessary and required elements of our service delivery. What excites me about Align and Redesign is that it requires an integrated approach to implementing required and necessary elements and does so in the context of a sound, evidence-based educational philosophy for teaching and learning. I am encouraged by the early successes we have had with this initiative in helping program staff build a solid college and career readiness infrastructure and providing them with the right tools to expedite and ensure student persistence and achievement. In my mind, Align and Redesign is what the field has needed for a long time…it is the recipe for success…the transformation that is required of our services for a new day with new demands in our field…the time to jump on board this train and realize what adult education ought to be is now!
MERYL BECKER-PREZOCKI is an educator from Kentucky where she retired as Senior Associate from Kentucky Adult Education and enjoyed a 27½-year career as a teacher in the Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville. Meryl received her Bachelor’s in elementary education from the University of Illinois Chicago and her Master’s in special education from Illinois State University.
From 2009–2012, Meryl took the lead in Kentucky’s Transforming Learning and Innovating Instruction initiative. She continues to provide consultation to the initiative and takes an active role in on-site program transformation for adult education. In 2010, Meryl also took the lead in Kentucky’s Common Core Standards Professional Development for adult education. As part of a national pilot, Meryl’s leadership and wisdom brought a conceptual task to a reality by designing a series of professional development curricula in partnership with several universities. Meryl has served for more than two years as a Subject Matter Expert for the College and Career Standards Literacy Information and Communication System with the National LINCS Communities of Practice.
Ms. Becker-Prezocki is currently serving on the board of the National Association for Adults with Special Learning Needs. Throughout her career, she has been a passionate and tireless advocate for individuals with challenges. Meryl is known for always keeping a ‘students come first’ mindset in all of her national, state, and local work.
DR. MARGARET PATTERSON serves as a research and data consultant to the Align and Redesign National Team. She is currently Senior Researcher with Research Allies for Lifelong Learning in the Washington, DC, metro area (www.researchallies.org). She partners with non-profit organizations, postsecondary institutions, and state agencies, applying research to support adult educators and learners. She is the lead researcher for the national Adult Learner Leadership in Education Services (ALLIES) study for VALUE USA, the national organization governed by and for adult learners. She has also authored one of the first commissioned papers on U.S. adult learning using new PIAAC international survey data.
Previously she has administered and taught in adult education programs in Nebraska, Nevada, and Kansas and has presented extensively around the country. As Associate Director for Adult Education with the Kansas Board of Regents, she co-developed their first adult education data collection system and AEFLA state plan. In Washington, DC, she served as Research Director at GED Testing Service through 2011. She and the research team at GEDTS authored more than 20 research and statistical reports and initiated two major groundbreaking studies. Crossing the Bridge established a national college-going rate for GED credential holders for the first time, using records from more than one million test-takers. Perceptions and Pathways was a six-state qualitative study on transitioning GED credential recipients that was deemed the largest of its kind in the USA. She also serves as board secretary for the National Coalition for Literacy.
While the U.S. economy continues to recover, the need for adults to be prepared for family-sustaining careers is acute. The Georgetown Report projects that most of the jobs that the U.S. economy will create by 2018 will require workers with at least some college education. Simply put, career-ready adults can no longer end their education with a secondary credential or less.
Yet millions of American adults have stopped out of education. A new international study of adult learning, PIAAC, revealed that approximately 36 million U.S. adults lack even basic literacy, numeracy, and problem-solving skills. According to current U.S. Census figures, 1 in 7 adults has no high school diploma. However, adult education programs serve roughly 5% of the 36 million in need. A few very hard questions to ask are, how well are we in adult education serving them – are they fully engaged in their own learning? Are they persisting long enough to make outcomes? And what about the other 95% – what can we offer them when they seek to strengthen skills and find new careers?
The promise of Align and Redesign is in addressing these key questions. Its emphasis on viewing the big picture of adult education and all of its component systems is critical to positioning adult education for genuine change. It takes partnerships with many stakeholders – including adult education, workforce, and postsecondary partners – to make change happen. But above all it means a learner-centered approach to persistence and outcomes. A focus on persistence implies guiding adults as they explore their life and career options, actively engaging adults in their own learning, and supporting adults as they reach toward outcomes. Researching measures of the most relevant components of the system, as well as of persistence in and outcomes of adult learning, through Align and Redesign will yield useful findings for adult education throughout the USA.
MARCIA HESS received a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Northern Arizona University and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of California - Riverside. She worked eight years in elementary education in Riverside, California, five in Adult Education as a teacher and four of those as the Director of Evenstart Family Literacy in Fulton, Missouri.
Marcia was the director of the Missouri Literacy Association Professional Development grant which trained adult education teachers for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education along with a team of three other trainers.
In 2000, Marcia became the state Adult Basic Education director in South Dakota under the Department of Labor. Currently she serves as the State Adult Education Director under the Wyoming Community College Commission.
The Align and Redesign effort is the foundation we are setting to prepare adult education programs, administrators and staff to make the tremendous paradigm shift required under WIOA. My vision is to build a new more responsive educational system that engages adult students as equal partners in building their next economic opportunities and to strengthen their self-sufficiency.
TROY TALLABAS has a Bachelor’s degree in Technical Management with a focus in Project Management and is an avid believer in continuous, lifelong education. He is a youth sports coach and enjoys fitness activities, mountain biking, fishing, camping and motorcycles. He has been Wyoming’s HSEC Program Manager since January 2011 and assumed leadership of Wyoming Family Literacy in August 2013. He is humbled to lead from a strong faith-based position of integrity and service.
Troy graduated from high school and joined the Unites States Air Force hoping to see the world while defending our nation. He earned the U.S. Air Force Meritorious Service Medal and the U.S. Air Force Commendation medal while serving in a combat zone, the National Defense Service Medal twice, the U.S. Coast Guard's, “Spirit of the Chief" award the... highest Coast Guard Enlisted leadership award, and he was the Peterson AFB First Sergeant Of The Year for 2007. He retired from active duty in 2010.
For me, working with Align and Redesign is exciting because I know that our students, many for the first time in their academic experiences, really feel that they can finally make progress. The students now have hope and believe they are smart enough to be able to go on to higher levels... on to college, careers, and a successful life.
The families we serve come to us with low academic levels and many are in need of ESL services. These adults have had very little success navigating the deep water of academic achievement. Through the student-driven approach that we now use in our programs, they now learn how to be the expert about themselves. They focus on what they DO know instead of worrying about what they don't. They become encouraged and buy into SMARTER planning that helps them personally know how to create and build on growing their own knowledge. By following their SMARTER Plans they make real gains toward meaningful, relevant and measurable goals.
Wyoming Family Literacy Directors speak about their adult students who've told instructors that they really like the Participatory Learning methodologies now being used in our all of our Family Literacy centers. These methodologies engage students to work together and become a learning community. We now have learning communities in which students celebrate their successes together, encourage each other when there may be setbacks, and engage with each other to help everyone move forward at a rate quicker than any one student could individually. Bottom line, I am excited about Align and Redesign because it works!