2019 CCAE State Award Winners

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Congratulations to our 2019 CCAE State Award Winners!

The George C. Mann Award, Donald C. McCune Award, Robert W. Rupert Award, Partner in Adult Education, Excellence in Teaching Awards, Excellence in Support Services Awards, and Life Membership Awards were presented at the 2019 CCAE State Conference on April 25-27, 2019 in San Diego, California at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina.

Darlene Neilsen


Ms. Darlene Neilsen entered the world of adult education in 1999 as an office clerk for Banning Community Adult School. In 2001, she was promoted to an office manager position and worked closely with numerous administrators to operate the school. Darlene started teaching computer operations and office occupations classes at Harbor Occupational Center in 2005. Darlene also worked part-time at the Division of Adult and Career Education’s Central Office to help develop the CTE curriculum and facility health and safety compliance. She fully transitioned to work for DACE Central Office as the CalWORKs advisor. Darlene coordinated with 34 adult schools to fulfill the federal and state obligations for that program. Due to her eye for detail, Darlene was appointed as the adult programs compliance advisor in 2013. Since then, the Division of Adult and Career Education has benefited greatly through Darlene’s organizational skills, institutional memory, and ability to work with different personalities. With her help, DACE has thrived despite the many changes adult education has gone through these past few years.

Darlene Neilsen began her CCAE service in 2000 as the site representative for Banning-Carson Community Adult School. At that time, the CCAE LAM South Chapter was the most active of sections and flourished because of the contributions that Darlene provided to help organize and coordinate their events. She volunteered her time to help with their awards dinners and section conference committees and then held the position of secretary and treasurer for the South Chapter. Darlene’s dedication to CCAE’s mission and goal has been solid and unwavering. She served as the state awards chair from 2009-2013. She was instrumental in implementing and streamlining the nomination process and the program that exists today. In 2012, Darlene was the recipient of the most prestigious LAM award, E. Manfred Evans, presented to teachers and administrators within the Los Angeles Metropolitan Section. Those that have had the pleasure of working with her learned how to do things faster, better, more methodical, and with a great attitude and outlook. Darlene is your quintessential optimist and her energy is contagious.

Susan Lytle Gilmore, Ph.D.


Dr. Susan Gilmore’s work experience in adult basic education includes coordinating and administering three different adult schools within the Sacramento City Unified School District. She ensures that staff is well trained in the most relevant methodologies and that they are also kept up-to-date with the most recent accountability requirements to ensure that programs match industry needs. She is a hands-on administrator. Dr. Gilmore has extensive experience working with adult students, not only in the field of adult basic education but also in developing programs and training teachers and therapists to work with adults with special needs. Over 26 years as an adult education administrator, she is an active participant in professional organizations. She is the coordinator, TOPSpro MIS; she is the chair of computerized attendance systems recommendations committee; she has been president, vice president, past president, secretary, member-at-large for California Council for Adult Education (CCAE); adult education council chair and workshop planning chair for the Association of California School Administrators.

Dr. Gilmore is a founding member of the Capital Adult Education Regional Consortium (CAERC), and in that capacity she was instrumental in the development and successful implementation of the second largest adult education consortium statewide. Dr. Gilmore has been a mentor to many in the field of adult education in the state of California. She has always been willing to share information and her expertise, not only with her staff, but also colleagues in the field, either via newsletters or in person. She is also sought after to participate in numerous statewide advisory committees and field teams. Dr. Gilmore plans to continue her advocacy for adult education in California. Her goals are to continue to mentor potential adult education leaders in her region and to see K12 adult education funding in California become stable once again. She willingly gives of herself, her insightful ideas, and her hard work. She is truly deserving of state recognition, a true example of collaboration and lifelong learning.

kathleen porter


Locally, Kathleen Porter has been involved with adult education and workforce development in the San Diego area since 1987. A former teacher, resource teacher, and career guidance specialist, Kathleen was previously the manager of the East County Career Center, part of the San Diego Workforce Partnership’s One-Stop Career Center network. From 1998 to 2006, Kathleen taught the required coursework for Adult Education and Career Technical Education teachers to clear their designated subject teaching credentials, through UCSD Extension. Kathleen is currently the executive director of Career Technical, Adult, and Alternative Education with Poway Unified School District, a large suburban school district in North San Diego County. In this role, she is responsible for overseeing all adult and career technical education projects and funds in the pre-K – adult district, including Poway Adult School’s consortium membership in the Education to Career Network of North San Diego County where Kathleen, now immediate past chair, served two-year terms as the chair of the consortium’s leadership council.

Kathleen’s district oversight also includes CalWORKs, Perkins, Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act, Career Technical Education Incentive Grant, California Career Pathways Trust Grant, Agricultural Education Incentive Act, and Work Experience Education. Additionally, Kathleen is responsible for overseeing the district’s Partners in Education Program and serves as the executive director of the Poway Unified School District’s Foundation. At the national level, Kathleen has been a long-time member of the Coalition on Adult Basic Education (COABE) and has attended and presented workshops at COABE national conferences many times over the years. Recently, Kathleen was asked by an AIR colleague to go to Washington D.C. as a representative of adult school directors, to serve on the Technical Working Group (TWG) for a newly launched study being conducted by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences. Kathleen will no doubt continue to serve well the field of adult education in California and in the nation.

Partner in Adult Education
Proteus, Inc., Robert Alcazar

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Proteus, Inc. has taken an active role in and around the community, at the local and state levels. These efforts include serving on the State Center AB86 Adult Ed Consortium, Sequoia Adult Ed Consortium, as well as partnering in various ways with the surrounding local adult schools, high schools, community colleges, workforce investment boards, local employers, other training providers, and community partners to address the needs in and around the counties of Fresno, Kern, Kings, and Tulare.

Proteus, Inc. was founded over 50 years ago as a provider of educational services to farmworkers in the area of English as a second language. Over the years Proteus has expanded and grown to offer classes in vocational training, high school equivalency, and adult basic education. Proteus has been able to secure resources needed to continue providing immigration information, citizenship instruction, and English acquisition classes in the Central Valley. As a grantee of the Department of Community Services–Community Services Block Grant (CSBG), Proteus has been providing English as a second language–ESL/citizenship classes to farmworkers and low-income individuals throughout their service areas. This has generated strong partnerships with County Migrant Education, the Mexican Consulate in Fresno, Immigration Legal Resource Center, the Adult School System, and the various community colleges throughout the proposed areas. Proteus continues to partner with area school districts to provide youth and students an actual hands-on experience to address vocational exploration in the fields of construction, weatherization, and green energy. Additionally, Proteus works with area schools and colleges to address other needs such as offering classes at offsite campus locations to address the needs in rural communities.

Excellence in Teaching Award

Excellence in Support Services Award

Lifetime Membership Award