Home > Awards > 2016 State Award Winners

Life Membership Award

Barbara Leal

Barbara Leal started her esteemed career in Adult Education in 1983 as a Business Education teacher in the Career Technical Education department of Mt. Diablo Adult Education. Within five years Barbara became the department chair and in 1994 she was appointed to the position of Business/Computer Department Coordinator. In 1999 Barbara’s skills in managing data and using technology were tapped to create a new Data Management and Technology Department. As the Data/Technology Coordinator, Barbara worked with all Adult Education Administrators, Program Coordinators, teachers, instructional assistants and secretaries in all departments to ensure data integrity. In this role, she was responsible for understanding the unique needs of each program area and ensuring that their staff were trained in data collection procedures and had access to data reports. She also provided training in and modeling off the effective use of technology in the classroom. As Mt. Diablo Adult Education’s Career Technical Education department evolved and expanded, Barbara became the CTEC Program Coordinator in 2006. In this role, she oversees training programs and classes in Allied Health Careers, Office Occupations/Business Administration, Computer Technology, and Pre-Apprenticeship. Her responsibilities are immense, covering everything from recruiting and supporting highly qualified instructional staff–putting appropriate marketing strategies into place–supporting financial aid staff–directing the work of clerical staff–supporting interns–overseeing advisory board processes–meeting federal regulations–collaboration on budget/fiscal issues–and much more.

The CTEC department in particular has specific accreditations for its many career training areas. Barbara has provided consistently strong leadership in working with staff to earn accreditation status. Her attention to detail is beyond reproach and coupled with her unfailing dedication and hard work, the CTEC department has been very successful in providing students with high quality training leading to employment. 

Given her long tenure at Mt. Diablo Adult Education, Barbara has provided strong leadership in a number of organization-wide endeavors, including WASC accreditations, Federal Monitoring Reviews, and numerous special events. She has become the “go to person” among her colleagues due to her breadth of experience and exceptional ability to work effectively with others. Barbara is also well-respected throughout Contra Costa County and beyond for her extensive knowledge and experience in career training, calm demeanor, and overall professionalism. Over the years, Barbara has developed strong collaborative relationships with numerous organizations, many who send their clients to Mt. Diablo Adult Education for training. She has a unique ability to connect with adult learners of all ages and has been an inspiration to many as they pursue their goals. 

Under Barbara’s leadership Mt. Diablo Adult Education’s Career Technical Education Programs have been accredited by the Council on Occupational Education (COE). Once it was determined that this new, complex accreditation was a requirement in order for Mt. Diablo Adult Education to continue to offer Pell grants to eligible adult learners, Barbara stepped up to take on this tremendous task. The number of nature of COE requirements are not for the faint of heart. Barbara did not hesitate to immerse herself in all things COE so that Mt. Diablo Adult Education would be successful in achieving this high level of accreditation – which it was! Again, her attention to detail and her ability to help others embrace the process were key to achieving this goal. 

Shortly after, the work of the Adult Education Consortium development was on the horizon and Barbara did not miss a beat in participating and including her lead teachers in the countywide CTE committee. When Diablo Valley Community College faculty knocked on her door to collaborate, she welcomed them and has been consistently working on an articulation agreement. Her passion for Adult Education and commitment to her profession have been key to Mt. Diablo Adult Education’s unique ability to serve the community. 

Barbara Leal has been a very active member of CCAE for many years. She has served a Treasurer, Awards Chair and Secretary for the Contra Costa Chapter. She has been a regular presenter for Bay Section Conferences and a member of the Registration Committee. She has also been on the Registration Committee, been a presenter and Co-Chaired the Awards Committee for several years for State Conferences. Even when not holding an official position, Barbara has helped out at CCAE events, including numerous fundraising and recruitment activities. Her creative skills have long been valued and leveraged for CCAE activities.