State Leadership

Adriana Sanchez-Aldana
CCAE Executive Director
Southern Section, Sweetwater Adult School

Adriana recently retired as the principal of Montgomery Adult School after a 35 year career in the Sweetwater District in San Diego. She began her career in adult education as an Instructional Assistant, worked her way into teaching full time, and then began working on special projects as a Teacher on Special Assignment. In addition, she has worked at the state level as a teacher trainer and content specialist in federally funded staff development projects.  She has 40 years of experience in adult education.

20182019 CCAE State Board

Steve Curiel
CCAE President
South Coast Section, Huntington Beach Adult School

Steve has worked 22 years in K-AE education. Steve worked one year as an evening adult school computer skills instructor before becoming an administrator. His last fifteen years have been in Adult Ed administration. As an administrator Steve has overseen CTE, ASE, ABE, ESL, and Community Education. Currently, Steve is the Principal of the Huntington Beach Adult School. Steve has been involved with CCAE since the very first year he moved into Adult Ed and has held both chapter and section level positions. Steve also serves as ACSA Region 17’s Adult Education representative to the ACSA Adult Education Council and as a board member on the California Consortium for Independent Study. He and his wife, Michele, have three children and live in South Orange County.

Dr. Sue Lytle Gilmore
CCAE Past President
Northern Section, Sac-City Adult Education

Sue is the Director of Adult Education for the Sacramento City Unified School District, a position she has held since 2010. Prior to assuming this position she was Principal, A. Warren McClaskey Adult Center in for 18 years. She was the Assistant Director of Special Education before beginning in adult education. Sue taught at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge for 11 years before returning to Sacramento in 1979. She received her Bachelors and Masters degrees from University of the Pacific and her Ph.D. from Ohio University.

Kathleen Porter
CCAE President Elect
Southern Section, Career, Technical, and Adult Education
Poway Unified School District

Kathleen Porter has been involved with adult education, career technical education and workforce development for youth and adults in the San Diego area since 1987. 

Kathleen is currently the Executive Director of Career, Technical and Adult Education with Poway Unified School District, a large suburban school district in north San Diego County. In this role, Kathleen is responsible for overseeing Poway Adult School, career technical education, Partners in Education, and the District’s alternative programs, including its online courses. 

A former teacher, resource teacher and career guidance specialist, Kathleen was previously the director of the East County Career Center, part of the San Diego Workforce Partnership’s One-Stop Career Center network. 

Darlene Neilsen
CCAE State Secretary
LA Metro Section, Los Angeles Unified School District

Darlene’s is currently assigned as the Compliance Advisor with LAUSD’s Division of Adult and Career Education. Originally a LAUSD classified employee, she made the change to certificated status 14 years ago.  A CCAE member since 1999, Darlene has been continually active at the chapter, section, and state level of the organization. She has held all board positions in both the chapter and LAM section. Darlene has worked on numerous local LAM events and conferences as well as served on several state conference committees. Darlene was the recipient of LAM’s 2002 Outstanding Classified Employee and the 2011 E. Manfred Evans Award. 

Dr. Bob Harper
CCAE Member at Large
Bay Section, Campbell Adult and Continuing Education

Bob Harper joined the Campbell Union High School District in 2010 after previously holding administrative positions with school districts in Los Angeles, Salinas, Pacific Grove, Watsonville-Aptos and San Mateo. Bob has more than 40 years of experience in adult and career education, education policy/advocacy, strategic planning, school finance, curricula and instruction, workforce development and community outreach. Bob has a BA in English and teaching credential from UCLA, an MA in adult education from CSULA, an Ed.D. from UCSC with dissertation research focused on immigrant integration and adult education. Bob was member of the Workforce Investment Boards in three counties, currently serving on the work2future WIB in San Jose. He has worked as a consultant with UCSC and several community-based organizations in adult learning/transformation theory, competency-based instruction and assessment, and program evaluation. He has chaired over 40 accreditation visits to schools in California and Hawaii.

In addition to being on the steering committee for ALLIES, Bob has served in the past on the executive boards of El Pajaro Community Development Corporation, the Santa Cruz County Agriculture Board, Monterey County Literacy Council, the state board of the California Council for Adult Education, the California Department of Education Adult Ed Technology Committee, the adult education Advisory Committee to the Commission on Teacher Credentialing, among others.  

Currently Bob serves as the Vice President and state Legislative Chair for the California Association of Adult Education Administrators, and on the Field Partnership Team of the California Department of Education, the advisory committee to the Outreach and Technical Assistance Network (OTAN), and the state boards of the California State Consortium for Adult Education, and the California Council for Adult Education.

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Ed Schmalzel
CCAE Member at Large
Central Section, Clovis Adult Education

Ed Schmalzel has been involved with education in the Fresno County area since 1987. 

Ed is currently the Learning Director of Career, Technical and Adult Education with Clovis Unified School District, a large suburban school district in the Central Valley. In this role, Ed is responsible for overseeing Clovis Adult School’s Career Technical Education programs, AEBG and Perkins grant funding, COE school accreditation and Agency Services. 

A former Special Ed Instructional Aide, Teacher, Activities and Athletic Director, Ed was previously the Head Guidance Counselor at Clovis High School.

He has been involved with CCAE since the very first year he moved to Adult Ed and holds both chapter and section level positions.  He and his wife, Karen, have 3 grown children and live in Clovis, California.

CCAE State Ex-Officio Members


Vladimir Tigno
CCAE State Awards Chair
Los Angeles Metropolitan Section
North Valley Service Center—LAUSD

Vladimir Tigno has been employed by the LAUSD Division of Adult and Career Education since April of 1991. He started as a teacher’s assistant, then progressed to an instructor, teacher advisor, specialist, assistant principal and consultant. Although the job duties were different at each of his positions, the goal of helping adult students succeed remained the same. Vladimir joined CCAE in 2006 as the LA Metro Section Treasurer-Elect with the realization that he can further help adult students.  CCAE has given him the opportunity to advocate for Adult Education through student scholarships, employee recognition, participation in legislative process.

Vittoria Abbate-Maghsoudi
CCAE Legislative Committee Chair
Bay Section, Mt. Diablo Adult Education

Francisco Lopez
2019 State Conference Chair
Southern Section President
Chaffey Adult School

2018-2019 CCAE Contractors

Dawn Koepke
Legislative & Government Budget Advocate
McHugh & Associates

Dawn Koepke was named a partner in 2012 after joining the McHugh team in December 2003. She has been a key asset to the firm, handling the legislative, budgetary, regulatory and
research needs of the firm’s clients and lobbies in the policy areas of public safety, health and human services, resources, environmental safety, chemical management, and adult education. Dawn serves as a co-chair of the Green Chemistry Alliance and a member of the Thursday Group, business-friendly coalitions whose efforts are focused on green chemistry and an array of environmental legislative and regulatory actions.

As an Associate at McHugh & Associates, Dawn successfully advocated on behalf of her
clients. On the public safety agenda, she has worked tirelessly to ensure crime victims’ voices
are heard in the criminal justice system by obtaining new and expanded rights for crime victims
in California through legislative and initiative efforts, helped to defeat past efforts to eliminate
the death penalty and alter three strikes, and more. Dawn has also helped to elevate the
importance of child abuse and neglect prevention and has worked to ensure no further cuts are
imposed on California’s child welfare and foster care systems in the most difficult of budget
years. Furthermore, she has successfully elevated and promoted industry’s position on green
chemistry, chemical management and regulation, and recycling initiatives before the
Legislature, Administration, and state Agencies. Most notably, she helped build a diverse
industry coalition – the Green Chemistry Alliance – to help frame, develop and implement
California’s groundbreaking Green Chemistry Initiative.

Prior to joining the McHugh team, Dawn served as a member of the Davis Administration. In
her capacity as Special Assistant to Governor Gray Davis, she helped manage the Governor’s
daily activities, assist the Legislative Affairs team, coordinate and prepare responses regarding
major policy and legislative action on behalf of the Administration in response to public inquiry.
She has maintained strong connections from the Davis Administration that have since become
key assets in the Governor Brown Administration and Legislature.

Dawn graduated from San Francisco State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in
International Relations. As a component of her degree in International Relations, Dawn studied
abroad at the Universidad de Salamanca in Spain where she completed an intensive Spanish
language and literature program.

In 2006, Dawn completed her Master’s Degree in Public Policy & Administration (MPPA) from
California State University, Sacramento with special focus in regulatory affairs and collaborative
studies. Dawn’s thesis work focused on regulation as a policy tool to achieve policy goals with
specific focus on environmental regulatory efforts in California.

Chesty Peterson
CCAE State Financial Manager
South Coast Section, Downey Adult School

Chesty Peterson began his teaching career at Downey Adult School in 1975 teaching grocery cashiering. He began part time and became full time in 1986 when he started teaching computer applications and office skills. He joined CCAE in 1976 and throughout the years he has been heavily involved in Chapter, Section, and State levels of the organization. He maintains a tax preparation business that he really enjoys. He has received numerous awards from each level of CCAE including the most cherished "Excellence in Teaching." Chesty retired in 2010, but still maintains an office at Downey Adult School.

Sharon Bonney
Membership, Technology, and Communications Management
Bonney Business Solutions



Sharon Bonney has worked in adult education for 18 years at the national level. Her work has been primarily in an office setting, with a focus on sales and administration. In 2009, she founded Bonney Business Solutions and in 2010, she joined CCAE, first as the membership coordinator and then moved into the office manager role. In this role she is responsible for oversight of membership, communications, technology, and fundraising aspects for CCAE as well as the general office management. Her agency, Bonney Business Solutions also provides support for the CCAE state conference and website. Members of the team are Rob Lawrence, web designer; Chris Binnix, social media strategist; James Bonney, assistant; and Jessica Reals, copy editor.