Saturday, 13 of February of 2016

Art Ellison

EllisonArt Ellison, Public Policy Chair, National Council of State Directors of Adult Education

Guest Biography

Art Ellison grew up in a small Vermont town. He received a B.A. from Earlham College in 1965, a MAT from Northwestern University in 1966, and an Ed.D. in adult and community education from the University of Massachusetts in 1978.

Over the years he has worked as a road construction laborer, high school social studies teacher, community organizer, local adult education program director, and since 1980 as the New Hampshire State Director of Adult Education.

He is very proud of his work as one of the founders, executive producer, and actor with the Northern New England Literacy Theater, which has performed over the past twenty five years throughout the United States and Canada. In addition he has served as director/actor with several teenage improvisational theater groups that used interactive theater to educate young people around issues such as teenage sexuality, relationship violence, and drug/alcohol abuse.

Since 1982 he has served on the Board of Directors and been associated with the Highlander Center in New Market, Tennessee, the legendary adult education center known for its work in training union organizers, civil rights workers, and local community activists throughout the southern United States.

Art’s political work has included coordinating the Fred Harris for President Primary Campaign in New Hampshire in 1975-1976, receiving the Proulx Political Action Award from SEIU Local 1984 for his work on the 2004 Presidential and New Hampshire gubernatorial campaigns, and managing the NH State Employees for Obama and the national Adult Educators for Obama efforts in 2007-08.  In 2005 he received a Literacy Leadership Award from the National Coalition for Literacy for his leadership in restoring a $363 million cut in funding to adult education programs proposed by the Bush Administration. 

As Chair of the National Council of State Directors of Adult Education Policy Committee he helped to create and now manages the Single Point of Contact network established by the state directors to build support for adult education funding and policy in Washington, DC. Art has also testified before various committees of the U.S. Congress on the need for additional support for adult education services.

Art provides keynote presentations and workshops at state, regional and national conferences on the Politics of Adult Education which focus on the skills that adult educators and students need to advocate for additional resources at the state and federal levels.

 Art has two children: Anna, a 7th grade social studies teacher, and Jeremy, an actor. Most of Art’s free time is spent either playing basketball or looking for a basketball game. His favorite quote and guidance for life comes from Mother Jones, “Pray for the dead, and fight like hell for the living.”

Art is a guest blogger in the National Coalition for Literacy online discussion on Cultivating Media Relations for Adult Education and Family Literacy.

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