Andy Nash Leaves Her Imprint on Adult Education as She Retires

We bid a fond farewell to Andy Nash as she retires after 24 years at World Education where she has worked in many capacities as a senior professional development specialist and project director.  Andy has enriched our work in the U.S. Division and by extension the field of adult education through her thoughtful practice and a multitude of projects.  

Andy’s passion for adult education and relentless commitment to social change has transformed the very fabric of our work as a US Division over these many years. She is a leading thinker and professional development provider on integrating civic engagement in adult education. Her brief, Thinking Beyond Increased Participation- Integrating Civics and Adult ESOL, continues to be a one-of-a-kind analysis of civic engagement in adult education, and well worth reading.

Andy’s projects are too numerous to list in full, but here are selected publications that reflect the range of her work and that continue to be relevant, and insightful:

Andy’s many roles include directing the New England Literacy Resource Center (NELRC) @ World Education for six years and supporting its Change Agent magazine, always looking to uplift learners’ voices.  Andy also served as a leading, national technical assistance provider on the Equipped for the Future Adult Education Standards which she helped to develop.  She was also a co-lead on the national Teacher Effectiveness project in partnership with AIR (available in the LINCS Resource Collection) as well as the Massachusetts Adult Educator Growth Evaluation framework, and the Massachusetts adult ESOL standards

As a colleague, Andy is someone on whom we could always count on to offer clarity, insight, and wisdom to any discussion about the purpose and direction of our work.  As Sandy Goodman, Director of the NCTN@World Education says it, 

She brings such deep expertise to the work, but doesn’t coast on that expertise. Instead, she  asks really good questions, listens deeply and  pushes herself and all of us to make the work better, to make the work more useful, and to make the work more meaningful (to make a difference) to practitioners and adult learners. 

Andy’s approach to designing projects and professional development has made a lasting impact on numerous adult educators and PD providers across the country for whom she has been a role model and a mentor. Many of these educators shared their appreciation upon Andy’s retirement. Here are some quotes:

I’ve learned so much from her about project management. She has been a stellar collaborator, a mentor, and a good friend! – Sherry Lehane, Training Specialist, Providence Public Library

I’ve learned so much from observing how she leans in, listens without judgment, and synthesizes shared understanding to move ideas forward. Whenever she facilitates a discussion, she models respect for the experiences and professional wisdom of her adult education colleagues. Her willingness to speak bold truths and push us beyond our comfort zones has helped us to strive to work for greater impact. Andy has been a mentor who has supported my work and helped me to become more effective. I will miss her voice.  – Luanne Teller, Director, SABES Program Support PD Center @ World Education

Andy is a genius at cutting to the core of what’s helpful (and not bureaucratic, jargony, unnecessarily complex). – Sally Waldron, Vice President (retired) at World Education

From the earliest days working on the development of Equipped For the Future and onward, practitioners in the field of adult basic education have benefited from Andy’s clear thinking, big-picture analysis, and compassionate mentoring. – Brenda Bell

The field is so much better for Andy’s reflections and writing about learner-centered participatory education, her detailed work on standards, and her guidance of The Change Agent. Kathleen O’Connell, Project Coordinator, World Education

One of the things I appreciate so much about Andy is her belief–deep in her bones–in the transformative power of adult education. Andy always brought us back to why we do this work. She was like the rudder of the ship, her questions and challenges trying to steer us back on course. – Angela Orlando

Andy’s 40 years in adult education include serving as Associate Professor at the Graduate ESOL and Bilingual Studies program at the University of Massachusetts. Her professor colleague, Elsa Auerbach shared this about Andy:

Andy’s work as an adult educator has been a model of praxis – the unending dance between theory and practice. So many people across the country have benefited from Andy’s sharp wisdom. I treasure our work together in the UMass Boston Family Literacy Project.  She anchored the wonderful book, Talking Shop*, shining a light on practitioners’ own voices (rather than the analysis of their practice by a university academic!).  What a lesson that was for me!  I feel so fortunate to have learned with her and from her.    

We conclude with the words and illustration of Janet Isserlis, educator from Rhode Island and long-time NELRC Board member:

Critical, smart, compassionate, thoughtful, wise.  Andy Nash is the educator, colleague (and if we’re lucky) friend we’re fortunate to have in our lives and careers.

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