Keller receives ABE leadership award

Linda Keller, an accountability coordinator with Metro North Adult Basic Education (ABE), has received an ABE Leadership Award from the Literacy Action Network.

Keller was nominated by Pat Adams, a District 11 Community Education manager, who began the nomination with, “For most people, data is not the most thrilling thing on earth, but for Linda Keller, the mere mention of statistics and numbers makes her eyes sparkle.”

Adams went on to write about how Keller has skillfully managed the ABE Data and Accountability Department.

Adams also wrote about the leadership Keller has shown in the Metro North consortium as well as supporting ABE accountability on a statewide level.

“She directly contributes to the quality of the services in our consortium, advocates on the state level for more reporting options that will gather the most meaningful information about our students, continually problem-solves as she works with the consortium data and generously shares our ABE data information,” Adams wrote.

“Our grant, community and district partners have all reported that she is a resource of information.

“Linda is a driving force in assessment, intake and orientation, data collection and reporting, because she believes strongly in the philosophy of adult basic education. She is clearly delighted each time she hears about a student’s success.”

Adams’ nomination was supported by Keller’s colleagues, including Murrin Jorgensen, a literacy assistant with Metro North ABE, who wrote of Keller’s enthusiasm for numbers.

“Large or small, she is able to explain it in a way that is understandable to the average person,” Jorgensen wrote.

“She is always willing to take the time to explain the reports, what they represent and how they apply to your specific class, site or entire consortia.

“At various times in the program year, she provides timely updates… especially near the end of our program year, when all data is critical to our funding. Simply put – Linda makes data easy to understand and fun.”

Keller did not know she was nominated for the award and said she cried when Adams told her she had won.

A native of Osakis who worked for the Todd County Attorney’s Office before moving to the Twin Cities area, Keller has been with Anoka-Hennepin and ABE about 17 years.

Through her time with ABE, Keller has worked in a few different positions. She joined the program as a part-time employee.

After taking some time off in the late 1990s when her third child was born, Keller was called about an opening and returned to ABE.

One of Keller’s responsibilities when she returned to ABE was entering information into a database.

Throughout the years, the requirements for data collection as well as Keller’s job responsibilities have increased. With the retirement of longtime ABE employee Georgette Knoll, Keller moved into her current role.

ABE works with about 6,000 students a year. Keller enjoys what she does and the self-esteem and confidence people build through the ABE program.

“This is a very supportive environment for students learning English or gaining skills for their GED (general equivalence diploma) or to gain skills for a new job or to excel in the job they are in,” Keller said.

“We have teachers and volunteers as well as students who are in the same boat.

“And there is no age limit. We have students who are 16 to 85 years old. A 72-year-old student earned a GED last spring; it’s never too late.”

Keller feels honored to be acknowledged by the Literacy Action Network.

“There are so many amazing people who work for community education locally and ABE across the state; they work until the work is done,” she said.

“That’s what my dad instilled in us kids and I don’t walk away until the work is done. It’s great to see the impact this program has made in so many people’s lives for the better.”