A local educator who helped develop a reentry program for correctional inmates that been replicated at prisons across the nation has been recognized as the 2021 Outstanding Administrator of the Year at the Coalition on Adult Basic Education (COABE) national conference.

Konnie McCollum co-developed the program, called the Madison Model, that has helped more than 500 women successfully earn more than 800 industry-recognized certifications in a partnership involving River Valley Resources, the Indiana Department of Corrections and Ivy Tech Community College-Madison. The program helps inmates acquire the skills and certifications to make them more successfully employable once they leave prison and reenter society and the workforce.

“The Madison Model is now being replicated in prisons across the nation, and is also being scaled to the county jail level throughout Konnie’s regions,” said Tracy Geglein of the Indiana Association of Adult and Continuing Education. “While the program is still in its early stages, there are some indications that recidivism among participants will be lower than average for the state.”

McCollum joined River Valley Resources six years ago, and as adult education director, has implemented unique programming geared toward helping adult education students complete career pathway training. During the COVID-19 pandemic, McCollum has continued to work aggressively to bring virtual adult education to her mostly rural service area, including Integrated Education and Technology programs that combine adult basic skills education and job skills training.

“Konnie has never turned down a request to assist the state of Indiana, and is willing to try innovative ideas that may fail; If they fail, she learns from the experience. Most often her experimental ideas succeed beyond expectations” said Jennifer Montgomery, Indiana Adult Education Coordinator. “The state of Indiana depends on Konnie’s leadership and willingness to grow.”

McCollum has more 20 years experience in adult education. She has been the adult education director for River Valley Resources for three years, where she is responsible for all adult education programming and budgeting for services in Indiana Economic Growth Regions 9 and 10, covering 12 counties. Prior to this, she was the program coordinator and facilitator for River Valley Resource’s Rural Works program, which provides free lifetime career coaching and support services, from applying for a job to networking. She has also worked as an adjunct professor for Ivy Tech Community College teaching English to adult students.